Landscape of the Banff area.
The Banff National Park is situated entirely within the ecological region of forested mountains north-west It is also entirely within the ecoregion level II of the Western Cordillera and the ecoregion level III of the Canadian Rockies
The Banff National Park has three terraces: montane, subalpine and alpine. The montane zone, which comprises 3% of the park is located between 1 350 and 1 500 m. The dryland forests are primarily composed of Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) of Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides) of lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), all accompanied by grasses The wettest areas are composed of white spruce (Picea glauca), of balsam poplar (Populus balsamifera) and near shrubs The areas of the montane, which tend to be the preferred habitat of wildlife, have undergone a major expansion of human activities over the years.
The subalpine zone, consisting mainly of dense forests, comprised 53% of the Banff area. It is divided into two levels or the lower subalpine and upper subalpine. The forests of Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii) and lodgepole pine and subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa) up the lower part which is located between 1 500 and 2 000 m. The upper part (between 2 000 and 2 300 m) is, in turn, composed of Englemann spruce, subalpine fir and is dotted with meadows of dwarf shrubs in the avalanche The park is sometimes infested by mountain pine beetle epidemic, a native insect of the Rockies, which attacks the old lodgepole pines. The park conducts prescribed burns in order to reduce the spread of infection and regenerate pine
44% of the park is situated above the tree line (located approximately 2 300 m altitude) in the alpine zone This floor has some alpine meadows, but bare rock, snow and glaciers.
Pika American (Ochotona princeps).
Bear in Banff National Park.
The animals representing the park are the elk (Cervus canadensis), the moose (Alces alces), the Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus), the Bighorn Sheep (Ovis canadensis), the Black Bear (Ursus americanus), the Grizzly ( horibilis Ursus arctos) and caribou (Rangifer tarandus). 56 species of mammals have been identified in the park. Grizzly and black bear living in forested areas. The cougar (Puma concolor), the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis), Wolverine (Gulo gulo), the weasel (Mustela sp.), The river otter (Lontra canadensis) and wolf (Canis lupus) are the main mammalian predators. Elk, mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) and White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are common in the valleys of the park, including around (and sometimes within) the town of Banff, while moose tend to be more discreet, staying mainly in wetlands and near streams.
The Mountain Goat, Bighorn Sheep on the Hoary Marmot (Marmota caligata) and the American Pika (Ochotona princeps) are widespread in the alpine. The Canadian Beaver (Castor canadensis), porcupine America (North American Porcupine), the red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), the Least Chipmunk (Tamias minimus) and take Tamia (Tamias amoenus) are small mammals more commonly observed In 2005, only 5 caribou have been identified in the park, making it one of the species of the rarest mammals in the park
Due to the harsh winters, few reptiles and of amphibians live in the park. Only one species of toad, three species of frogs, one species of salamander and two species of snakes have been identified
At least 280 species of birds are found in Banff, including predators such as bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), the Osprey (Pandion haliaetus), and various species of hawks, including the Merlin (Falco columbarius). Common species as the Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis), the Three-toed Woodpecker (Picoides dorsalis), the Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides), the Clark's Nutcracker (Nucifraga columbiana), the Mountain Chickadee (Poecile gambeli) and the Water Pipit (Anthus spinoletta) frequently occur in lowland areas. The White-tailed Ptarmigan (Lagopus leucura) is a bird feeding ground that is often seen in alpine areas. Rivers and lakes are frequented by hundreds of different species, among which are the common loon (Gavia immer), the Heron and Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) who spend the summer in the park
A variety of snail, the snail Banff Springs (Physella johnsoni), which is found only in seven hot springs of Banff is reported among the species threatened with extinction The woodland caribou, found in Banff, and grizzly bears have a status of vulnerable species.
View of a street of Banff.
The town of Banff, founded in 1883, is the main commercial center of Banff National Park and a center of cultural activities. Banff is home to several cultural institutions including the National Historic Site Banff Park Museum, the Whyte Museum, the Luxton Museum, the cultural heart of Banff National Historic Site Cave and Basin and several art galleries. Throughout its history, Banff has hosted many annual events including the Banff Indian Days since 1889 and the Winter Carnival Banff since 1976. Since that year, the Cultural Center is organizing the Film Festival Banff Mountain. River Bow through the city and the spectacle of Bow Falls at the edge of town.
In 1990 the town of Banff itself into a municipal corporation in Alberta but is still subject to the law on national parks and federal authorities regarding the planning and development According to the 2007 census, the town of Banff has a population of 8 720 inhabitants, nearly 7 437 are permanent residents
Lake Louise, a village 54 km west of Banff, is the site of the historic Chateau Lake Louise on the shores of Lake Louise. The ski resort Lake Louise is also located near the village. Located 15 km from Lake Louise, Moraine Lake offers a panoramic view of the Valley of Ten Peaks. This scene is reproduced on the back of Canadian bank notes of $ 20 for years 1969-1979 (Series Scenes of Canada ").
The Banff National Park is moving in a particular climate, which preclude ever need conservation interests and development. James Hector of the Palliser expedition in 1859 was the first to report these hot springs that later served as a pretext for creation of the park. In 1883, they were rediscovered by three men working for the railway Canadian Pacific. These, and other applicants, then the competing rights of ownership of sources. A survey of court and government following the Government of Canada, led by Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, decides to turn aside the 26 km 2 which includes all thermal mineral springs.
So to address these tensions that Prime Minister Macdonald erected around the site a small protected area, later extended to parts of Lake Louise and Columbia Icefield. The Icefield covers an area of 325 km 2, consists of thirty separate glaciers and its meltwater feeds the river systems of the North Saskatchewan River and Athabasca, and rivers Columbia and Fraser is well cast in the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic and Arctic.
Archaeological research conducted around Lake Vermilion date the first human activities in Banff to 10 300 BP (-8 300 year) Indeed, long before the arrival of Europeans, indigenous peoples such as Stoney, Kootenay, Tsuu T'ina, Kainai, Peigan, or Siksika, already live in the region, particularly where they practice hunting bison and d other game
Once the British Columbia sold in Canada on 20 July 1871, the authorities give green light for the construction of a transcontinental railroad, which began four years later, in 1875. Col du Cheval-Street which is chosen at the expense of the Yellow Head Pass further north, as the crossing point of the chain of the Rockies. Ten years later, the last section is laid at Craigellachie, British Columbia