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World Heritage: Canada

Alberta and Northwest Territories


Peinting reproducing a river with banks covered by blond high herbs. Two birds fly over it towards the infinite horizon.
Painting by Bernard Pelletier
© Parks Canada, Bernard Pelletier

Wood Buffalo is Canada's largest national park, and the very embodiment of the space and wilderness that symbolize Northern Canada. Its 44,807 square kilometres include huge tracts of boreal forest and plains, and some of the largest undisturbed grass and sedge meadows left in North America. Those meadows sustain the largest free-roaming herd of bison, commonly known as buffalo, in the world.

Great rivers grace the park as the mighty Peace flows through the heart of the park and the Slave and Athabasca form the eastern border. Where the Peace and Athabasca issue into Lake Athabasca is the world's largest inland freshwater delta. The endless streams and wetlands of the delta accommodate countless waterfowl, including ducks, geese, swans, loons and grebes.

The park was established in 1922, largely as a home for the remnant population of bison that escaped the slaughter in the late 19th century that reduced the monarch of the plains from 60 million to a relative handful. The plains in the park are on the historic northern limit of the bison's range, and several thousand plains bison were shipped north to join the native wood bison herd already there.The park is also home to the world's last remaining wild flock of endangered whooping cranes.

More information

Parks Canada Web site:
Wood Buffalo National Park of Canada

World Heritage Centre Web site:
World Heritage - Wood Buffalo National Park

Environment Canada Web site:
Whooping crane

More Images

Picture of marshes produced by the meeting of the rivers Athabasca and Peace. One of the largest inland delta in the world. Peace Athabasca Delta
© Ducks Unlimited Canada
Close up pcture of a wood bison. Wood Bison
© Parks Canada, R.O. Muir
Picture of a crater called Big Sink and the forest all around. Big Sink
© Parks Canada, R.O.
Muir
Picture of marshes with trees and multiple water pounds. Marshes
© Parks Canada, R.O. Muir