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Wood Buffalo National Park - Canada’s largest national park

May 07, 2012

Wood Buffalo National Park (at 44,807 sq. km.) is the largest park in Canada’s system of National Parks and the 2nd largest protected area in the world.

The park is located in north-eastern Alberta and straddles the Alberta-NWT border. Wood Buffalo is home to the largest land mammal native to North America - a herd of 5000 Wood Bison, birthplace to North America’s largest bird - the Whooping Crane, this vast park contains one of the largest inland fresh water delta ecosystems in the world - the Peace Athabasca Delta and now it boasts the largest beaver dam in the world. There are about 4,000 wood bison in the Park.

Wood Buffalo Park is larger than Switzerland. The park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for the biological diversity of the Peace-Athabasca Delta, one of the world’s largest freshwater deltas, as well as the population of wild bison.

The park headquarters is located in Fort Smith, with a smaller satellite office in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. The park contains one of the world’s largest fresh water deltas, the Peace-Athabasca Delta, formed by the Peace, Athabasca and Birch Rivers. It is also known for its karst sinkholes in the north-eastern section of the park. 

The Parks Canada 2010 Management Plan for Wood Buffalo National Park revealed that the Park is a unique and welcoming destination that offers visitors a true northern experience year round. Visitor surveys reveal that 65% of visitors are very satisfied with their visit, exceeding the national Agency target of 50%. This trend continues and 93% of park visitors report being satisfied with their overall visit as a recreational experience.This result compares favourably with the proposed Agency target of 90%. A goal in the management plan is to increase park visitation to 5,000/annum by 2015.