Waterton Lakes National Park (established 1895, 505 km2
) is situated in the southwestern corner of Alberta on the Canada-US border. In 1932, this park was united with Montana's Glacier National Park to create the world's first international peace park. In 1995 the 2 areas were declared a WORLD HERITAGE SITE
based on the exceptionally rich plant and mammal diversity, and on the outstanding glacial and alpine scenery.
The setting is spectacular. In less than a kilometre, the dry rolling hills of the prairies soar to icy peaks nearly 3000 m high. The 3 Waterton Lakes, nestling between 2 mountain ranges, are over 150 m deep, the deepest in the Rockies. Because the park embraces both prairie and mountain, there is a great variety of plant and animal life.
PRONGHORN and coyote roam the grasslands; mountain goat, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear and marmot frequent alpine meadows and barren ridgetops.
The area, once a BLACKFOOT
stronghold, was first visited by Europeans in 1858 when Thomas BLAKISTON
explored the area. He named the Waterton Lakes after a British naturalist. In the early 1900s Alberta's first oil well was drilled near Cameron Creek at OIL CITY
The park provides facilities for tent, recreational-vehicle and primitive camping in all seasons, and has numerous trails. Four scenic parkways provide vehicle access to the interior of the park.
See also BIOSPHERE RESERVES.
Waterton Lakes National Park
Carthew Summit, Waterton Lakes National Park, looking south from Carthew Summit over sub alpine, spruce-fir forests and lush meadows (courtesy Cottonwood Consultants Ltd/photo by Cliff Wallace)
In Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta (photo by James Marsh).
John George Brown, policeman, prospector
"Kootenai" Brown early foresaw the need to preserve the Waterton, Alberta area and campaigned strenuously on its behalf (courtesy Glenbow Museum).
MAXWELL W. FINKELSTEIN
Links to Other Sites
Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada
This illustrated Parks Canada website describes the ecology, geography, and history of Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada
Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association
CBRA/ACRB is a non-profit association dedicated to developing and maintaining biosphere reserves throughout Canada. Check out the detailed guides to Canadian biosphere reserves and news about current projects.
Waterton Lakes National Park
A vistors guide to Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta's Rocky Mountains. Includes a history of the park, scenic photos and videos, community information, and more.
“Kootenai” Brown in the Red River Valley
A biography of frontiersman John George ‘Kootenai’ Brown, who became the first Park Superintendent of Waterton Lakes National Park. From the website for the Manitoba Historical Society.
National Parks Project
A close-up virtual tour of Canada's superb National Parks. Based on the National Parks Project TV series at Discovery World HD online.