Waterton Lakes National Park

Last updated
Waterton Lakes National Park
IUCN category II (national park)
Upper Waterton Lake
Relief map of Canada.png
Red pog.svg
Waterton Lakes National Park Location
Location Alberta, Canada
Nearest city Pincher Creek
Coordinates 49°02′45″N113°54′55″W / 49.04583°N 113.91528°W / 49.04583; -113.91528 Coordinates: 49°02′45″N113°54′55″W / 49.04583°N 113.91528°W / 49.04583; -113.91528
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 site 354
Improvement District No. 4
Improvement district
AB locator ID NO 4 (WATERTON).svg
Location within Alberta
Coordinates: 49°02′45″N113°54′55″W / 49.04583°N 113.91528°W / 49.04583; -113.91528
CountryFlag of Canada (Pantone).svg  Canada
Province Flag of Alberta.svg  Alberta
Region Southern Alberta
Census division No. 3
  Governing bodyI.D. 4 Council
  ChairBrian Reeves
  CAOJ. Scott Barton
 (2016) [3]
  Land485.66 km2 (187.51 sq mi)
 (2016) [3]
  Density0.2/km2 (0.5/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-7 (MST)
  Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
Postal code
Area code(s) 403, 587
Website Parks Canada

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.

National park Park used for conservation purposes of animal life and plants

A national park is a park in use for conservation purposes. Often it is a reserve of natural, semi-natural, or developed land that a sovereign state declares or owns. Although individual nations designate their own national parks differently, there is a common idea: the conservation of 'wild nature' for posterity and as a symbol of national pride.

Alberta Province of Canada

Alberta is a province of Canada. With an estimated population of 4,067,175 as of 2016 census, it is Canada's fourth most populous province and the most populous of Canada's three prairie provinces. Its area is about 660,000 square kilometres (250,000 sq mi). Alberta and its neighbour Saskatchewan were districts of the Northwest Territories until they were established as provinces on September 1, 1905. The premier is Jason Kenney as of April 30, 2019.

Glacier National Park (U.S.) national park located in the U.S. state of Montana

Glacier National Park is an American national park located in northwestern Montana, on the Canada–United States border, adjacent to the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. The park encompasses over 1 million acres (4,000 km2) and includes parts of two mountain ranges, over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 different species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals. This vast pristine ecosystem is the centerpiece of what has been referred to as the "Crown of the Continent Ecosystem," a region of protected land encompassing 16,000 square miles (41,000 km2).


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]

Parks Canada Agency of the Government of Canada that administers parks

Parks Canada, officially called the Parks Canada Agency, is an agency of the Government of Canada run by a chief executive who answers to the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Parks Canada is mandated to "protect and present nationally significant examples of Canada's natural and cultural heritage, and foster public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment in ways that ensure their ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations". Parks Canada manages 38 National Parks, three National Marine Conservation Areas, 171 National Historic Sites, one National Urban Park, and one National Landmark. The agency also administers lands and waters set aside as potential national parklands, including eight National Park Reserves and one National Marine Conservation Area Reserve. More than 450,000 km2 (170,000 sq mi) of lands and waters in national parks and national marine conservation areas has been set aside for such purposes. The Canadian Register of Historic Places is supported and managed by Parks Canada, in collaboration with provincial and territorial governments and other federal bodies. The agency is also the working arm of the national Historic Sites and Monuments Board, which recommends National Historic Sites, Events, and Persons.

Waterton Park Hamlet in Alberta, Canada

Waterton Park, commonly referred to as Waterton, is a hamlet in southwestern Alberta, Canada within Improvement District No. 4 Waterton.

Mount Blakiston Mountain in Waterton Lakes NP, Canada

Mount Blakiston is a mountain in the southwestern corner of Alberta, Canada and the highest point within Waterton Lakes National Park. The mountain is situated in the Clark Range, north of Lineham Creek and south of Blakiston Creek. Blakiston's closest neighbours include Mount Hawkins 2,685 m (8,809 ft) directly to the west along a connecting ridge and Mount Lineham 2,728 m (8,950 ft) to the south.

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.

