Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park juts out into the southern basin of our greatest lake – Lake Winnipeg. The park includes a peninsula, an island connected by a causeway and several other large and small islands, for a total area of 108,400 hectares. The park also includes a portion of the lake itself, east shore to west shore. From the lake waters and limestone cliffs to forests and fens, there is a wide range of habitats for wildlife.
In the forested areas some of the more secretive species to watch for are wolf, moose, Great Gray Owl, Northern Hawk-owl and Black-backed and Pileated Woodpeckers. The not-so-secretive black bear is seen throughout the park. At the picnic area on the northern tip of Hecla Island you can look out across the water to the islands that provide safe nesting to many colonial nesting birds – Pelicans, Cormorants, Caspian and Common Terns, as well as Herring and Ring-billed Gulls. There are interpretive signs to tell you more. At Grassy Narrows Marsh, at the south end of the park, there are walking trails and a viewing tower to help you watch for the Red-necked and Eared Grebe, American Bittern, Sandhill Crane, Alder Flycatcher and Common Yellowthroat. This is also a good place to look for moose at dawn or dusk. Watch for Red-breasted Mergansers in early spring, along the causeway or off the lighthouse spit at Gull Harbour. October is an excellent time to visit the park as the Bald Eagles are migrating through in large numbers. You can find them at water’s edge dining on fish, gobbling up rich protein for their flights ahead.
Interpretive programs are held May to September to introduce you to the wildlife. In October there is an Eagle Fest to celebrate the migration. There are several trails throughout the park to help you explore on your own as well as interpretive signs to tell you more about the wildlife.
Black Wolf Trail, the picnic area on the northern tip of Hecla Island to find out more about the colonial nesting birds, and the viewing tower at Grassy Narrows Marsh
coniferous and mixed forests, limestone cliffs, sand beaches, freshwater lake, marshes and wet meadows
Bald Eagle, Red-breasted Merganser, Great Gray Owl, American White Pelican, Caspian Tern, Pileated Woodpecker
You are in black bear country. If you plan to go out onto the water be aware of the weather – Lake Winnipeg can be treacherous in a big wind or storm. There are access restrictions to the nesting islands May to August while the young birds are vulnerable.
Park Vehicle Permits must be displayed year-round in provincial parks. Permits are available at all campground and district offices and most business locations that sell fishing and hunting licences.
Click here to see Park Fees.