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Article Teaser: To get the inside track on wildlife viewing in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, which include the famous national parks of Banff and Jasper, all you'll need is an inquisitive mind. To start, let's get a quick lay of the land and consider the animals that populate certain areas, and then zoom in on particular trips from spring through fall that would suit an adventurer like you.

Keep reading below...

Find the Inside Track: Canadian Rocky Mountain Wildlife

Copyright (c) 2006-2017 Travel Alberta, All Rights Reserved
Written by:

To get the inside track on wildlife viewing in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, which include the famous national parks of Banff and Jasper, all you'll need is an inquisitive mind. To start, let's get a quick lay of the land and consider the animals that populate certain areas, and then zoom in on particular trips from spring through fall that would suit an adventurer like you. Alberta's mammoth park system is loaded with wildlife: 300 species of birds, 90 species of mammals, 50 species of fish and 1,700 species of plants. You'll find the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the other Alberta parks are an eco-tourism playground for all ages.


Seeing the Big Picture

You'll have access to vast tracts of wilderness. These parks began as sanctuaries for wildlife, so they're a natural for eco-tourism, particularly wildlife viewing and tracking. Alberta's five national and 66 provincial parks are home to bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, grizzly and black bears, bison, woodland caribou, wolves, foxes, various birds and Canada's national animal, the beaver. Banff, Jasper and Waterton National Parks are blessed with hiking paths and horse trails as well as luxury lodges that provide remarkable proximity to grizzly bears and wolves, which are two favorites for animal tracking.

In Alberta's north, Wood Buffalo National Park harbors the largest herd of wood bison more than 4,000 in the world, as well as being the only remaining nesting ground of the endangered whooping crane. Willmore Wilderness Park west of Hinton has more than 435 miles (700 kilometers) of hiking trails and wildlife. In the Kananaskis Country recreation area 63 miles (100 kilometers) west of Calgary, you'll find trails that will lead you to bighorn sheep and deer; in spring, summer and early fall, you can see grizzly bears. Less than an hour's drive from Edmonton, Elk Island National Park is home to more than 40 species of mammals, including bison, elk, moose, deer, beaver and coyote, all wandering freely in this 'safari-type' national park.


Getting Up Close and Personal

Outfitters in the Canadian Rocky Mountains offer impeccably tailored trips. Forays range from gentle sunset walks in wildflower meadows to rugged horseback expeditions through valleys and mountain passes that climb to spectacular peak views.

Warner Guiding and Outfitting Ltd. offers an Expedition Trip through the Spray Valley wildlife corridor. The trips are designed for people interested in the process of tracking and monitoring wildlife in the park, as they travel through the mountains. The valley was designated a carnivore conservation area more than 10 years ago. Working with National Parks Canada, this outfitter is making available a limited number of research trips through this area. You can work with wildlife researchers to document the behavior of bears and wolves. Each group is accompanied by a National Parks Canada researcher.


The Grizzly and the Wolf

You'll have your choice of wildlife tours in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Want grizzlies? The Six-Day Year of the Grizzly Trip is a horseback trip. It focuses on the history, habitat and future of the grizzly bear. Dr. Mike Gibeau, a former park warden, is the trip's lead biologist. Favor wolves? Paws In The Wilderness is a five-day tent trip. It's for people interested in the wolf population of Banff National Park. Wildlife biologist Melanie Percy uses the latest radio-telemetry and tracking devices in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. She'll highlight high wolf use areas, as well as their denning habits and wolf ecology. Jill Moellering of Holiday On Horseback, has traveled on the Paws In The Wilderness Tour. "It was tons of fun," she says. "It was neat to see the tracking equipment, which includes this little hand held screen with an antennae. The screen is like a little GPS map that shows where the animals are in relation to where you're standing. The evening camp fires were great, because we could all trade stories and listen to Melanie's (expert wolf tracker) experiences of working with the wolves in the area."

The wildlife monitoring runs through the summer and September. The grizzly trip runs in late August and into September. Paws In the Wilderness runs in September.

Discover Banff Tours offers a different opportunity to learn about grizzly bears. This outfitter provides the Discover Grizzly Bears tour, a guided sightseeing trip to the Grizzly Bear Refuge the world's largest.

Daymon Miller of Discover Banff Tours, says: "The grizzly bear is an icon of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. This will give you your best chance to see a bear in the mountains. We know where to find animals and you will come away with a better connection with the place you are visiting. I think people are looking for an experience to transform them and come away with something that is learned."


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Copyright (c) 2006 Travel Alberta, All Rights Reserved

Travel Alberta is the destination marketing organization for the Province of Alberta. Guided by the Strategic Tourism Marketing Council, Travel Alberta is the steward for the effective delivery of tourism marketing programs. For information about our organization, please visit our Travel Alberta industry web site at http://www.travelalberta.com

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Internal ID: #4062
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Total Views: 2179

Article Rating: 2.75 of 5
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