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National Parks of Alberta
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National Parks of Alberta
  Alberta Travel Tip

Jasper National Park ( group lodging information: 800- 473-8135)), 178 miles from Banff, is the largest park in the Canadian Rockies: 4200 sq. miles. Over three million international visitors a year come to see the bears, caribou, coyotes, wolves, wild cats and moose, and to go hiking, camping, biking, birding, canoeing, rafting, horseback riding, climbing and skiing.
Programs: Friends of Jasper National Park Association offer lectures on the park and historical walks through the town. Call Glenice Wilson, head co-ordinator (403-852-4767), to arrange special tours.
Highlights: Icefields Park is a must-see drive. (Columbia Icefield Snocoach Tours, 403-762-6735). Flanked by more than 100 glaciers, towering mountain peaks, sheer cliffs with waterfalls, and pristine rivers and lakes, this is one of the most scenic drives in the world. There are pullouts on route for photo taking, wildlife watching and short walks. Jasper Tramway (403-852-3093) is also a "peak" attraction and so is bathing in the sacred waters in the Hot Springs (403-866-3939).
Banff National Park (403-762-0270) encompasses more than 2500 square miles of spectacular Canadian Rocky Mountain landscape. Towering peaks, alpine meadows and cool canyons are home to bear, elk, deer, bighorn sheep and nearly 300 varieties of birds. Banff is a place where clients are happy to linger, happy to spend a night or two. Besides just enjoying the natural wonder, there is so much to do.
Highlights: Helicopter sightseeing (Alpine Helicopters-403-678-4802 Canadian Helicopters; (403-678-2207); Banff Centre (403-762-6100), where performers and artists train; the Natural History Museum (403-762-4747) features fossils and dinosaur bones; Minnewanka Tours (403-762-3473) has canoes and aluminum boats for rent as well as a two-hour cruise on Lake Minnewanka; and Brewster Rocky Mountain Adventures (403-762-5454) offers horseback riding.
Everyone likes to take back a momento from a speciality shop in Banff, where quality crafts, designer clothing, sweets, souvenirs and unique western wear are sold.
Some of the finest hotels are located in the Canadian Rockies.
"If we can't export the scenery we will import the tourists", said Cornelius Van Horne, Vice President of Canadian Pacific Railway, during the late 1800's referring to the beauty of Banff. Shortly after that, the Banff Springs Hotel (403-762-2211), the "finest hotel in North America" was constructed. Today the chain includes hotels in Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. All are happy to accommodate large groups.
Programs: Park naturalists conduct interpretive evening programs, listed at the Banff Visitor Information Centre (403-762-8421).
Events: June through August, Banff Arts Festival (800-413-8368 or 403-762-6300); June 7-13, Banff Television Festival (403-678-9260); June 20-2, Touring Tin, Show and Shine (403-762-1235); August 2-3, Heritage Days Folk Festival (406-678-2524).
Canada's Waterton National Park (403-859-2224) is part of the Glacier National Park in Montana. It is the first International Peace Park in the world, a land of high mountains, dense forest and prairie grasslands. Herds of elk and other wildlife live and feed on both sides of the border unrestricted by any political boundaries.
Programs: A free all-day guided hike from Canada to the U.S. is held Saturdays from June 28 to August 30. Return is by boat.
Highlights: Roads in the park travel to Cameron Lake, Red Rock Canyon and the Bison Paddock allowing you to enjoy the park's scenic features.
Lodging is available in the park from mid-May to September and can be arranged through Karl Bickmore ( 602-207- 6816), group tour coordinator at Glacier National Park in Montana.
Programs: An interpretive program is in progress mid-June to early September and includes conducted walks, fireside talks, slide and film presentations. Groups are welcome to use the interpretive services by making arrangements in advance with a park naturalist at 403-859-2224.

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