Ecology and Wonder in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks Heritage Site
380 pages, 7 1/2 x 9 1/2
colour illustrations throughout
Release Date:01 Mar 2010

Ecology and Wonder in the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks Heritage Site

Athabasca University Press
Ecology and Wonder makes several remarkable claims:


The greatest cultural achievement in the Western Canadian mountain region is what has been preserved, not what has been developed.

Protecting the spine of the Rocky Mountains will preserve crucial ecological functions.

Because the process of ecosystem diminishment and species loss has been slowed, an ecological thermostat has been kept alive. This may well be an important defence against future climate change impacts on the Canadian west.


Ecology and Wonder is a must-read for those who appreciate Western Canada’s breathtaking landscape.

Robert W. Sandford is the author or editor of over 20 books on the nature, history, and culture of the Canadian West. He is the Canadian Chair of the United Nations International Decade “Water for Life,” an initiative that aims to advance long-term water quality and availability issues in response to climate change in Canada and abroad. He is also an Honorary Member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides. He lives in Canmore, Alberta.
Foreword   ix

Acknowledgements    xv

      Overview Map    xx

Invocation The Magnificent Seven xxi


Part One The West We Had: Foundations of Place

1. A Walk into the Past: Setting a Context of Place    3

2. The Creation: Monumentality and Place    17

3. The Creation: People and Place Before European Contact    27

4. Exchanging What We Had for What We Want: The Fur Trade Era in the Canadian West    33

5. The Coming of Death: Diminishment and Loss among the First Peoples of the West    41


Part Two The West We Have: Making the Mountains Our Home

6. Giving Meaning to Mountains and Making Them Ours: Mountaineering and the Aesthetics of Place    47

7. Brushes with Eternity: Landscape Art and Photography in the Canadian Rockies    69

8. Crystal and Cold Blue Chasms: The Literature of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site    77

9. Stemming the Tide of Loss: The Give and Take of Modern Management In and Around the Mountain Parks    91

10. Countering Dispossession: Saving Our Unique Mountain Culture    105

The East Slope: Flowing Toward the Atlantic

11. The Birthplace of Canada’s National Park Ideal: Banff National Park    115

The North Slope: Flowing Toward the Arctic

12. The Birthplace of Western and Northern Rivers: The Columbia Icefield and Jasper National Park    145

The West Slope: Flowing Toward the Pacific

13. The Roof of the Canadian Rockies: Mount Robson Provincial Park    187

14. Small, Remote, but Utterly Wild: Hamber Provincial Park    201

15. The Geography of Wonder: Yoho National Park    215

16. The Road to Radium: Kootenay National Park    243

17. Matterhorn of the Rockies: Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park    257


Part Three The West We Want: Creating a Culture Worthy of Place

18. Respecting and Honouring the Great Bear: The Grizzly as a Symbol of the West We Want    273

19. Seeing What Is Hidden in Plain Sight: Triumphing Over Diminishment and Loss    299

20. Expanding the World Heritage Site Designation: Managing for Future Integrity Instead of Loss    313

21. Creating a Culture Commensurate with Place    321


Notes    339

Index    347

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