Ask a travel writer to identify their favorite travel destination and many will describe azure-blue waters of a tropical beach, but two of Canada’s best travel writers, Jenn Smith Nelson and Doug O’Neill, make the case for a pair of oft-overlooked provinces in their new book, 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
With inspiring quotes (John Muir’s“Keep close to Nature’s Heart”) and vivid photos that will have you saying, “That’s in Canada?”, this book gives you a reason to visit Canada’s center. Smith Nelson and O’Neill pepper the pages with surprising facts (Saskatchewan has the world’s most northerly sand dunes), reasons they recommend a visit (60,000 beluga whales in Churchill), access methods, and facilities.
How well do you know Canadian geography?
If you’ve visited Canada’s prairies and limited your stops to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park or Riding Mountain National Park, you’ll be drawn to names like Wildcat Hill Provincial Park, Creighton Limestone Crevices, or Caribou River Provincial Wilderness Park.
You might be surprised to discover there’s a marl lake called “Manitoba’s Caribbean” because of the blue colour or that there’s a preponderance of wolverines near the Manitoba/Ontario border in Opasquia Provincial Park. With 110 places, many of them undiscovered by tourists, you’ll have new reasons to visit Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
So many choices, so little time
The biggest problem with this book is the abundance of information. After reading several sections, I realized I was twenty years too old to have enough vacation time left to see everything described. Fortunately, Smith Nelson and O’Neill have added special interest sections grouped by activity. For Manitoba, sites that appeal to birdwatchers, hikers, paddlers and waterfall aficionados are listed together. The Saskatchewan special interest pages highlight spaces with bird watching, common and unique animal species, paddling, sky viewing and waterfalls offering a quick way to zero in on possible destinations.
Where to read more
If you’re ready to explore some of Canada’s lesser-known wild places 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan is published by Firefly Books www.fireflybooks.com Its also available on Amazon.ca or at your favorite bookstore.
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Discover why two of Canada’s best travel writers, @JennSmithNelson & @DougONeill are making a case to travel @Saskatchewan & @TravelManitoba – Click to Tweet.
When people discover I’m a travel writer they often ask for my favorite travel destination. I cringe knowing what’s coming next.
I say “Canada” and they look disappointed, like someone with a mass of frequent flyer points should long for a Caribbean island or a distant Himalayan kingdom. But the more I travel, the more I love this country. So it was a special day last month when I was made a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society (RCGS), an honor bestowed for my contributions to geography and making Canada better known to Canadians and the world.
The RCGS has been around since 1929. Banting – the inventor of insulin – was one of the first fellows, former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed was a fellow, and Alex Trebek of Jeopardy fame is a fellow (and honorary president). Pat Morrow, the second Canadian to climb Everest and his wife Baiba were honored at this year’s event with the Sir Christopher Ondaatje Medal for Exploration.
Laval St. Germain, who has climbed the highest peak of every continent except Antarctica and rowed solo across the Atlantic, and Debra Garside, renowned for her Sable Island photography, were other Calgary area residents made fellows this year. It was a heck of a party with no shortage of interesting conversation.
“History is about the past, geography is about the future,” extolled Trebek as the RCGS gala got underway next to towering totem poles in the Canadian Museum of History’s grand hall. With six-story high windows offering a view of Parliament Hill I think it is one of the country’s most impressive indoor places and a perfect backdrop for Trebek’s reminder that geography shapes every aspect of our lives.
Canada’s vast distances, northern climate, and abundant wildlife make it a wonderful place to live and travel. As we approach the end of 2017 my New Year’s resolution is keep telling as many people as possible about Canada’s wonders and explore as many places in this country as I can fit in my calendar.
Do you want to see more of Canada? Here are some of my favorite Canadian places:
Get your free insider’s guide to Canada from World Nomads here. I wrote the section on Haida Gwaii, a place where you feel spiritual connections between people and landscape.
Speaking of Haida Gwaii, this story on ghost stories and cinnamon buns highlights the unusual experiences tourists may find with Haida watchmen.
Large wildlife roaming safely through an urban area? Perhaps only in Canada. Read why you should visit Columbia Valley’s Village of Radium Hot Springs for a chance to watch bighorns from your hotel.
Enjoy the best of the holiday season!
Celebrating Geography – Click to Tweet.
2017 is the International year of Sustainable Tourism for Development.
Yeah, me! After all I wrote the book on sustainable tourism development (Sustainable Tourism: Development, Operations, and Management released by Human Kinetics 2015) so I should be clicking my heels over the United Nations declaration.
But not so fast. Air travel is a large source of carbon emissions and travel by plane is growing faster than improvements in emission reductions. So the more we travel, the more greenhouse gases are created.
So what to do? Stay home as some conservationists have suggested? I think many people love to travel or need to travel to see family and friends so this option isn’t likely to work.
I think as travellers we need to harness our spending on travel for the greater good. After all, more than a billion people are now travelling. The money they spend generates jobs and development done properly can lift people out of poverty.
When I plan trip activities I look for small, well-run businesses often through personal recommendations or through an association (two of my favorites are Adventure Travel Trade Association http://www.adventuretravel.biz/about/atta-members/ and The International Ecotourism Society http://www.ecotourism.org ).
Where possible I pick destinations closer to home so I’m not flying as far or at all. Some of my best trips in recent years were ones where I drove or took a bus. The sharing economy doesn’t just reduce costs it reduces emissions!
And it may be boring, but I read the rules for the parks I visit. If a billion of us are roaming around, it behooves us to act appropriately and if you’re new in town, you don’t always realize what is appropriate. I have a birdfeeder at home but when I visit a national park, it’s not okay to feed the birds.
So will the year of sustainable tourism for development cause you to travel differently?
Save money, uplift your spirits by adding a retreat to your travel plans
Have you ever thought of adding a retreat to a trip to save money while upping your emotional return?
Religious retreat centers may not be in the hospitality business but they know about service and many welcome visitors looking for a different kind of getaway.
I recently made a day trip to the Mount St. Francis Retreat Centre in Cochrane, Alberta for an artists’ retreat and discovered that a retreat can stretch your vacation dollars while offering renewal. Read more.
Happy Valentines Day!
Sending love and light your way.
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2017 – The International year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. How it impacts you: Click to Tweet.
I take a holiday for fun. I want to relax. I want to see wildlife, perhaps birds or marine mammals that I haven’t seen before.
I don’t want to see garbage or deal with cramped airplane seats and I confess, I don’t think about ethics when I’m planning my next big trip. Do you?
Maybe it is time to consider ethics in planning a trip. Each year Berkeley-based non-profit Ethical Traveler looks at policies and practices of the world’s developing countries using public data to evaluate environmental protection, social welfare and human rights.Maybe it is time to consider ethics in planning a trip
Sounds like a dull process but I was surprised to see a country that has long been a fave of nature travelers – Costa Rica – didn’t make the Top 10 list last year. It lost marks on animal welfare because no progress was being made on reducing turtle egg poaching and there was inconsistent support of endangered shark protections.
Ecuador – touted as an affordable place for ex-pats – doesn’t qualify as a top ethical destination because of environmental and human rights issues. Probably not something people are thinking about when planning a trip to the Galapagos but it is nice to know the information is there if you want it.Wondering how your travel plans match up against the ethical travel criteria?
Wondering how your travel plans match up against ethical travel criteria? Here are the 2017 Ethical Destination Awards Winners (in alphabetical order):
- Cabo Verde
- Costa Rica
How many have you visited? Are there any you want to see now that you know they are making progress in three important areas?
“Act the way you’d like to be and soon you’ll be the way you act” Leonard Cohen
To read more click here