Waterton Lakes National Park
Population: 105 residents (not counting hotel guests or campers) in summer season, roughly 30 permanent residents in winter.
“The most stunning of the Rocky Mountain parks.” We didn’t say it. The editors of Frommer’s Travel Guide did – naming Waterton one of the world’s ‘Top Destinations for 2009’ and describing it as “the least-traveled of Alberta’s Rocky Mountain Parks, and quite possibly the most spectacular.”
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and the surrounding region has been recognized by National Geographic as one of North America’s “great unspoiled places.” The park enjoys two UNESCO designations: a World Heritage Site; and a Biosphere Reserve. It is the world’s first International Peace Park, along with Glacier National Park in Montana. It is also the centerpiece of a “Crown of the Continent” project from the National Geographic’s Center for Sustainable Destinations.
Most of the 400,000 people who visit Waterton every year re drawn by the park's natural beauty. Waterton is appreciated for its small atmospheric village, deep blue lakes, abundant wildlife, mountains that vault right out of the prairie, and an exhaustive range of outdoor recreation.
The primary industry is tourism. Employment is available primarily from May to October. Job seekers are attracted by the recreational and leisure benefits of working in a National Park.
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- A year before Waterton Lakes National Park was created in 1911, the federal government offered 150 building lots at $10.00 ground rent per year, or $15.00 for waterfront lots. The resulting collection of cabins grew into a year-round colony that by 1924 included two butcher shops and a dance hall.
- The Prince of Wales Hotel was built in 1927 by the U.S. Great Northern Railway to dispense legal alcohol to its American passengers during their own country's Prohibition. Tourists were boated to the hotel from the U.S. end of Upper Waterton Lake.