I promise this post will have nothing too serious. No politics, news, world hardships, or references to the Kardashians. Instead, I want to look back at my visits to somewhere that always makes me smile. Ever since I was a young boy, I have been going to Manning Provincial Park in southern British Columbia, Canada to hike, camp, picnic, and to see the Columbian ground squirrel.
E.C. Manning Provincial Park is located about 200 kilometers east of Vancouver. The drive takes about 2 1/2 hours. The park was named after E.C. Manning himself. He was the Chief Forester in British Columbia from 1936 to 1941, and believed in setting aside land outside of the National Park system for future generations to enjoy. In the winter, there is snowshoeing, and both cross-country and downhill skiing. In the summer, there are numerous hiking trails ranging from easy to difficult. There are campgrounds and even a road that will take you into the sub-alpine where you can see wildflowers, with little effort.
During the summer, the most popular feature of Manning Park is the Lightning Lakes where there is a large day-use area and campground. Activities include hiking, picnicking, swimming, fishing, and canoeing. In fact, Lightning Lakes is actually a chain of four lakes which, if I remember correctly, three are joined by streams that are accessible with canoes or kayaks.
The Columbian ground squirrel is only found in parts of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada, and Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Oregon in the United States. It’s named after the Columbia River where much of its territory is located around. Although I may be corrected, Manning Park, and this specific colony at Lightning Lake, is the westernmost reach of the Columbian ground squirrel in British Columbia. I must note that these little rodents are only active for about three months of the year. The rest of the time they’re sleeping or hibernating. For more information on the Columbian ground squirrel, please visit the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History page.
This one is calling.
From another hole, babies emerge.
And the mother.
At least I believe this is the mother.
Okay, I know a cracker is not part of the diet for the Columbian ground squirrel but…
I couldn’t say no.
Oh yes, the bear. On a blog post, I wouldn’t normally include a photo of a bear on a road. While driving through Manning Park early one day last August, I came across this one sauntering in the middle of the highway. I didn’t have a choice and had to stop. He took his time and then proceeded to the side of the road where…
he knelt down and watched me and the traffic go by.
Sorry, I hope you weren’t expecting the ground squirrels playing with the bear. That would certainly be YouTube material.
I hope you enjoyed this post, as I looked back at two of my recent trips to Manning Provincial Park. If you’re ever in the area, it’s well worth a stop for at least a few hours on a pleasant afternoon. If you enjoy relaxing, hiking, or canoeing, you can easily spend a day or two. Or else you can grab a picnic basket and blanket, and relax on the edge of Lightning Lake and watch these cute, furry guys.
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