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Introduction to Jasper National Park

by K Gordon Schultz

Quick overview of information about Jasper, Alberta

Jasper Townsite: 287km (178 miles) NW of Banff

Jasper has grown recently to become Canada’s largest mountain park. Less than 200 miles from its more well-known neighbour Banff, it was officially established in 1907. However, in the 1840’s, it already had a sort of guesthouse. An intrigued painter who visited the elusive guesthouse described it as “composed of two rooms of about 14 and 15 feet square. One of them is used by all comers and goers, Indians, voyageurs and traders, men, women, and children being huddled together indiscriminately, the other room being devoted to the exclusive occupation of Colin Fraser (postmaster) and his family, consisting of a Cree squaw and nine interesting half-breed children.”

Things have evolved a little in this beautiful park since then. Less busy than Banff, it attracts a sportier, outdoorsy crowd. Always on top of the agenda in Jasper National Park are hiking, biking, climbing, horseback riding, and rafting among many of the main activities. As would be expected in a fairly touristy area, there is no shortage of shopping and dining but it is not what really draws the crowds. The people you see around Jasper are quite different to the Banff traveller as they seem like they really came here to explore the mountains and not just to relax.

“I think Jasper has changed over the years but maybe not as dramatically as say Banff for example. Jasper is very proud of keeping its roots,” Lindsay Harman, regular visitor to Jasper National Park.

For more info, visit Jasper National Park page.

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