Day 4-6: Wood Buffalo National Park

May 22: Ft. Smith, NT

What can I say: Wood Buffalo National Park is awesome. We saw so many black bear, wood bison and snowshoe hare that we no longer stopped driving for pictures. Wood Bison is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has more than 5,000 free-roaming Wood Bison. Wood Bison are larger than the US Plains Bison or Buffalo with the large males weighing in at around 2,000 lbs.

Wildlife was plentiful. The first time we was anything it was unique and a thrill. Soon it was, “there’s another bear.” “Another hare.” “More Bison.” If we kept stopping for pictures, we would be on vacation for many, many years.

Snowshoe Hare

Snowshoe Hare

Black Bear

Black Bear

Wood Bison

Wood Bison

I say that, but you can never have too many pictures of the young’uns.

Wood Bison Mom and Calf

Wood Bison Mom and Calf

And sometimes the wildlife does something unexpected.

Everyone needs a good 46 Km Back Scratch

Everyone needs a good 46 Km Back Scratch

Bison Rolling in the Dirt

Bison Rolling in the Dirt

This is not a wildlife picture, but the resident beaver in this pond did the unexpected. He built a dam around a roadside culvert to prevent the water from flowing out of the area and thus create his pond.

Unique Beaver Dam

Unique Beaver Dam

They have some unique wildlife in the Wood Buffalo area. The Whooping Cranes nest there. We heard and saw one in the distance, but it was too far way for a decent picture. They also have White Pelicans that summer there. They feed in the rapids of the Slave River.

White Pelicans on the Slave River

White Pelicans on the Slave River

They also have some unique geographical features including Salt Plains and numerous karsts (sink holes).

Wood Buffalo Salt Plains

Wood Buffalo Salt Plains

Abundant Bison Scat on the Salt Plains

Abundant Bison Scat on the Salt Plains

Dried Salt Pile on the Salt Plains

Dried Salt Pile on the Salt Plains

Huge Karst at Wood Buffalo

Huge Karst at Wood Buffalo

Smaller Karst at Wood Buffalo

Smaller Karst at Wood Buffalo

On our visit to Wood Buffalo National Park, we stayed at the Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park in Ft. Smith, NT. It is still cool in the Territories. The water lines at the park were still frozen and below is a picture of one of the remaining snow bank in the park.

Spring Thaw in Ft. Smith

Spring Thaw in Ft. Smith

The good news is the cold kep the misquitoes at bay. It really was quite pleasant from the bug perspective. It seems June is their bad month.

All in all, the visit was well worth the trip. Next up on the itinerary is to complete the Waterfalls route and head down the Liard Highway to the Alaska Highway.

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