Waterton Lakes National Park
Where the Mountains Meet the Prairie
Waterton Lakes National Park is a meeting place for people and nature, resulting in a storied history and a richly diverse landscape. Established in 1895 in response to local citizen action, it’s a place that inspires friendship and respect between nations, among people, and with all of nature. In 1932, the park was joined with Glacier National Park in the United States to form the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park – the world’s first. In 1995, the Peace Park became a World Heritage Site because of its significant ecological, scenic and cultural values.
Waterton sits at one of the narrowest places in the Rocky Mountains, making the park and its surrounding region a crucial north-south wildlife corridor. Natural features, from old-growth forests to wind-swept prairies, flowing rivers to deep lakes, meet and and mingle in a landscape shaped by wind, fire, flooding and abundant plants and wildlife.
The park has four ecoregions – foothills parkland, montane, subalpine, and alpine. Waterton is the only Canadian national park preserving the fescue grasslands and aspen groves of the foothills parkland. Over 1000 plants species are concentrated into this small park. This diverse vegetation provides homes for many animals, including more than 265 kinds of birds, 62 species of mammals, 20 fish species, 10 different reptiles and amphibians, and thousands of tiny insects and invertebrates. The park alone does not provide enough habitat for wide-ranging wildlife such as grizzly, cougar and wolf, whose survival depends on habitat preservation in the landscape that surrounds the park.