If seeing a bison isn’t on your bucket list to finish off this summer, it should be.
Elk Island National Park is gearing up to provide guests with a great end of summer experience. The free admission Discovery Passes is encouraging more visitors to experience the outdoors and attractions close to Edmonton. With the influx of visitors, Canada Parks have to up the ante and ensure everything is a gold star experience.
Located 45 minutes east of downtown Edmonton, Elk Island National Park is a beautiful oasis home to herds of free-roaming plains bison, wood bison, moose, deer, elk and over 250 species of birds, shares Robyn O’Neil, of Parks Canada. O’Neil sees the park as a refuge for wildlife and people alike, “Elk Island National Park is an oasis of calm. For generations, people have come here for a day picnic or an overnight camping expedition to escape the city’s distractions and explore by foot, canoe, bike or vehicle.” I love working at Elk Island National Park because I get to help Canadians discover and enjoy the outdoors, while learning all about Canada’s history, says O’Neil.” It’s particularly cool this year because the free entry Discovery Passes and new programs, like Learn to Camp, encourages folks who may not have ever considered coming out to Elk Island National Park to come out, including youth and newcomers.” Learn to Camp allows for newbie campers to test out their outdoor skills without fully committing to roughing it.
Visit as a day picnicker, paddle board, kayak, hike the trails, take in a round of golf, canoe around Astotin Lake or sit back and relax. Interested in hiking? Elk Island has trails for every skill set. Those interested in taking up hiking should take advantage of free entry this summer and upgrade their skills.
Elk Island is a photography hub year-round. Expect YEGGERS meet ups this summer, and fall – be assured that you will snap some fantastic images. Wildlife, beautiful Alberta sunrises—and if you’re lucky, the aurora may dance after darkness falls. Make plans to camp overnight this summer and you’ll be captivated by the view of an expansive starry night sky.
One of the highlights of Elk Island, is it’s Dark Sky Preserve status. Minimizing light pollution within the Beaver Hills Dark Sky Preserve ensures the night sky is preserved for all Canadians to discover and enjoy. Managing lighting practices also protects local wildlife that can be seriously affected by artificial lighting. It is one of the best places in Alberta to skygaze. O’Neill encourages visitors to keep an eye out for seasonal meteor showers.
Elk Island’s celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation includes a special star-filled event. Taking place over two days at two different locations, Elk Island and Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. This event is family friendly, and a perfect way to end the summer. The event will feature volunteer astronomers to provide stargazing tips, guest speakers and local musical performances. The Star Party will be at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park on Saturday Sept. 2 and at Elk Island National Park on Sunday Sept 3, 2017.