Banff National Park


July 6, 2022

Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park. It was established in 1885 in the Canadian part of the Rocky Mountains. The park, located 110-180 km from Calgary in the province of Alberta, covers an area of ​​6641 km² of mountain terrain with numerous glaciers, dense coniferous forests and mountain landscapes. Icefields Parkway stretches from Lake Louise in the south, connecting to Jasper National Park in the north. Publicly owned forests and Yoho National Park are neighbors to the west, while Kootenay National Park is to the south and Kananaskis Country to the southeast. Most of the commercial activity in the park is in the town of Banff, in the Bow River Valley. The Canadian Pacific Railway was very important to Banff in the early years, when they built both the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise, attracting tourists to the site through extensive advertising. At the beginning of the 20th century, roads were built in Banff, some were built by war prisoners, and some with the help of public work programs that were started during the Great Depression. Since the 1960s, the accommodation in the park has been open all year round, and the number of guest nights in Banff increased to over 5 million in the 1990s. Even more people pass through the park on the Trans-Canada Highway. Since Banff is one of the most visited national parks in the world, the park's ecosystem is threatened. In the mid-1990s, Parks Canada launched a study that led to recommendations for the management of the park and new principles aimed at preserving ecological diversity.


Throughout its history, Banff National Park has been shaped by the field of tension between conservation and development interests. The park was established in 1885 due to a dispute over who had discovered the hot springs there, and who had the right to exploit the hot springs commercially. Instead, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald made sure to conserve the hot springs in a small conservation area, which was later expanded to include Lake Louise and other areas that extended north to Columbia Icefield.

Early history

Archaeological finds made at Vermilion Lakes date using radiocarbon the first human activity in Banff to 10300 BC. Before the arrival of Europeans, Indigenous Canadians, including Stoneys, Kootenay, Tsuu T'ina, Kainai, Peigans, and Siksika, lived in the region where they hunted bison and other game. When British Columbia became part of Canada on July 20, 1871, Canada undertook to build a transcontinental railway. Construction of the railroad began in 1875, when the Kicking Horse Pass, over the northern Yellowhead Pass, was chosen for the route through the Canadian Rockies. Ten years later, the last rail nail was knocked down in Craigellachie (British Columbia).

Rocky Mountains Park is established

Against the background of the controversy over the discovery of the hot springs in Banff, Prime Minister John A. Macdonald decided to protect an area of ​​26 km² around the hot springs at Cave and Basin as a public park known as the Banff Hot Springs Reserve in 1885. Da Rocky The Mountains Park Act was passed on June 23, 1887, the park was expanded to 674 km² and was named Rocky Mountains Park. This was Canada's first national park, and the second to be established in North America, after Yellowstone National Park. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company built the Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise to attract tourists to the area and to increase the number of passengers on the railroad. The Stoney or Assiniboine Indians were forcibly relocated from Banff National Park in the period 1890-1920. The park was intended to appeal to outdoor enthusiasts and tourists. Public officials believed that the decline in wildlife in the park was due to the Indians hunting for matauk. The policy of removing the Indians from the area satisfied both the goals of sports hunting, tourism and wildlife conservation, as well as the desires of some to "civilize" the Indians. In early times, Banff was popular among affluent European tu