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Watch CBC Wild Docs online: Episode 13 Discovering Wild Canada: Journeys in the Whaleback

The Whaleback lies in the southwest corner of Alberta, north and west of Pincher Creek and bordered on the south by the legendary Oldman River. The area was called "Whaleback" due to the contours of the rolling hills that resemble the back of a surfacing whale. About ten years ago, the Alberta government protected the Whaleback from oil and gas development by setting it aside as the "Bob Creek Wildland". The Whaleback is a rare montane ecosystem - one of the largest remaining in western Canada. It covers roughly 340 square kilometers and is a mix of prairie grasslands with foothills cloaked in aspen, Douglas fir and limber pines. It's the douglas fir and the limber pine that characterize montane landscapes and some of those in the Whaleback are between 4-500 years old. There are plant series found here that grow only in montane regions. The whaleback is also home to wintering herds of wild elk. Black bears, grizzly, and cougar use and pass through this important corridor that links grasslands to the Rocky Mountains. More important, there are no roads running through this rare montane landscape, just rough trails used by hikers and a small group of neighbouring ranchers who hold traditional summer grazing leases fro their cattle. Journeys in the Whaleback explores the Whaleback in three seasons, as we travel by horse drawn sleigh, wagon, and on foot to experience the wildlife and natural beauty of the region. And from a few experts we'll learn why it was so worthy of protection.

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