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  • Who First Explored the Area of Banff National Park?

    Who First Explored the Area of Banff National Park?
    Banff National Park is the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Majestic, raw and beautiful, Banff National Park is a treasure in the Canadian Park system. The history of the park and environs is as interesting as the land itself.

    10,000 B.C.

    Some of the first evidence of human occupation in the Bow Valley was found by archaeologists near Lake Minnewanka and Vermilion Lakes. Many first nations people used the area including Cree, Plains Blackfoot and Kootenay.

    European Explorers Arrive in the 1700s

    Thought to be the first non-native to arrive in the Canadian Rockies, Anthony Henday explored the area in 1754. In late 1799 into 1800 Duncan McGillivray and David Thompson traveled into the region.

    The Hudson Bay Company Arrives

    In 1854 Sir George Simpson, the Governor of the Hudson Bay Company at the time, crossed the Rockies as he made a round-the-world trip. This was the beginning of a rush into the region.

    The Train Brings New People

    The first white man to see Lake Louise, Tom Wilson--a packer for the Canadian Pacific Railroad--did so with guidance from a Stoney Indian. By 1883 the railway was built through Banff, and it reached Lake Louise .

    Further European Exploration

    Between 1857 to 1860 the Palliser Expedition was commissioned by the British government to explore western and mountain Canada. Irish by birth, John Palliser organized the exploration to see the viability of settling the land. The group split into three exploring what is now known as Kananaskis, Banff, the Kootenays and Waterton.

    Article Written By Eric Cedric

    A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

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