Cascading water, NPS photo, J. GieseWaterton River, NPS photo, David RestivoRelection Lake McDonald, NPS photo, David Restivo

Water plays a critical role in the social, economic, environmental, and political mosaic of the Crown of the Continent ecosystem. Many vital resources such as geological formations, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, and human cultural and recreational dimensions are closely tied to water resources.

Yet another unique feature that defines the Crown of the Continent is Triple Divide Peak, where water drains into three different major watersheds. Worldwide, there are roughly six locations where triple divides meet. This distinction is why Triple Divide Peak is often referred to as the headwaters of North America.

The protection, conservation, and preservation of water resources within the Crown’s ecosystem are supported by legislation on the federal and state level. It is the policy of the National Park Service to protect water resources as integral components of park aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The unknown impacts from threats such as climate change can make proper management of precious water resources within the Crown even more complex and challenging, adding to the importance of ongoing water monitoring efforts.