Hecla Island, Manitoba, a naturalist’s dream and a touch of Iceland

Hecla Island Provincial Park on the shores of Lake Winnipeg is an incredibly diverse area of Manitoba.  Offering outdoor enthusiasts a variety of ecosystems more akin to coastal and maritime locales.  At the heart of the scenic island is Hecla Village, an Icelandic settlement, which keeps much of it’s historic charm.  Aside from being a tourist destination, the village maintains a working fish station.

Lake Winnipeg shoreline and Hecla Village Fish Station

Rocky Lake Winnipeg shoreline

Hecla Village

The island was originally accessible only by ferry, but modern times required the building of a causeway.  The causeway bisects Grassy Narrows Marsh.  A terrific area for hiking and wildlife viewing, particularly bird watching, but moose, deer, beavers and other mammals are common.

American White Pelicans in flight, my personal favorite.  Since you don’t require a massive 600 mm birding lens to get a decent shot.

Approaching the wildlife viewing blind that overlooks Lake Winnipeg and an airborne Canada goose.

Hiking the marsh boardwalk in early spring

Marsh sunset

Gull Harbour on the east side of the island, a quite little marina and a nice spot to grab lunch.  For an upscale stay, Hecla Oasis Resort is a truly world class spa resort and conference center, with a golf course to match.

The original Gull Harbour Lighthouse still stands, replaced with a modern steel structure.  A short hike from the resort or marina.

Boat wreck on Lake Winnipeg

Hecla Island is still largely untouched and has not been overly commercialized, aside from he resort only a few places exist to get food, gas or groceries, so plan accordingly.  But it’s only a 2 hour drive north of Winnipeg, Canada and offers a great deal of diversity in a fairly small island.

Icelandic signpost, after all ‘Hecla’ refers to ‘Hekla’ the name of an Icelandic volcano.

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