The Beauty of Waterton Lakes

By Lyndon Penner, Galt Museum and Archives Presenter

In 1895 Waterton Lakes National Park was established as Canada’s fourth national park. Exactly 100 years later it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For well over a century now, Waterton has been calling to biologists, environmentalists, photographers, wildflower enthusiasts, and birdwatchers with its dramatic peaks, stunning meadows, and mysterious blue waters. Waterton invites contemplation and reflection; those who know this place well will also tell you that inspires a deep and solemn devotion.

What is it about Waterton that calls people back year after year, and continues to inspire and call to new people? Perhaps it is a sense that in a world that often moves too fast and too brightly, Waterton invites the viewer to slow down and take their time; to not rush about but to instead be gradual and deliberate. Waterton offers a respite from a world that moves on schedules and dayplanners and compels us instead to see seasons and centuries instead of calendars and weekdays.

Waterton is the most botanically diverse region in all of Alberta and indeed one of the most biologically diverse areas of the country. Many plants that are found here are not found elsewhere in the Canadian Rockies, and many of these plant communities that exist maintain a fragile balance that took centuries or longer to develop. This is a place to be reminded why we chose to preserve national parks in the first place, and to experience the wildness and beauty.

Make a day of at Waterton Lakes National Park on Sat JUN 17 with the Galt Museum’s Waterton Wildflowers Get Outta Town Bus Tours presented with Red Arrow. The tour runs from 8am-6pm. The registration fee is $100 +GST. To register please call 403.320-3954 by JUN 10. The tour includes interpretive information en route to Waterton National Park and two fabulous flower-focused tours at the Waterton Wildflowers Festival led by expert guides, including Brenda Holder and Lyndon Penner.