Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve is located in south-central Canada, some 300 km northwest of Winnipeg, Manitoba. It is situated at the junction of the grassland and boreal forest biome. Forests cover most of the area, dominated by aspen (Populus tremuloides). Although grasslands occupy only 7,400 of the total 1,331,800 hectares, they are considered of national importance since they exist as discrete units and the rare climax rough fescue community represents the eastern extent of its range.
Designation Date: 1986
Administrative authorities: Riding Mountain National Park.
Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve Management Committee
Surface area: 1,331,000 ha
Core area(s): 270,000 ha
Buffer zone(s): 26,800 ha
Transition area(s): 1,034,200 ha
Midpoint: 50°45’N – 100°19’W
Forests cover most of the area, dominated by aspen (Populus tremuloides). Although grasslands occupy only 7,400 of the total 1,331,800 hectares, they are considered of national importance since they exist as discrete units and the rare climax rough fescue community represents the eastern extent of its range. Grasslands once occurred throughout southern Manitoba, but have been transformed since European settlement in the late nineteenth century. The biosphere reserve also includes agricultural areas that used to be forests or grasslands. The forest ecosystem maintains many larger mammals, such as black bear (Ursus americanus), American bison (Bison bison), gray wolf (Canis lupus) and coyote (Canis latrans).
Descendants of the Ojibwa First Nations live in four relatively small Indian Reserves within the transition zone. The rest of the area is settled mainly by people of Ukrainian, English, French or Scandinavian descent.
The region supports a rural agricultural economy supplemented by tourism associated principally with the national park. The national park also maintains a well-developed interpretive centre with a wide variety of public information materials.
In terms of the human population, a small number of permanent residents live within the core area in the form of resident park wardens and their families at warden stations along the periphery of the National Park. However, since 2000 most of these stations have been closed. A large, seasonal population of cabin owners occupies a site in Wasagaming town in Riding Mountain National Park during the summer months, with up to 15,000 people occupying the site during peak periods.
Last updated in September 2015Back to top