How to use 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to Plan Your Road Trip: Book Review

This week, 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: The Best Parks, Conservation Areas and Wild Places helped me plan a two week long camping trip. It’s the summer of RVing throughout southwest Saskatchewan for my husband Chris and I. This book came perfectly timed alongside the opening of the Saskatchewan Provincial Park campsite reservation service.

Jenn Smith Nelson, one of the book’s co-authors, asked me about writing a review of her new book in February. I don’t normally write book reviews, but the title intrigued me since I make a point of exploring Saskatchewan. I thought this would be the perfect book to motivate and inspire my summer RV camping plan.


Imagine asking a stranger for directions and getting a lot of local expertise and hidden gems about the wild along the way – that’s what you can expect from this guidebook.

I relate to Jenn’s ‘Welcome to Saskatchewan’ message. In her introduction, she explains that her love of nature and pride for the prairies is what motivated her to write this book. Jenn says that the prairies are often overlooked. Next to her message is a gorgeous photo of the northern lights dancing above Castle Butte.

Jenn and I make it our mission to compile gems within Saskatchewan. And it helps to continuously discover more reasons to love our home province.

Pick up 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and you’ll likely read it cover to cover in a short sitting. You’ll use it again as a reference guide when researching a destination before hitting the road.

The book’s main introduction mentions “the healing power of nature” along with a call for readers to respect wildlife areas. The authors clearly want readers to explore rather than disrupt the fragile environments. So don’t all go stampeding into these wild places at once!

What to expect from 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan

On the day 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan arrived in the mail, I opened it somewhere in the middle and began flipping through. Its modern format, eye-catching headings, and clean layout makes each nature hot spot pop. Captioned photos reinforce each profile’s wild flora (plants) and fauna (animals).

Sections start with a map and point to which page you’ll find each nature hot spot. This visual Table of Contents is helpful to reference during road trip planning. Every hot spot has a short summary with information on location highlights and icons that indicate activity type.

Page view of 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
An example entry of one of the 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: The Great Sandhills. Photo courtesy of Firefly Books.

It must’ve been challenging for co-authors, Jenn Smith Nelson and Doug O’Neill, to keep each destination brief, yet detailed. There is no room for personal opinion within the hot spot entries which results in short descriptions. Imagine asking a stranger for directions and getting a lot of local expertise and hidden gems about the wild – that’s what you can expect from this guidebook.

You’ll want to check out the ‘Special Interest’ category at the back of each province’s section for information on waterfalls (yes, we have those and I’m surprised too), birds, paddling, and sky viewing spots.

How to use 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to plan your road trips

It’s super easy to flip through and plan a road trip on the fly. The map at the beginning of the Southern Saskatchewan section was helpful in creating a circle route plan for our summer RV trip. For instance, we chose Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, Grasslands National Park – West Block, Lake Diefenbaker – Douglas Provincial Park, and the Beechy Sandcastles.

In the future, I’m looking forward to exploring northern parts of the province and eventually Manitoba. This year, I’m focusing on the south and central regions. I found myself flipping to different parts of the book to dream about where we’d visit next. After seeing a photo of the swinging bridge, I literally booked a campsite at Nipawin Regional Park .

Beginner travellers and seasoned adventurers navigating through the prairies will find this book useful. If you’ve done a fair bit of Saskatchewan travel, 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan will shed new light on old favourites while introducing you to places you likely never knew existed.

For example, I learned about the Northeast Swale right here in my home city of Saskatoon. It’s located in the Silverspring neighbourhood, east of the Chief Mistawasis Bridge. On a spontaneous visit this weekend, I was surprised to find a beaver lodge along with a patch of wild crocus in full bloom and checked it off my spring bucket list.

A wild crocus blooms on the eastern edge of the Northwest Swale in Silverspring. Photo by Amy Rederburg.

Saskatoon’s entry reminds me of the natural amenities I have, steps from home: Meewasin Trail, the South Saskatchewan River, Cranberry Flats, and white pelicans at the weir to name a few.

110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan provides a broad overview of natural gems with unique details that you can only learn from a local. The personal touch within Jenn’s introduction would’ve been interesting to weave into each destination entry, but would’ve resulted in a much longer book. If you’re looking for a personal story of prairie wildlife, choose a hot spot and create your own adventure.

Author Info:

Jenn Smith Nelson, co-author of 110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan: The Best Parks, Conservation Areas and Wild Places, is a well-known travel writer and media contributor who calls Regina, Saskatchewan home. Co-author, Doug O’Neill, is an established travel writer, certified hike leader, and Trans-Canada Trail ambassador. He resides in Toronto, Ontario.

Book Details:

110 Nature Hot Spots in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
The Best Parks, Conservation Areas and Wild Places
Published on April 15, 2019
Paperback
$29.95
ISBN: 9780228101697

April Events in Saskatoon 2019

The month that starts with pranks and practical jokes delivers on laughs and entertainment in Saskatoon.

You have plenty of time to create a hoppin’ schedule for your April date nights while you’re waiting for the Easter bunny to show up. A few of my personal highlights include: The Vagina Monologues, The Thunder From Down Under, Indoor Vegetable Gardening and Canadian Comedy Brewery Tour.

This April, Do Sask is hosting Speed Dating at the Hose & Hydrant and the free monthly Book Club meeting at McNally Robinson. Join in on the fun!

Check out the April events in Saskatoon 2019 listing below for links to these events and more.

