Canada’s North is home to a unique and delicate ecosystem known as the Boreal forest. It seems to be no different from any other forest on the surface, but upon closer examination, you will realize there is no other place like it. Besides being rich in wildlife and endangered species, there are nine unique species including Tyrell’s willow that live nowhere else on earth. As a result, this ecological region is truly a one-of-a-kind vacation destination. ©2008Angie Haggstrom
Like the Arctic, the Boreal forest is one of the most endangered environmental regions in the world. Clear cutting, human development, disease, and pests have always been a serious threat to the region. Now, however, global warming and several serious wildfires are devastating the region. This area may not exist for much longer if conservation efforts in the region and environmental issues continue to sit on the back burner.
One of the most interesting spots in the endangered region is the Athabasca Sand Dunes. This naturally created desert-like area, found along the southern shores of Lake Athabasca, is almost untouched by man because of its isolation. Although you can only travel to the area by plane, four-wheel drive truck, or on foot, the striking, natural beauty and peacefulness of the region is well worth the effort to get there.
If you happen to travel to the region, you will notice that the sand hills are in a constant state of movement because of the wind. In fact, if you look along the outskirts of these massive mounds, you can actually watch the fine sand swallow up the forest that surrounds it. The sheer size of the dunes (some of these can be more than 200 feet high) and the display of its power often leave visitors speechless and almost humbled.
Where did these natural wonders come from? Scientists believe the glaciers that had once blanketed the region caused the hills. The glaciers had compressed sand and other deposits into massive sandstone formations. Wind and water then eroded the stones to create the impressive dunes. If you travel to some of the local towns, the local Dene people will tell you that the Athabasca Sand Dunes are a result of a giant mystical beaver that struck at the ground with his tail turning the ground into the fine sand.
Although this unique travel destination looks powerful, the delicate balance of the Athabasca Sand Dunes in Northern Canada’s Boreal forest is in great jeopardy. Future generations will be unable to view this region if something is not done to slow global warming and the destruction of the forest. For now, however, the region’s beauty is still on display in all its glory.©2008 Angie Haggstrom
If you would like additional information on this region and many other great attractions in Saskatchewan, visit Tourism Saskatchewan.
(Photo above is similar to those found here in Saskatchewan) Courtesy of Stock.Xchange (abose007)
(This post can now be found here: http://www.traveltheprairies.com/saskatchewan/canada-boreal-forest-athabasca-sand-hills/)