National parks in canada:
Banff national park is one of the oldest national parks in Canada, the national park was established in the year 1885, it is located 120 kilometers from Calgary and it covers an area of 6,641 kilometers squared. The national park has mountainous terrains, glaciers, ice fields, dense forest and alpine landscapes. The park is accessible by both rail transport and road transport with accommodation and restaurant services offered by Banff spring hotel and Chateau spring Loise hotel.
Banff National Park is the most visited park in the world with approximately three million visitors recorded in the year 2004 to 2005. This is attributed by the landscape and wildlife in the park, the wildlife in the park include Grizzly, Black Beers, mountain goats, wolves, Lynx, weasel, Beaver Porcupine and many others, tourist also have the opportunity to enjoy hot springs and view glaciers in the national park.
Activities in the national park:
The main attraction in the Banff national park include hot springs, golf course at the Fairmont hotel, ski resorts including the Mount Norquay resort and Louise lake resort, day hikes especially the Cory pass loop, horse riding, camping, and mountain climbing. These activities offered in the park have attracted many tourist in the national park and for these reason the park record over 3 million visitors each year.
The national park was established in the year 1885, the special aspect of this national park is that archeological evidence have shown that the aboriginal tribe lived in the area 10,300 years ago they include the Kainai, Peigans and Stoneys who were hunters.
The railway line was built in the year 1875 and passes the area and therefore the national park is accessible by both road and railway, in the year 1887 a part of the national park was established to mine coal but this area was shut down in the year 1904 due to environmental issues.
Another notable historical event with the national park is that it was a camp during world war one, migrants from Germany and Hungary were sent into camps near Castle Mountain and during winter they were transferred to basin and cave area.
The history of these park which include camps during world war two and the mines that previously existed in the area have attracted many tourist who come to view these sites, the park’s mountains are said to have been formed before the Jurassic era and also that human activity can be dated back to 10,300 years ago according to anthropological findings.
In the recent past there has been privatization of some sections of the park, an example of these is the golf course whereby some corrections are obtained, these is a good thing because more funds are now available for environmental preservation in the national park and also an increase in efficient management of the national park.
The park experiences the highest number of tourist in the world, tourists all over the world visit the park due to the presence of wildlife, hot springs, glaciers, activities, sceneries, lakes, ice fields, sedimentary rocks and the historical background of the park. Below is the description of these attraction sites.
The national park has a wide range of wildlife which includes birds and animals, wildlife in the park include Black Beers, mountain goats, wolves, Lynx, weasel, Beaver Porcupine, Bighorn sheep, Chipmunks, birds include Loons, Herons, three toed wood pecker, Golden eagle Falcon, Red tailed Hawk and Merlin.
The wide variety of wildlife in the national park has attracted many visitors all over the world, some species present in this national park are near extinct and the only place they exist is in this national park example the Banff long nose dace, therefore the national park is a place where most tourist prefer to visit due to this added advantages of viewing wildlife and at the same time involving themselves in other activities such as mountain climbing and hiking.
The national park has many lakes but among the them are the Lake Louise and Lake Moraine which are in the park, Lake Louise is a lake that is located 54 kilometers west of Banff town, Lake Moraine provides a good scenery whereby one can view the valley of ten picks. The historical significance of Lake Louise is that a scene of the lake was pictured on the twenty dollar Canadian bank note of the 1970’s.
Hot springs and Glaciers:
Hot springs are also a center of attraction in the whereby the national park has several hot springs which are major attraction to tourist, there also exist some Glaciers in the national park which also attract tourist in the park.
The park has an ice field which is 230 kilometers long, the ice fields originates from the lake past Lake Hector and Lake Peyto to Saskatchewan crossing and at this point it converges with river Saskatchewan and Howse River. These ice fields are used as skiing fields by visitors contributing to the attraction of tourist into the national park.
