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Polar Bear

Operating Dates Legend

Non-operating parks do not have operating dates. Please note that activities and facilities may be temporarily unavailable or restricted for public health.

Facilities and Activities summary

Availability of some facilities and activities may be restricted to specific areas of the park, may be ecologically dependent, or may be seasonally weather dependent.

Before you visit: check what facilities/activities are available and pack what you need (e.g. water, snacks, mask/face covering, and hand sanitizer). Postpone your visit if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 or have been asked to isolate.

When you visit: Continue to follow public health advice including practicing physical distancing by keeping at least two metres from others, wearing a face covering where required, when physical distancing may be a challenge or not possible and when entering indoor public spaces, and wash your hands regularly with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

Facilities

All Terrain Wheelchairs symbol Amphitheatres symbol Art Galleries symbol Backcountry Access Points symbol Boat Launches symbol Campsites (Backcountry) symbol Campsites (Car Camping) symbol Campsites (Dog Free) symbol Campsites (Electrical) symbol Campsites (Group) symbol Campsites (Radio Free) symbol Campsites (RV Pullthrough) symbol Campsites (Seasonal Campsite Rental) symbol Campsites (Total) symbol Campsites (Walk In) symbol Comfort Stations symbol Docks symbol Dog Beaches symbol Fish Cleaning Buildings symbol Food Concessions symbol Group BBQ's symbol Historic Buildings symbol Laundromat symbol Museums (Logging etc.) symbol Park Store symbol Pet Exercise Areas symbol Picnic Shelters symbol Playgrounds symbol Pools symbol Rentals - Bike symbol Rentals - Canoe symbol Rentals - Cross-country skis symbol Rentals - Ice Fishing Kit symbol Rentals - Ice Skates symbol Rentals - Kayak symbol Rentals - Motorboat symbol Rentals - Paddleboat symbol Rentals - Snowshoes symbol Rentals - Stand Up Paddleboard symbol Roofed Accommodation symbol Showers symbol Toilets (Interior Earth Pit) symbol Toilets (Vault Privies) symbol Trailer Dump / Fill Stations symbol Visitor Centres symbol Warm Up Shelters symbol Wifi (Public) symbol

Activities

Biking symbol Biking - (Mountain Bike) symbol Birding - Festivals symbol Boating symbol Boating - Motorboat Restrictions symbol Camping - Backcountry symbol Camping - Car symbol Camping - Dog Free symbol Camping - Group symbol Camping - Radio Free symbol Camping - Seasonal Campsite Rental symbol Camping - Walk In symbol Camping - Winter (includes Roofed) symbol Canoeing symbol Disc Golf symbol Discovery Program symbol Dogsledding symbol Fishing symbol Hiking symbol Hiking - Overnight Trails symbol Horseback Riding symbol Hunting symbol Ice Skating symbol Kite Boarding symbol Rock Climbing symbol Skiing - Cross Country symbol Snowmobiling symbol Snowshoeing symbol Swimming symbol Tobogganing symbol Whitewater Paddling symbol
Icon Colours
Camping - Blue - available at the park.
Camping - Grey - unavailable at this park.
Camping - Red - temporarily unavailable due to public health restrictions.
General Information
Regional Health Unit for this Park: Porcupine Health Unit
Phone:
705-272-9117
Size: 2355200.00 ha
Year established: 1970
Park Classification: Wilderness
Address:
2 HWY 11 S
Cochrane
P0L 1C0

What You'll Like:

Remote, and accessible only by air, Ontario’s largest and most northerly park features unspoiled low-lying tundra. Sub-arctic conditions prevail in the park, which is the domain of woodland caribou, moose, marten, fox, beaver, goose, black bear, and polar bear. Seals, walruses, beluga and white whales frequent coastal and esturial areas. As many as 200 polar bears lumber through coastal areas at certain times. The peak period is early November. In late spring, hundreds of species of bird descend upon the region. White geese can be seen rising gracefully above the sear barren. Until roughly 4000 years ago, the mid-Silurian limestone bedrock (450 million years old) here was submerged beneath the Tyrrell Sea, a massive body of water that has retreated into the present Hudson and James Bays. Postglacial gravels and sands are overlain by a layer of sedimentary clay. The land is basically flat with a few inland ridges that indicate the location of former shorelines. It tends to flood when the ice breaks up in late spring. No longer oppressed by the weight of mega-glaciers, the land is slowly rising at a rate estimated at 1.2 m per century. Caribou lichen, reindeer and sphagnum moss grow along the tundra. This is considered the most temperately located mainland tundra in the world. The simple plant cover decomposes into the uppermost layers of the peat soils, bogs, and muskeg that carpet the terrain, much of which is given to permafrost. The treeline encircles the bays like a necklace. North of this invisible limit, no trees grow. South of the line, stunted willow, spruce and tamarack masquerade as scrub, gradually rising in height, with distance travelled south. Lapland rhododendron, crowberry, and mountain cranberry also flourish here. In early summer, the tundra becomes an exquisite heath of plants in delirious bloom. Adding to the spectacle, the many ponds that dot the landscape turn rust, yellow, green, turquoise, black, ivory, brown, and other colours, depending on the plant micro-organisms and minerals in the water. Archeologists have determined that Algonquian people lived here perhaps 1000 years ago. Their descendents are the present-day Cree who reside in the coastal settlement of Winisk.

Park Facilities and Activities: There are no visitors’ facilities. Landing permits must be obtained in advance for each of the park’s four airstrips. The only evidence of human habitation in the park is an abandoned radar station, part of a former military defence line. It consists of squat metal buildings, oil tanks, radio towers, and a few radar dishes and a landing airstrip. Visitors to Polar Bear should be prepared for any eventuality. They should bring at least one week’s extra supplies in case their departure is delayed due to bad weather. Tents should not rise any higher than necessary, due to the possibility of strong winds.

Location: On the western shore of Hudson Bay, above James Bay, in the far northern area of the province.