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Photo of a canoe expedition

Photo: Northern Images by Wayne Sawchuck

Dense stands of spruce and fir trees are one defining image of the boreal forest; this region's waters are another. Some 20 percent of the boreal's surface area is wet, ranging from great rivers to expansive lakes to innumerable streams, wetlands, fens and marshes. It's estimated that Canada's boreal forest contains 1.5 million lakes.

Millions of visitors come to the cold, clear waters of the boreal each summer for a canoe expedition, fishing trip, or sojourn at the family lakeside cabin. A stillness like no other can be found in these places, broken occasionally by wildlife -- the cries of bald eagles and loons; a lake trout's splash or the much louder one of a moose browsing in the shallows -- and by the wind stirring the trees.

last revised 7/20/2004

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