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Townsite Campground at 90

Setting up camp in Townsite Campground, 1934
Waterton's Townsite Campground is 90 years old this year
Photo: Glenbow Archives NA-1234-5

Photo gallery: Townsite Campground at 90 

If you camped in Townsite Campground in the summer of 1931, you might have purchased fresh-baked goods offered by two young girls carrying baskets from the Rose Tea Room.

If you camped there on June 15 1975, you may have been evacuated by harried park wardens in the midnight hours as floods hit Waterton. 

If you tented in H Section in June 1999, you may have had your tent pounced on by a confused black bear.

And we can't remember the year (perhaps it happened more than once) but we saw several tents leave Townsite Campground and roll down the street like colourful tumbleweeds.

Camping started early in Waterton, but our first "auto campground" wasn't laid out in 1924. Then, at the south end of town, where local aboriginal tribes, early ranchers, farmers, and adventurous National Park visitors often set up camp, the Townsite Campground was created.

It is unique in the mountain parks in being integrated into the townsite.

Today, Townsite Campground is one of the oldest surviving campgrounds in the National Park system.

Some of the buildings within the campground are the oldest campground buildings still in existence in the Canadian national parks. They demonstrate the different phases of campground development in the national park system, and have been well used by four generations of park visitors.

Are you or your family one of those generations of visitors? If you have photos or stories of the Townsite Campgound to share, please join with us in celebrating this milestone by sharing on our Facebook page.

Akamina Parkway Now Open

May 30, 2014

Final construction on the Akamina Parkway is complete and the road is now open.

Hiking trails leading from the road are also open.

The Akamina Parkway is a popular, 16 km scenic route through colourful mountains to the crystal waters of Cameron Lake.

Along the way, there are opportunities to view wildlife and wildflowers, as well as the First Oil Well in Western Canada National Historic Site.

Cameron Lake is popular for canoeing or paddle boating, or appreciating the subalpine scenery along a short forest walk.

Hikers have regained access to some of the most popular trails in the park, from the short walk to Crandell Lake to a full-day trek on the Carthew-Alderson trail.

The Akamina Parkway sustained extensive damage during the June 2013 floods and was closed. It reopened on November 30 for winter recreation but was then closed again from April 25 to May 31 so final repair work could be completed.

Akamina Parkway Closing

April 2014

Final work on the Akamina Parkway is being done Final work to repair the road is being done
© Parks Canada

The Akamina Parkway will be closed from April 25 to May 31 so final work to repair the road can be completed.

The section of the Crandell Loop trail above the Akamina Parkway will also be closed.

To accommodate visitors at this time of year, the Red Rock Parkway will re-open earlier, on Monday April 28.

The Akamina Parkway sustained extensive damage during the June 2013 floods. Work on the last section of the road requires significant reconstruction, including a retaining wall.

The safety of park visitors, construction workers and park staff is the highest priority of Parks Canada.

Check for updates on our Important Bulletins page.

Prescribed Fire at Waterton Lakes National Park a Success

April 2014

Prescribed fire at Waterton Lakes National Park 
Prescribed fire at Waterton Lakes National Park © Parks Canada

Parks Canada staff carried out a successful prescribed fire in Waterton Lakes National Park, April 24. 

The areas burned, approximately 1800 ha using aerial and ground ignition, were the grasslands adjacent to the Entrance and Red Rock Parkways.

The purpose of this prescribed fire is to restore native prairie by reducing aspen and evergreen tree expansion onto grasslands.

These burns are part of an on-going program to restore healthy forests and grasslands, and reduce the risk of wildfire.

Guard Burning

January 2014

Guard burning in Waterton Lakes National Park
Guard burning near the Bison Paddock © Parks Canada

Park staff have burned a small area near the Bison Paddock to create fireguards. This was done to prepare for three prescribed fires this spring, intended to restore rough-fescue grass and reduce aspen and conifer encrouchment. Fireguards are planned barriers used to stop or slow the rate of wildfire spread. These small prescribed fires will continue throughout the winter.

Discover Waterton with Street View for Google Maps

November 2013

One of Google's Street View operators in Waterton Lakes National Park
One of Google's Street View operators © Parks Canada

In 2013 Parks Canada and Google began a two-year collaboration to document many of Canada's iconic national heritage places through the unique panoramic lens of Google Street View.

Google teams hiked along trails and through campgrounds, drove park roads, explored historic sites and even went inside notable buildings, all while photographing them as 360 degree panoramas destined for publication within Google Street View.

Now, after a productive summer of work, Parks Canada and Google are pleased to announce that you can go explore them for yourself.

Take a Street View tour of a Parks Canada location

Bison Paddock Fencing Improvements

August 2013

Bison Paddock Fencing Improvements Bison Paddock Fencing Improvements
© Parks Canada

Work has been completed to replace approximately 2 km of fencing of the Bison Paddock and expand the Winter Paddock by 24 ha on the southwest fenceline.

This is the fourth year of a five-year project to replace the fences, gates and bison-handling facilities.

Some of the fence was replaced from within the existing summer paddock, so visitors may have seen construction crews driving and working from a designated route from that road.

The current fence has 55-year-old wooden posts. It is being replaced with metal fence posts, expected to have at minimum a 50-year life span. Metal posts will also greatly reduce the risk of fence damage from a wildfire or prescribed burn.

There are currently 18 bison in the herd in Waterton Lakes National Park. The park has maintained a display bison herd since 1952, with strong public support.

The expansion of the Winter Paddock will reduce the impact of the bison herd on native grasslands and allow the park to maintain current stocking rates.

Falls Theatre Native Plant Garden

Parks Canada has created a second native plant garden in the community of Waterton. This garden is planted with native species available in many local nurseries. It will promote water conservation and demonstrate the beauty of native plants. It will also help us learn more about challenges such as dealing with hungry deer and how to best establish different native plants.