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Colvin Lake Provincial Park

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Land Designation
Provincial Park

Landscape Description

Colvin Lake Provincial Park, located in northwest Manitoba, encompasses approximately 163,070 hectares of the Northern Transition Forest Natural Region. This area, a vast wilderness made up of stunted trees with brief summers, is known as the “Land of Little Sticks”. Eskers — linear ridges of sand and gravel formed by glaciers — rise to 50 metres or more above the surrounding landscape. Many frost-heaved rock and boulder fields make overland travel through the area challenging. This protected land legally prohibits logging, mining, hydroelectric development, oil and gas exploration or development, and any other activities that could harm the habitat.

Outstanding Features

There is a large area of pink granite bedrock outcrops around Secter Lake in the southern part of the park. This landform is unique to the natural region and stands in stark relief to the surrounding landscape of eskers and granite till. Evidence of pre-contact peoples’ camps has been found on eskers throughout the
area, especially near water. The eskers were used as transportation routes in the past. Today, they are still used as transportation routes and as sites for seasonal camps. The eskers crossing the park also provide important travel corridors for migratory barren-ground caribou and other wildlife and prime denning habitat for wolf, arctic fox, and red fox.

Colvin Lake Provincial Park contains vegetation typical of the Northern Transition Forest. There are stands of low black spruce with understories of dwarf birch, Labrador tea, lichens and mosses. White spruce and paper birch can be found on the warmer, drier upland sites. Vegetation on upland and sheltered sites include lowgrowing shrubs such as bearberry and bog cranberry. Weak sedge, a provincially rare plant, can also be found in the area.

The park provides significant winter habitat for the Qamanirjuaq barren-ground caribou herd. These migratory caribou are vulnerable to the effects of hydroelectric and road development, mining and other development activities. The area also provides habitat for the western population of wolverine, a species designated Special Concern by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

The provincial park provides winter habitat for rock ptarmigan and breeding habitat for a great variety of migratory birds including red-throated, Pacific and common loons, osprey, bald eagles, American golden plovers, semi-palmated plovers, sandhill cranes and a variety of waterfowl. It also provides important habitat for moose, black bear, lynx, river otter, pine marten, weasel and mink.

The park is within the traditional territory of Northlands Denesuline First Nation. The Dene and other Aboriginal people continue to use this area for hunting, trapping and fishing, and will continue to exercise their Aboriginal and treaty rights within the park. As a wilderness park, Colvin Lake Provincial Park protects representative or unique natural landscapes in an undisturbed state and provides recreational opportunities that depend on a pristine environment. The site is categorized as a World Conservation Union (IUCN) protected area management category Ib — a protected area managed mainly for wilderness protection.