Skip to:Tuesday, April 9
Skip to:Tuesday, April 16
Skip to:Tuesday, April 23

APRIL EVENTS IN SASKATOON 2019

Monday, April 1, 2019

ASIST Workshop for Suicide Intervention
Monday Night Trivia at Hose & Hydrant Pub
Trivia at Hudson’s Canada’s Pub
April Fool’s Day

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

ASIST Workshop for Suicide Intervention
Empire of the Son at Remai Arts Centre
Trivia Tuesday at Earl’s

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Empire of the Son at Remai Arts Centre
Pubstumper’s Trivia at Fionn MacCool’s

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Free Class: Gardening, Naturally: Chemical-Free Gardening at USask
Make a Ribbon Skirt at Wanuskewin
Empire of the Son at Remai Arts Centre
Cribbage Nights at High Key Brewing Co.
Comedy Lab Open Mic at The Crazy Cactus
Open Mic at Fionn MacCool’s
Tournament Trivia at Thirsty Scholar
Karaoke at Amigo’s Cantina
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 Viewing Party at Diva’s

Friday, April 5, 2019

Empire of the Son at Remai Arts Centre
Ben Caplan at St. Joseph’s Hall
Turn Out at Remai Modern
Yuk Yuk’s on Tour Presents Cedric Newman at Parktown Hotel
Genesis Piano Fridays at The Bassment

Saturday, April 6, 2019

March MENtle Health Community Stage feat Joseph Naytowhow at PAVED Arts
Empire of the Son at Remai Arts Centre
Latin Urban Nights at 360 Lounge

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Spring Watercolour Workshop at Saskatoon Paint-Along
Empire of the Son at Remai Arts Centre
National Beer Day – Book a Saskatoon Brewery Tour!

Monday, April 8, 2019

Monday Night Trivia at Hose & Hydrant Pub
Trivia at Hudson’s Canada’s Pub

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Lady Bits Improv Workshop at Persephone School of Theatre
Empire of the Son at Remai Arts Centre
Morgan James at The Broadway Theatre
Trivia Tuesday at Earl’s

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Speed Dating for 24 & Up at Hose & Hydrant Brew Pub
Empire of the Son at Remai Arts Centre
Pubstumper’s Trivia at Fionn MacCool’s
National Sibling’s Day

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Writers’ Open Mic Night at Frances Morrison Library
Cribbage Nights at High Key Brewing Co.
Comedy Lab Open Mic at The Crazy Cactus
Open Mic at Fionn MacCool’s
Tournament Trivia at Thirsty Scholar
Karaoke at Amigo’s Cantina
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 Viewing Party at Diva’s

Friday, April 12, 2019

2019 Saskatoon Tattoo Expo at Prarieland Park
Genesis Piano Fridays at The Bassment
Trivia at Revolve Cafe

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Make a Beaded Rope Lanyard at Wanuskewin
2019 Saskatoon Tattoo Expo at Prarieland Park
Uptown Stomp Swing Dance at Free Flow Dance Centre
Latin Urban Nights at 360 Lounge

Sunday, April 14, 2019

2019 Saskatoon Tattoo Expo at Prarieland Park
Native Plants for Prairie Gardens Workshop at USask

Monday, April 15, 2019

Alice In Chains at TCU Place
Monday Night Trivia at Hose & Hydrant Pub
Trivia at Hudson’s Canada’s Pub

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sustainable Speaker Series at Frances Morrison Library
Indoor Vegetable Gardening Class at USask
Trivia Tuesday at Earl’s

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Pubstumper’s Trivia at Fionn MacCool’s

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Passa Passa Spring Ting at Coors Event Centre
An Evening with Michael Buble at SaskTel Centre
R A I N – A Tribute to the Beatles at TCU Place
Rustic Sign Night at the Pink Cadillac’s Malt Shop & Diner
The Vagina Monologues at The Broadway Theatre
Cribbage Nights at High Key Brewing Co.
Comedy Lab Open Mic at The Crazy Cactus
Open Mic at Fionn MacCool’s
Tournament Trivia at Thirsty Scholar
Karaoke at Amigo’s Cantina
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 Viewing Party at Diva’s

Friday, April 19, 2019

Genesis Piano Fridays at The Bassment
Good Friday

Saturday, April 20, 2019

The Canadian Comedy Brewery Tour at High Key Brewing Co.
Ukrainian Easter Tea & Bake Sale at Ukrainian Orthodox Auditorium
Morissey at TCU Place
Retro Game and Toy Fair at German Cultural Centre
Latin Urban Nights at 360 Lounge

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Brunch Buffet at German Cultural Centre
Easter Sunday

Monday, April 22, 2019

METRIC with July Talk at SaskTel Centre
The Lonely at The Broadway Theatre
Easter Monday
Earth Day

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Trivia Tuesday at Earl’s
World Book Night

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Pubstumper’s Trivia at Fionn MacCool’s

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Write Out Loud at Frances Morrison Library
Australia’s Thunder From Down Under at Dakota Dunes Casino
Sharon & Bram Farewell Tour at The Broadway Theatre
Cribbage Nights at High Key Brewing Co.
Comedy Lab Open Mic at The Crazy Cactus
Open Mic at Fionn MacCool’s
Tournament Trivia at Thirsty Scholar
Karaoke at Amigo’s Cantina
RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 11 Viewing Party at Diva’s

Friday, April 26, 2019

Augmented Experiments at PAVED Arts
Sharon & Bram Farewell Tour at The Broadway Theatre
Genesis Piano Fridays at The Bassment
Trivia at Revolve Cafe

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Spring Pottery Sale at Albert Community Centre
Latin Urban Nights at 360 Lounge

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Matt Andersen at The Broadway Theatre

Monday, April 29, 2019

Book Club at Prairie Ink Restaurant
Monday Night Trivia at Hose & Hydrant Pub
Trivia at Hudson’s Canada’s Pub

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Trivia Tuesday at Earl’s

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