Book Review: 125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta

Two of the most talented travel writers I know — Debbie Olsen and Leigh McAdam — have turned their considerable talents to ferreting out 125 of Alberta’s best destinations for nature lovers.

Their new book “125 Nature Hot Spots in Alberta” profiles parks, conservation areas and wild places across mountain, prairie, forest, and water landscapes. Each profile includes an easy-to-read summary of reasons to visit, activities available, months open, and physical and website addresses. The extensive consultation they have done with park managers and nature experts shines through in unusual historical and geographic facts on each location, tips on avoiding crowds, and suggestions for making the best use of time.

The book is a combination of well-known locales (Banff National Park) and undiscovered jewels (who knew McLennan proclaimed itself the Bird Capital of Canada?). As a bird lover I appreciated the book’s emphasis on bird and wildlife watching but there is plenty for those more interested in moving than observing.

Hikers will enjoy tips on tackling a hiking route, cyclists the best direction to travel a route, and paddlers the identification of waterways suitable for beginners versus experts. People seeking caves, dark skies, hot springs, larch, nature festivals, paddling, and waterfalls will find a list of special interest places they can string together for a themed trip or check off as time allows.

In all cases McAdam and Olsen stress the need to tread lightly as they point the way to sensitive environments.

A separate section is devoted to special interests.

Visitors to Alberta will find the book helpful if they want to go beyond places often featured on tourist brochures. Well-travelled Canadians will find it breathes new life into their vacations or weekend getaways. I’ll be keeping this book handy for years as I plan more outdoor adventures.

Published by Firefly Books and available wherever books are sold online and in bookstores.

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Originally published at Carol Patterson.