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Manitoba from the Air
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Part of Spruce Woods Provincial Park

Spruce Woods Provincial Park consists of 269 square kilometres of spruce parkland, forest, mixed grass prairie, and the Spirit Sands.[i] It is one of the prime recreational areas in southern Manitoba used for a variety of purposes in summer and winter. In the summer there are opportunities for hiking, bird watching, sightseeing (photography), fishing, swimming, picnicking, camping, horseback riding, and hay wagon rides, and in winter cross-country skiing and snowmobiling are popular.

Shown here are the Bald Head Hills 1, an area of shifting sand dunes 2 (the Spirit Sands) which are migrating slowly to the east-southeast under the influence of the prevailing northwest winds. Bare dunes with steep south-southeast facing slip slopes are very light-toned 3. Behind each dune face is a dark-toned area covered by grasses and trees 4. Southwest of the Bald Head Hills is another dune area, more of which is vegetated.

The Assiniboine River 5 meanders from southwest to northeast leaving behind two prominent abandoned meanders, Kiche Manitou Lake 6 east of the river and Marshes Lake 7 to the west. The latter has been emphasized by the building of PTH 5 8 that joins Glenboro—off the photo to the south—and Carberry—off the photo to the north. Note that the abandoned meanders with little suspended sediment in them are darker toned than the sediment-laden river.

Land ownership boundaries are complicated in this area. Most of the land in the northeast is within the provincial park, apart from an area of privately owned land (cropped 9) in the extreme northeast. Most of the western half lies within Canadian Forces Base Shilo with some private land in the area of Thornborough Flats 10; a farm can be seen in the meander neck 11.

Much of the summer activity is concentrated in the area of Kiche Manitou Lake where the park centre is located 12. Campsites can be seen at several locations 13 with picnic sites in the same general area. Swimming is from a beach (light-toned) at the southeast end of the lake 14. Hikers can park in a lot just north of the Assiniboine 15 and hike to the Spirit Sands or the Devil’s Punch Bowl 16, a large alcove in the north bank of the Assiniboine River created by spring sapping. On the route they might see some of the wildlife of the area including Manitoba’s only lizard, the Northern Prairie Skink, or the Western Hognose snake. Visitors can also canoe the Assiniboine River launching into the river between the two abandoned channels 17.

The park also caters to winter activities with many miles of cross-country ski trails mainly off the photo to the north and snowmobile trails mainly to the east.


[i] www.manitobaparks.com. 2005 03 20.

Figure 17.10

Part of Spruce Woods Provincial Park