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Riding Mountain National Park

Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area Strategy

Vision, Objectives and Actions

By working together we can increase opportunities for visitors to discover, experience and learn about this area of the park and its adjacent communities
By working together we can increase opportunities for visitors to discover, experience and learn about this area of the park and its adjacent communities
© Parks Canada
Core to the area strategy is the vision, objective and actions as outlined below.

A Vision for the Escarpment of Riding Mountain Area 

In 10 to 15 years time:
Greater collaboration among Parks Canada, partners and stakeholders has led to increased numbers of opportunities for visitors to discover, experience and learn about the Escarpment of Riding Mountain area of the park, and beyond.
The number of visitors to this area of the park and beyond has increased significantly.
The Strategy has been a catalyst for greater collaboration among those who are responsible for this area, and those who can champion actions that lead to fulfilling this Vision.
Objectives and Actions  
Objective One:  Work collaboratively with area stakeholders and partners so that they may bring their knowledge into developing opportunities, and to develop partnerships in service delivery where such partnerships make sense.
Action 1:

Parks Canada is willing to participate with others to realize opportunities.  Bring together an “Action Group” of motivated individuals and organizations that can further focus on opportunities, and champion the development of visitor experiences in line with the Vision.  
  • The Action Group should: identify appropriate recreational opportunities in consultation with the interested public; and build a clear working relationship with Parks Canada to ensure shared expectations. 
  • Parks Canada should: clearly communicate the Action Group’s parameters for planning and action; and provide a Parks Canada representative to participate on the Group.
Action 2:

Parks Canada will develop and implement a communication plan to raise public/private sector awareness of possibilities and progress in the escarpment area.  The plan will outline a range of public products or activities such as:

  • a “Pathfinder” document that helps the public understand how they can provide services and experiences in the park; provides market information; and provides information on Parks Canada needs; and 
  • events to mark major milestones, celebrate successes and build an ongoing sense of connection among stakeholders, partners and Parks Canada.

Objective Two:  Continue to identify and develop opportunities for visitors to discover, experience and learn about the Escarpment of Riding Mountain area inside the park. 

Action 1:

Define the market segments that exist within the five hour driving range market that are aligned with Parks Canada’s and Manitoba’s tourism priorities (see Appendix 3).

Action 2:

Identify realistic service/product match opportunities (based on Action 1 above) and the associated investment requirements.

Action 3:

Align visitor activity hubs with appropriate product-market match opportunities.  For instance:

  • continue to invest in the redevelopment of the trail system on the east side.  Focus on Reeves Ravine, improvements to Gorge Creek Trail, a Seven Gorges traverse, and a re-engineering of the South Escarpment trail system. The trail system should improves access to Muskrat Lake, broaden user groups,  provide a future Trans-Canada connection, and meet the needs of adjacent communities;
  • create a meaningful, quality visitor experience at the East Gate Registration Complex National Historic Site. Consider options such as displays that describe the site’s significance, a bird watching hub, a mountain biking hub, a tea house, a trailhead, etc.;
  • adapt the former McKinnon Creek District Station for a new visitor experience.  Possibilities are use as a back country cabin, a cross-country ski warming hut, a hiking hub, etc.;
  • consider proposals from the private sector for the redevelopment of the Mt. Agassiz Ski Area for downhill skiing, and other multi-season recreation uses; and
  • continue to invest in the experience at Whirlpool Lake Campground, including improving the dam structure, constructing a new bridge and fish way, and installing interpretive signs. 
Action 4:

Explore opportunities for collaborative development of new experiential travel programming from Riding Mountain National Park and private sector operators to engage guests, and bring people and the park together using innovative programming (see definition of “experiential travel”  following.

Action 5:

Demonstrate leadership and innovation in sustainable use, when considering all new developments, including new infrastructure, new visitor experiences, and the redevelopment of Mt. Agassiz Ski Area.

Action 6:

Continue to undertake scientific research and monitoring to support the maintenance of ecological and commemorative integrity, and the protection of natural and cultural resources. Seek ways to effectively communicate research and management actions with visitors.

Fun Facts

Here are some interesting facts we have found. If you have interesting facts, photographs and stories about this area please let us know.

  • What is an Escarpment? It is a sudden drop associated with a long line of cliffs.
  • How is an Escarpment Created? Soft shale rock + erosion resistant caprock combined eroding power of water + 65 million years of time.
  • Toronto's CN Tower and the Escarpment?
    The tower is nearly the same height as the escarpment's highest peak to the Manitoba Plains below. (550 metres or 150 stories)
  • 25% More Precipitation & 30 Less Frost Free Days is received by the escarpment's uplands compared to the plains below.
  • Lake Manitoba On a clear day you can see the lake from portions of the escarpment (nearly 60 km away)
  • 1000's Years of Use. This area has provided people with needed resources for a long time.
  • Fossils are in this area, however, they are not as abundant as the fossil beds found along the Ochre River just outside of the park.


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