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Banff, Alberta

Cave and Basin National Historic Site

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Caves, Nature and Canadian History

This little park in the Banff area is both an interesting natural spot, but also part of Canadian history. The complex of nine sulphurous hot springs, located in the northeastern area of (where else?) Sulphur Mountain was established as the first national park in the nation in 1885. The park provides access to some very interesting caves that feature rare invertebrate fauna.

The park also serves as a warning, if you will, of how a wonderful and fragile micro environment can be ruined (or changed for all time, if you want to look at it that way) by people who wanted to exploit the caves for tourist appeal. The tunnel, bottled water with "curative powers" and profound change in the ecology of the cave pools are all documented by the park. Even with the changes to the natural balance of the cave over the past 140-plus years, it's a delightful view of what ancient underground pools offer for study.

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