Experience The Mountain Parks Blog
...all about the Alberta-to-British Columbia mountain parks, including life in and around the parks. Not all our news and stories are here, though, so you might want to check our news section and Bob's "tweets" —conveniently placed in the upper right of each page.
Parks Canada is launching a photo contest encouraging visitors to document one of the park's most colourful seasons.
This contest will be part of the 2nd annual Lake Louise Fall Festival that takes place in Banff National Park from September 1 to October 8, 2012.
The contest itself runs until September 30, 2012 and includes two themes: outdoor adventure, and colours and landscapes. The outdoor adventure category encourages visitors to photograph their favourite park activities such as hiking, biking, or camping. Submissions to the colours and landscapes category should emphasize briliant autumn scenes like the famous golden yellow arches.
This year's contest will be judged by Peter Essick, a frequent contributor to National Geographic and recently named one of the planet's 40 most influential nature photographers by Outdoor Photography magazine. Essick has travelled the world extensively over the last two decades, capturing photographs that document the enduring power of the land.
First prize in either category will receive an 11X14 print of the winning image in a 16X20 matted frame from Banff Photography, a Parks Canada Discovery Annual Pass (Family/Group), and a complimentary two night stay in any Lake Louise area campground. Prizes will also be given out for second and third place in both categories.
Parks Canada will also host a free photography workshop on September 8, 2012 at 11 AM at the Lake Louise Visitor Centre. The workshop is ideal for beginner to intermediate photographers with DSLR or point-and-shoot cameras.
Looks like we're getting more and more submitted photos every day but please be patient as we're going through the process of uploading all of them.
As a reminder, and to make sure everybody has the same chances, make sure you follow these rules:
- Any submitted photos or videos with no captions will be displayed but WILL NOT be considered for the contest(s). In other words, caption is mandatory. One might wonder though "what's an appropriate caption?". Well it could be as simple as just the location, however everybody would appreciate to know more, so even a short blurb and a date would be welcome. Some of you forgot to submit their captions when sending us their photos, it's not too late to do so but make sure you clearly identify your shots and do so before February 2013!
Get a look at what we would expect when you submit your photos/videos.
Submitting a caption is as easy as submitting a photo. At the bottom of this page you can send us your text as a Word document, a text file, a PDF, in the same way you attached/sent us your shot(s).
- If you enter your best landscape shot with the proper caption, you'll have a chance to win a Dream Getaway to Jasper, Your best wildlife or flower shot will give you an opportunity to compete for a Dream Getaway to Banff, and your best family/friend shot might be selected and win a Dream Getaway to Revelstoke. Lastly the best video will be awarded a Houseboat Vacation!!
- There are no limits: you can enter as many shots as you wish and in all categories, same goes with the videos!
- The 2012/2013 contest will be over by the end of February 2013, so you have plenty of time, and we expect to receive winter shots as well.
- Pictures/videos should (preferably) be shot in any provincial or national parks in Alberta, British Columbia (or in Montana). We say "preferably" because you might have an incredible shot of a bear outside a park, or you might have a nice landscape photo that's not in the mountains. Send it to us! We'd like to be surprised.
It was Canada Day Weekend and there was a steady stream of cars trying to get through the gates and down the narrow highway into Waterton Lakes National Park for a day of hiking, touring, and sight-seeing. Normally we would have been one of those vehicles had I not done a bit of research before our trip and discovered an alternate way of accessing the popular park. The Kootenai Brown bicycle trail starts at the Park Gates and brings you right to the Visitor Centre on the edge of the Waterton town site. Although you do have to pay and drive through the gates to reach the signed parking lot, you will quickly find yourself on a stunningly beautiful paved trail that parallels the highway as you make your way to the Visitor Centre. The trail is 7km one way and is rated as easy by Parks Canada. As a novice cyclist, I had to walk a few hills but my husband managed to do the full 14km trail while pulling our son in a bike trailer – and never had to get off his bike. Obviously one of us is out of shape.
Though the bike trail mostly follows the highway, you will have periods of isolation where you drop down to a beautiful meadow and ride amongst the wild flowers. I’ve driven this road many times and honestly, had never really noticed this meadow with the mountains looming over it. Without a windshield in front of you everything is so much more crisp and meaningful. The meadow transformed into living scenery when I was right beside it and able to interact with my surroundings.
When we got to the town site, we continued riding on the Townsite Loop Trail. It’s a 3.5km loop that follows the very scenic Upper Lake shoreline. There are lots of benches to stop and rest at as well as beach areas for children who might want to throw rocks in the lake. This trail is shared with pedestrians and can get quite busy so that was perhaps the one challenge of biking the loop rather than riding the town streets. We didn’t finish the full loop because we wanted to visit the town splash park and community playground located in the centre of town near the campground. Again, the bikes make it easy to access without having to find parking. Any family with young kids will definitely want to visit this park. It was definitely the key attraction for most families in Waterton the day we were there.
We finished off our tour with a quick stop at Cameron Falls, a popular tourist site located a couple blocks away from the playground, and then started our ride back home to finish out our 18km ride.
- A hike up the Bears Hump (this 2.8km return hike climbs 200m up from the Visitor Centre to a fabulous viewpoint overlooking the whole town site, Prince of Wales Hotel, and Waterton Lakes)
- A walk around the Prince of Wales Hotel (this 2km loop is easy and a good way to stretch your legs)
- Ice-cream! (there are a lot of fabulous ice-cream shops in Waterton not to be missed)
The winner of our Trivia Quiz #3 is Michelle Beaudry, from Nelson, British Columbia!
She got all answers right and her name was randomly drawn. Congratulations Michelle!
The author Graeme Pole is generously offering a third set of 3 companion guides.
There are more chances to win a set of these guides. Make sure to check our Trivia Quiz #4, running from August 6 to September 6 inclusive. Sorry, only one answer per person will be accepted. If your entered answers were right, your name will be entered in our random draw and you could win the set.
Did you know that Jasper National Park is the world’s largest dark sky preserve at 11 228 km2?
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada officially designated the preserve in March 2011.
- Banff Visitor Centre pays tribute to its cultural history
- Getting Off The Grid. Great for Adventure Lovers!
- And the second place in the Friends & Family category goes to...
- And the second place in the Videos category of our 2012 RECESS IS BACK readers' contest goes to...
- And the second place in the Landscapes and Sunsets category of our 2012 RECESS IS BACK readers' contest goes to...
- And the second place in the Wildlife & Flowers category goes to...
- And the winners of our 2012/2013 Photos and Videos Contest are...
- 2012/2013 Photos/Videos Contest
- oTENTiks are coming to a mountain park near you!
- Submissions to our 2012/2013 Photos/Videos Contest are now over...