The first thought that struck me as I excitedly tore open my package from Firefly Books was the quality of the book sitting in front of me. This will surely last being tossed around my RV as I explore the prairies!
110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan was written by Jenn Smith Nelson and Doug O’Neill. They set out to showcase the best parks, conservation areas, and wild places in these two provinces. Jenn and I are in the same blogger group and have met in person while out touring, so I was more than happy to volunteer to review her new book.
As I sat in the car in front of the post office, I flipped quickly through the pages. Beautiful photographs on each page jumped out at me, each with a descriptive caption, ensuring that it didn’t take long for me to wish I was heading out on an adventure instead of going in to work. With another quick scan, I noticed bold headings and subheadings and a text box with bulleted points, location information, contact numbers, and icons of the activities available in each section.
After work that day, I sat curled up in my corner chair for a closer look at this nature guide. A table of contents clearly shows that the book is divided up by province and then by area. I immediately jumped to the Southern Saskatchewan section to read over a few of the places that I have been to. I was excited to realize that at the start of each section, there is a map that is numbered according to the hot spot locations. This will come in handy on road trips. I am not a big planner, so opening up that map to see what is available as I cruise down the highway on an impromptu trip will be nice.
The descriptive writing of both Jenn and Doug make for an enjoyable read. Each location is covered in only 2 or 3 pages ( photos included), so they don’t lose the attention of squirrely people, like me! Within each section they cover animals, plants, land, history, geographical info, safety, and facts about conservation. It is evident that they have reached out to locals and pinpointed some tips for people new to the area. For example, The Great Sandhills are pretty much in my back yard and I appreciate the tips they wrote about finding the parking lot and being careful not to get turned around or lost without a compass. I know from personal experience that these are great tips!
Available activities in the area are shown by the use of icons, with a legend found in the introduction of the book. This will be handy when you are looking for specific experiences such as fishing, power boating, or snowmobling. They also point out which locations are wheelchair accessible. In addition to this, each province has a Special Interest section where they showcase, in more detail, some of the best spots for specific activities or areas of interest, such as paddling, sky viewing, or birdwatching.
After seeing there was a hiking section in the Manitoba portion of the book, I quickly jumped to see what hiking was showcased in Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, hiking doesn’t have its own chapter in the Saskatchewan’s Special Interest portion of the book, but I can still find information within each location by using the icons and reading more thoroughly.
Travellers often forget about the prairie provinces as they tour Canada. A quick glance at these 110 Nature Hot Spots will surely inspire both locals and visitors to spend more time outside exploring. Reading through the photo credits, it’s exciting to see more familiar names. These photos, along with the well written descriptions and easy to follow format of the book make this one of the best travel guides in my stash.
I consider myself an avid Saskatchewan traveller and I am definitely inspired to check more of these hotspots off of my list. My eyes have absolutely been opened to all of the beauty I am missing out on in Manitoba. If you hear someone call our provinces flat and boring, I encourage you to send them a copy of this book!
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in nature and the outdoors.
Congrats to Jenn and Doug on a well written, inspiring, and useful guide to the natural gems in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. I can’t wait to start checking off the pages I visit.