The National Parks Project is a Canadian music and film project. Released in 2011 to mark the 100th anniversary of the creation of the National Parks of Canada system, the project sent three Canadian musicians and a filmmaker to each of 13 Canadian national parks, one in each province and territory, to create and score a short documentary film about the park.

Peter Lynch is a Canadian filmmaker, the director and writer of Project Grizzly and Cyberman. "His characters, some real and some fictional, have been punk rockers, cyborgs, inventors, Northern adventurers and artistic dreamers. Audiences worldwide have responded to his work both critically and popularly."

Cadence Weapon Canadian musician

Roland "Rollie" Pemberton, better known by his stage name Cadence Weapon, is a Canadian rapper. Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Pemberton released his first album, Breaking Kayfabe, in 2005 to positive reviews. He subsequently signed with the American record label ANTI-, releasing the albums Afterparty Babies in 2008 and Hope in Dirt City in 2012. In 2009, Cadence Weapon was named Edmonton's Poet Laureate. His first book Magnetic Days was published by Metatron in 2014.


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.

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park international park

The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is the union of the Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and the Glacier National Park in the United States. Both parks are declared Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO and their union as a World Heritage Site.

Sir Charles Arthur Mander, 2nd Baronet JP, DL, TD was a public servant, philanthropist, and manufacturer, as managing director of Mander Brothers, the family paint, varnish and inks business established in 1773.

Rotary International international non-profit service organization

Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a non-political and non-religious organization open to all people regardless of race, color, religion, gender, or political preference. There are 35,000+ member clubs worldwide, and 1.2 million individuals, known as Rotarians, have joined.

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]


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.

Wolverine Species of the family Mustelidae

The wolverine, Gulo gulo, also referred to as the glutton, carcajou, skunk bear, or quickhatch, is the largest land-dwelling species of the family Mustelidae. It is a stocky and muscular carnivore, more closely resembling a small bear than other mustelids. A solitary animal, it has a reputation for ferocity and strength out of proportion to its size, with the documented ability to kill prey many times larger than itself.

Bighorn sheep species of sheep native to North America

The bighorn sheep is a species of sheep native to North America. The species is named for its large horns. A pair of horns might weigh up to 14 kg (30 lb); the sheep weigh up to 140 kg (300 lb). Recent genetic testing indicates three distinct subspecies of Ovis canadensis, one of which is endangered: O. c. sierrae. Sheep originally crossed to North America over the Bering land bridge from Siberia; the population in North America peaked in the millions, and the bighorn sheep entered into the mythology of Native Americans. By 1900, the population had crashed to several thousand, due to diseases introduced through European livestock and overhunting.

Bald eagle A bird of prey from North America

The bald eagle is a bird of prey found in North America. A sea eagle, it has two known subspecies and forms a species pair with the white-tailed eagle. Its range includes most of Canada and Alaska, all of the contiguous United States, and northern Mexico. It is found near large bodies of open water with an abundant food supply and old-growth trees for nesting.


Climate data for Waterton Park Gate, Alberta, Canada
Average high °C (°F)−1.9
Average low °C (°F)−13.3
Average snowfall cm (inches)33
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

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Crypt Lake Trail lake in Alberta, Canada

The Crypt Lake Trail is one of the premium hikes in Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is accessed by a dedicated ferry service operating from the Waterton Park Townsite.

Riding Mountain National Park

Riding Mountain National Park is a national park in Manitoba, Canada. The park sits atop the Manitoba Escarpment. Consisting of a protected area 2,969 km2 (1,146 sq mi), the forested parkland stands in sharp contrast to the surrounding prairie farmland. It was designated a national park because it protects three different ecosystems that converge in the area; grasslands, upland boreal and eastern deciduous forests. It is most easily reached by Highway 10 which passes through the park. The south entrance is at the townsite of Wasagaming, which is the only commercial centre within the park boundaries.

Prince of Wales Hotel building in Alberta, Canada

The Prince of Wales Hotel is a historic hotel located in Waterton, Alberta, Canada. The hotel is situated within Waterton Lakes National Park, overlooking Upper Waterton Lakes. The Prince of Wales Hotel was designed by, and was built for the Great Northern Railway company. The hotel is presently managed by the Glacier Park Company.