Geology of Banff national park:
The national park has many mountainous peaks and ranges, these mountains and Banff ranges were formed approximately 120 million years ago and were formed as a result of thrust faults. Sedimentary rocks are present in the national park and they include sand stone, shale, quartzite and limestone. The variety of sedimentary rocks in the Banff national park has also contributed to the attraction of tourist into the national park.
Environmental concerns and conservation:
In 1979 the Canadian government established acts to protect parks in Canada; this led to the emergence of the Rocky Mountains park act that emphasized on environmental conservation. Further the national park act was established in the year 1988 which perceives the conservation of the ecosystem as a top priority.
However the privatization of many park services in late 1980’s has resulted to more environmental conservation as it has provided some revenue that helps preserve the present ecological balance of the national park.
Pine beetles are another major environmental concern in Banff national park, in the year 1940 they infected 43 square kilometers of alpine, such infections have resulted to an imbalance of the ecological balance in the national park.
Human activity has also contributed to the instability in ecological balance in the area, in the 1930 there was an extreme control of both wolves and coyotes, this resulted to a decline in the number of these wild animals in the area and in the year 2000 there were only 31 wolves in the park which is very compared to the original number.
The introduction of non native species into the national park has also impacted on the ecosystem, example the introduction of Elk, moose, Bull trout which are found in the national parks lakes, however the national park has the Banff long nose dace which is an extinct species that is only found in the Banff national park.
The Trans Canada highway has also affected the ecological balance of the area, vehicles traveling through the highway has hindered the migration of some wildlife animals and these has therefore affected the ecological balance of the area, Natural fires have also contributed to environmental degradation in the area, its however has been controlled through the introduction of fire control management.
The Canadian government has also established acts that help in the protection of the environment in the parks, these acts have helped preserve the environment and also at the same time improve the ecological balance of the national parks. The government has also introduced non native species in the national park which have helped in the maintenance of a stable environment.
The Banff national park is the oldest in the world yet the most visited national park in the world, this is because it has a wide range of activities and sceneries, the presence of glaciers and wildlife in these national park attracts many tourists each year, the national park is open all year round and records over three million visitors per year, apart from the sceneries and hot springs the park has some other activities including a 27 hole golf course, hiking, skiing, horse riding and mountain climbing.
The park also has some history whereby the formation of mountainous ranges can be dated back to 120 million years, the presence of the aboriginal tribes is also evident in the national back which dates back to 10,300 years ago, there has also been the presence of prison camps during world war one, all the above factors have led to the national park to be the leading park in the world in reference to the number of visitors and tourist each year.
The privatization of most of the parts of this park have resulted to more efficient management of the national park, privatization has led to more concern of the environment, the golf courses have led to more revenue correction and therefore environmental preservation measures are more likely to be undertaken in the national park.
Therefore the Banff national park is a place which one must visit to experience what other parks in Canada do not offer, the park has many attraction sites but if one has to go camping one has to attain a pass from the authorities for safety reasons.
Banff national park official website (2007) history, sceneries and wildlife, retrieved on 29th July, available at www.banff.com
Canadian Rockies (2007) the history of Banff national park, retrieved on 29th July, available at www.canadianrockies.net/banff/bnphist.html
Environmental education (2007) Banff national park environmental issues, retrieved on 29th July, available at www.ualberta.ca/~ersc/links.htm
Parks Canada (2007) Banff national park of Canada, retrieved on 29th July, available at www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/index_e.asp
The 43 places to visit (2007) Banff national park, retrieved on 29th July, available at www.43places.com/visit/Banff-National-Park-Alberta-Canada/140615
Banff national park
Oldest national park (1985)
Covers 6,641 square kilometers
120 km west of Calgary
· ice fields
· dense forests
Canadian pacific railway
Banff hotel and Chateau Louise hotel
Most visited in the world
Human activity 10,300 years ago
Railway built in 1875
In 1916 accessible by road
1887 coal mining, terminated in 1904
Ice field 230 km
· pine beetles
· human on wolves
· non native species
· highway endanger wildlife
· natural fire control
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