Whiteshell Provincial Park
This park, located along the border of Ontario in the Canadian Province of Manitoba, is a part of the Precambrian Shield and consists of lakes, rivers, boreal forest, fens, and bogs.
The purpose of this natural park is to preserve the area and to provide recreational opportunities and resource uses.
From the artifacts retrieved, there is an indication that human involvement in the area goes back about 8,000 years. The Anishinabe of today are descendants of the Algonkian-speaking people of that time.
Petroform sites, which consist of arrangements of stones in the forms of snakes, turtles, humans, and geometric shapes, are found in the park. These represent places where spirits taught the people who were willing to receive instruction.
When the explorer and fur trader La Vérendrye arrived here in 1733, he found a Cree settlement. He and such other explorers and traders as Alexander Mackenzie, David Thompson, Paul Kane, and Alexander Henry (both Elder and Younger), used the Winnipeg River, which flows through the current park.
In 1877, work began on construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the area. Twenty-five years later, another rail line, which later became part of the Canadian National Railways, was completed through the park area.
During the 1930s, roads were constructed. The Trans-Canada Highway in this area was completed in the 1950s.
In 1930, the Dominion of Canada transferred jurisdiction of the province’s natural resources to Manitoba. In the following year, Whiteshell Forest Preserve was established.
Prior to the use of telephone and radio in the preserve, communication was through pilots, spotters, and patrolmen who used homing pigeons. Later, lookout towers were constructed.
Today, the same means of fire protection is used here as in other parts of Canada. In 1961, Whiteshell was designated as a provincial park.
The registered trapline system was introduced to Whiteshell in the 1940s. Today, twenty-five trappers manage the animal population within the park.
Trapping has been a tradition here since the time of the early fur-traders. The Trappers’ Museum, modeled after a typical trapper’s cabin, has exhibits showing modern trapping techniques and provides historical information about the profession.
See maps of the area.
We would like to thank Jason Greenall, Coordinator/Ecologist, and Catherine R. Foster, Assistant Biologist, Manitoba Conservation Data Centre, for providing information for this page.
(This page was updated in November 2012.)