World Heritage: Canada

Alberta

Painting reproducing an areal view of Waterton lakes from Canada towards the United-States. Lakes are small in the middle, dominated by the mountains.
Painting by Bernard Pelletier
© Parks Canada, Bernard Pelletier

It was the Rotary Clubs of Alberta and Montana that proposed, in 1931, uniting Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta and Glacier National Park in Montana as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the first such park in the world. It was intended not just to promote peace and goodwill between nations, but also to underscore the international nature of wilderness and the co-operation required in its protection.

And certainly within the two parks, 526-square-kilometre Waterton Lakes and 4,051-square-kilometre Glacier, nature has provided much that is worthy of protection: high mountains and deep canyons, forest belts and prairie grasslands, deep glacial-trough lakes and rivers that feed three oceans. Indeed, few areas can claim as much diversity within such a concentrated area. Not least, the abrupt rise of the Rockies from the prairie flatlands has made the twin parks the place “where the mountains meet the prairie.”

Matching the range of ecoregions is a corresponding diversity of wildlife - mountain goats, bighorn sheep, coyotes, grizzly bears, scores of birds, and a celebrated “international” herd of elk that migrates annually between summer mountain habitat in Glacier and winter prairie ranges in Waterton.

An Aboriginal presence in the region goes back 12,000 years, and there remain places in both parks that hold deep significance for First Nations peoples. Indeed, the International Peace Park has grown to become a park of three nations: Canada, the United States and the Blackfoot Confederacy.

More information

Parks Canada Web sites:
Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada

United States National Park Service Web site:
Glacier National Park

World Heritage Sites in the USA:
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

All World Heritage Sites

More Images

Waterton Lake towards Glacier National Park in the United States. Lake, mountains and cloudy sky.
Waterton Lake
© Parks Canada, S. Lunn
Picture of the small Cameron falls which fall from two different points. Rocks and the sky surround them.
Cameron Falls
© Parks Canada, R.R. Dore
Picture of lake Cameron at the foreground and mountains in the background.
Cameron Lake
© Parks Canada, P. McCloskey
Picture of Mount Reynolds seen from a geological feature which has the shape of a cercle.
Mount Reynolds
© Parks Canada,S. Lunn