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Height of the Rockies Provincial Park

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Title: Height of the Rockies Provincial Park  
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Subject: Palliser Pass, Elk Lakes Provincial Park, Hole-in-the-Wall Provincial Park, Close To The Edge Provincial Park and Protected Area, Kakwa Provincial Park and Protected Area
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Height of the Rockies Provincial Park

Height of the Rockies Provincial Park is a provincial park in the Canadian Rockies of south eastern British Columbia, Canada. It is located west of the Continental Divide (in this region, the British Columbia/Alberta Border).

Description and access

The park comprises 54,170 hectares (133,900 acres)[1] in East Kootenay on the western side of the Continental Divide, which in this region forms the border between British Columbia and Alberta. It borders Elk Lakes Provincial Park, also in British Columbia, to which it is linked by a trail, and Banff National Park and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in Alberta.[2] The park lies east of Invermere; the closest communities are Elkford to the south and Canal Flats and Radium Hot Springs to the west. The park is accessible on foot or horseback via logging roads and trails to 6 trailheads. All mechanized access is forbidden, and there are no campgrounds or other park services in the park.[1][2][3] The Great Divide Trail passes through the park.[4]

The park is an Alpine environment with forested bottomland. It includes several lakes, the Palliser River valley, the Middle Fork of the White River, and the Royal Group of mountains.[5] It encompasses 26 peaks over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft).[3] The highest peak, Mount Joffre (3,449 metres (11,316 ft)), is on the border with Alberta. There are seven important mountain passes.[1]


The park is important habitat for wildlife, in particular grizzly bears, and also contains large numbers of black bears, moose, mule deer, bighorn sheep, wolves, and cougars. There are more than 2,000 elk and one of the highest densities of mountain goats in the world.[1][2][3][6][7] Cutthroat trout are plentiful in many lakes and streams and are taken from the park for the Kootenay native species stocking program.[1][2] Hunting, trapping, and fishing are permitted at controlled levels.[1][2]

The park is at one end of the Southern Rocky Mountain Management Plan, aimed at coordinating ecosystem preservation and providing wildlife corridors, in particular for grizzly bears.[8][9][10] Also to provide more comprehensive protection of the environment and wildlife habitat, British Columbia has considered asking the United Nations to add Height of the Rockies and 5 other provincial parks to the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.[11]


The passes through what is now the park were used by the Kootenai Indians and by mid-19th-century European explorers. Two archaeological sites over 8,000 years old have been identified on the Middle Fork of the White River.[1][2]

A national park was proposed early in the 20th century. In 1936 the White River Game Reserve was established. However, construction of logging roads and clearcutting became so extensive in the Southern Canadian Rockies that by 1986, the area that is now the park had become the last major refuge for wildlife in the region. Two provincial environmental organisations, BC Spaces for Nature and the Palliser Wilderness Society, led a campaign to protect it permanently by making it a wilderness park, and in 1987, after a twelve-year process of negotiation between government, conservationists, hunting guides and outfitters, and logging companies, it became the first Forest Wilderness Area in British Columbia.[12][13][14][15] In 1995 it became a Class A Provincial Park.[1][2][16] It was part of the Kootenays regional plan, which created 16 new provincial parks and sought to protect both logging jobs and wilderness areas.[17]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Height of the Rockies Provincial Park, BC Parks, retrieved 21 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Height of the Rockies Provincial Park, The Kootenay Rockies Region, BC Spaces for Nature, retrieved 21 June 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Bob Hahn, Kootenay National Park, Calgary: Rocky Mountain Books, 2000, ISBN 9780921102748, p. 52.
  4. ^ Dustin Lynx, Hiking Canada's Great Divide Trail, rev. ed. Surrey, British Columbia: Rocky Mountain, 2007, ISBN 9781894765893, pp. 111–12.
  5. ^ Mount Prince Albert, Mount Prince Edward, Mount Prince George, Mount Prince Henry, Mount Prince John, and Mount Princess Mary; Mount Princess Margaret is nearby in Banff National Park. Glen W. Boles, William Lowell Putnam, and Roger W. Laurilla, Canadian Mountain Place Names: The Rockies And Columbia Mountains, Calgary/Custer, Washington: Rocky Mountain, 2006, ISBN 9781894765794, p. 204.
  6. ^ Ric Careless, To Save the Wild Earth: Field Notes from the Environmental Frontline, Vancouver: Raincoast / Seattle: The Mountaineers, 1997, ISBN 9780898865677, p. 131.
  7. ^ Aaron Cameron and Matt Gunn, Hikes Around Invermere & the Columbia River Valley, Surrey, British Columbia: Rocky Mountain, 1998, repr. 2009, ISBN 9781897522516, p. 161.
  8. ^ Peter Aengst, "The Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative: A New Conservation Paradigm to Protect the Heart of North America", in Laura M. Darling, ed., At Risk: Proceedings of a Conference on the Biology and Management of Species and Habitats at Risk: February 15-19, 1999, University College of the Cariboo, Kamloops, British Columbia, [Victoria]: British Columbia Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, 2000, ISBN 9780772643483, pp. 898–99 (pdf pp. 4–5).
  9. ^ Bill Dolan and Larry Frith, "The Waterton Biosphere Reserve—Fact or Fiction?", in Neil Munro, ed., Making Ecosystem Based Management Work: Connecting Managers & Researchers: Proceedings of the fifth International Conference on Science and the Management of Protected Areas, Wolfville, Nova Scotia: Science and Management of Protected Areas Association, 2004, ISBN 9780969933861, pdf p. 7.
  10. ^ Bill Schneider, Where the Grizzly Walks: The Future of the Great Bear, Guilford, Connecticut: Globe Pequot/Falcon, 2004, ISBN 9780762726028, p. 182.
  11. ^ Ashley Wiebe, Parks Canada looking to expand heritage sites, iNews880, 22 November 2009.
  12. ^ Jeremy Wilson, Talk and Log: Wilderness Politics in British Columbia, Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 1998, ISBN 9780774806695, p. 250 and note 55, pp. 399–400.
  13. ^ Rich Landers, "Elk Beyond the Bootprints: A hunter's primer to Northwest Wilderness Areas", Field & Stream Far West edition, n.d., pp. 78–79, p. 79.
  14. ^ Karsten Heuer, Walking the Big Wild: From Yellowstone to the Yukon on the Grizzly Bears' Trail, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 2002, repr. Seattle: Mountaineers, 2004, ISBN 9780898869835, pp. 95–96.
  15. ^ Goody Niosi, Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives: Recipients of the Order of British Columbia, Surrey, British Columbia: Heritage House, 2002, ISBN 9781894384520, p. 230.
  16. ^ Careless, p. 146; review in Nature Canada volumes 26–27 (1997) p. 109.
  17. ^ David Leyton-Brown, Canadian Annual Review of Politics and Public Affairs, 1995, Toronto: University of Toronto, 2002, ISBN 9780802036735, p. 181.

External links

  • Height of the Rockies brochure from campaign to save the area, The Palliser Wilderness Society

Further reading

  • Appendix 3 in: British Columbia Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. Dispute Resolution Core Group. Reaching Agreement Volume 1 Consensus Processes in British Columbia. Vancouver: Round Table, 1991. ISBN 9780772613462.

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