Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park is a national park located in the southwest corner of Alberta, Canada. It borders Glacier National Park in Montana, United States. Waterton was the fourth Canadian national park, formed in 1895 and named after Waterton Lake, in turn after the Victorian naturalist and conservationist Charles Waterton. Its range is between the Rocky Mountains and prairies. This park contains 505 km2 (195 sq mi) of rugged mountains and wilderness.

Waterton Lakes National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Upper Waterton Lake
Waterton Lakes National Park Location
LocationAlberta, Canada
Nearest cityPincher Creek
Coordinates49°02′45″N 113°54′55″W
Area505 km2 (195 sq mi)
Established1895 (national park)
1979 (biosphere reserve)
1995 (world heritage site)
Visitors402,542 (in 2012/13[1])
Governing bodyI.D. Council, Parks Canada
World Heritage site354
Improvement District No. 4
Improvement district
Location within Alberta
Coordinates: 49°02′45″N 113°54′55″W
Country Canada
Province Alberta
RegionSouthern Alberta
Census divisionNo. 3
Government
  Governing bodyI.D. 4 Council
  ChairBrian Reeves
  CAOJ. Scott Barton
Area
 (2016)[3]
  Land485.66 km2 (187.51 sq mi)
Population
 (2016)[3]
  Total105
  Density0.2/km2 (0.5/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC-7 (MST)
  Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
Postal code
T0K 2M0
Area code(s)403, 587
WebsiteParks Canada

Operated by Parks Canada, Waterton is open all year, but the main tourist season is during July and August. The only commercial facilities available within the park are located at the Waterton Park townsite. This park ranges in elevation from 1,290 metres (4,232 ft) at the townsite to 2,910 m (9,547 ft) at Mount Blakiston. It offers many scenic trails, including Crypt Lake trail. In 2012/2013, Waterton Lakes National Park had 402,542 visitors.[1]

The park was the subject of a short film in 2011's National Parks Project, directed by Peter Lynch and scored by Cadence Weapon, Laura Barrett and Mark Hamilton.

History

In 1932, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was formed from Waterton and Glacier. It was dedicated to world peace by Sir Charles Arthur Mander on behalf of Rotary International. Although this park has a lot of diversity for its size, the main highlight is the lakes which are deeper than any other lake elsewhere in Canada. They are overlooked by the historic Prince of Wales Hotel National Historic Site.

In September 2017, a large forest fire forced the evacuation of the townsite and park. The fire burned through 200 km2 of the park, destroying the visitor centre, stables and other buildings. Some 80% of hiking trails were affected and several remained closed for the 2018 season.[4]

Fauna

Animals that inhabit this national park include wolverines, bighorn sheep, bald eagles, white-tailed deer, mule deer, mountain goats, elk, moose, foxes, timber wolves, bison, coyotes, beavers, river otters, cougars, lynxes, bobcats, snowshoe hares, pikas, hoary marmots, grizzly bears and black bears.

Climate

Climate data for Waterton Park Gate, Alberta, Canada
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −1.9
(28.6)
2.8
(37.0)
3.7
(38.7)
10
(50)
14.2
(57.6)
18.1
(64.6)
23.6
(74.5)
24.7
(76.5)
18.4
(65.1)
11.6
(52.9)
3.3
(37.9)
−0.5
(31.1)
10.7
(51.2)
Average low °C (°F) −13.3
(8.1)
−6.4
(20.5)
−7
(19)
−1.2
(29.8)
2.7
(36.9)
6.5
(43.7)
8
(46)
8.1
(46.6)
4.5
(40.1)
0.6
(33.1)
−5.5
(22.1)
−9.1
(15.6)
−1.0
(30.1)
Average snowfall cm (inches) 33
(13)
17
(6.7)
29
(11)
39
(15)
14
(5.5)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
10
(3.9)
12
(4.7)
35
(14)
27
(11)
216
(84.8)
Source: The Weather Network[5]

Biosphere Reserve

In 1979, Waterton and bordering Glacier National park in the US were designated as World Biosphere reserves, preserving mountains, prairie, lakes and freshwater wetlands ecosystems. Habitats represented in the parks' range include: prairie grasslands, aspen grove forests, alpine tundra/high meadows, lower subalpine forests, deciduous and coniferous forests.[6]

World Heritage Site

The park is part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, designated as World Heritage Site in 1995 for their distinctive climate, physiographic setting, mountain-prairie interface, and tri-ocean hydrographical divide. They are areas of significant scenic values with abundant and diverse flora and fauna.[7]

See also

References

  1. "Parks Canada Attendance 2007-08 to 2012-13" (PDF). Parks Canada. July 31, 2013. p. 2. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  2. "Municipal Officials Search". Alberta Municipal Affairs. September 22, 2017. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  3. "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data (Alberta)". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved February 8, 2017.
  4. "Ottawa spending $21M to help fire damaged Waterton Lakes National Park". Global News. 25 January 2019. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  5. "Waterton Park Weather". The Weather Network. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  6. UNESCO Archived 2006-10-09 at the Wayback Machine - Park description at UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve
  7. UNESCO - Park description at UNESCO World Heritage
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