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9 Coastal Wonders To See Now

Authors Heather Hansen and Kimberly Lisagor have traveled the world investigating coastal sites that are as stunning as they are endangered. Here, they share advice for planning an eco-sensitive trip―and how you can help.

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Hudson Bay, Canada
Photo: Mathias Breiter/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Stock

Hudson Bay, Canada

Why go? On the shores of Manitoba’s Hudson Bay, as sea ice breaks up, the region’s famous polar bears return to terra firma. Arctic foxes roam the coastline, and herds of caribou begin to migrate. Thousands of beluga whales congregate where the Churchill River empties into the inland sea.

Why care? On average, Hudson Bay’s ice is breaking up three to four weeks earlier than it did 30 years ago. One of the most visible signs of this shift is the sharp decline in the number of polar bears that live here. The early spring melt and later fall freeze destroy the ice platforms from which polar bears hunt ringed seals, their main food source.

Plan your trip: The town of Churchill is the starting point for trips into polar bear territory. The Churchill Northern Studies Center (churchillscience.ca) hosts “learning vacations” from February through November. Visit in fall to see the bears leave their summer lairs in search of newly frozen sea ice.

How to help: Check out Polar Bears International (polarbearsinternational.org/simple-steps) for smart advice on reducing our carbon footprints.

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