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Goat Haunt

Goat Haunt is a region of Glacier National Park in Montana, United States. Goat Haunt is located at the head of Waterton lake which is fed by the Waterton River. The headwaters for the Waterton River are located South of Goat Haunt Ranger Station at unnamed lakes located slightly higher than Nashukin Lake. The Goat Haunt area shares Waterton Lake with Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. This area is important for reinforcing the international nature of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. It also provides hiking trails that connect the United States and Canada. The region provides wildlife habitats on both sides of the border. As a largely unspoiled natural area, visitors experience an area with few facilities or amenities, but with historical importance including Waterton Townsite and mountain passes used by American Indians.

Tourism in Alberta

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Waterton Lake Lake on the boarder of Glacier County, Montana, USA and Canada

Waterton Lake is a mountain lake in southern Alberta, Canada and northern Montana, United States. The lake is composed of two bodies of water, connected by a shallow channel known locally as the Bosporus. The two parts are referred to as Middle Waterton Lake, and Upper Waterton Lake, the latter of which is divided by the Canada–United States border with Canada having about two thirds of the lake while the United States has the Southern third. The United States Geological Survey gives the geocoordinates of 49°03′00″N113°54′03″W for Upper Waterton Lake. There is also Lower Waterton Lake which is located to the north of Middle Waterton Lake, it is separated by a channel known as the Dardanelles.

The Glacier Park Company, a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway (GN), constructed and operated hotels, chalets, and other visitor facilities in Glacier National Park, Montana and Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta from the 1910s through 1960. Operating as a concessionaire of the National Park Service, the company operated from a summer base in East Glacier Park, Montana, near the company's flagship Glacier Park Hotel; winter headquarters were in St. Paul, Minnesota. Originally known as the Glacier Park Hotel Company, the corporate name was shortened to Glacier Park Company in 1943.

Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve

Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve (RMBR) is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1986 as part of its Man and the Biosphere Programme. The RMBR, which encompasses Riding Mountain National Park and twelve surrounding municipalities in the province of Manitoba, is one of 16 Biosphere Reserves in Canada. Ecologically sensitive ecosystems include the grasslands, deciduous forest and boreal forest. Although grasslands occupy only 7,400 of the total 1,331,800 hectares, they are considered of national importance since they exist as discrete units and the rare climax rough fescue community represents the eastern extent of its range. The Biosphere Reserve extends the protection of these ecosystems outside of park boundaries. Municipalities in the Riding Mountain Biosphere Reserve include Clanwilliam – Erickson, Dauphin, Gilbert Plains, Grandview, Harrison Park, Lakeshore, McCreary, Rosedale, St. Rose, Riding Mountain West, Rossburn, and Yellowhead. First Nations in the Biosphere Reserve include Rolling River First Nation, Keeseekoowenin First Nation, Waywayseecappo First Nation, and Tootinaowaziibeeng First Nation. Asessippi Provincial Park and Duck Mountain Provincial Forest also border the Biosphere Reserve.

Waterton Biosphere Reserve Biosphere reserve in Canada | designated in 1979

Waterton Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve encompassing Waterton Lakes National Park in the extreme south-west of the Province of Alberta, Canada. The reserve includes a section of the east slopes of the Rocky Mountains extending from the Continental Divide to the edge of the Canadian Great Plains to the east. The Glacier Biosphere Reserve and National Park in Montana, USA is located to the south of the area. The reserve is administered by Waterton Lakes National Park and the Waterton Biosphere Association.

Castle Provincial Park Provincial park in Alberta, Canada

Castle Provincial Park is a provincial park in southern Alberta, Canada. It is located within the Municipal District of Pincher Creek No. 9 south of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, northwest of Waterton Lakes National Park and west of the Town of Pincher Creek. It shares a boundary with Castle Wildland Provincial Park to the west and south.

Northland Lodge

Northland Lodge is a guesthouse located in the lakeside town of Waterton, Canada within Waterton Lakes National Park and Improvement District No. 4 of the province of Alberta.


  1. 1 2 "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. 1 2 "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