Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Travel Blogging VIII

Jasper, Alberta, Canada: You'll recollect I mentioned we hoped to see a bunch more wildlife yesterday afternoon? We took a special tour with that express intent and saw exactly one cow elk and a bald eagle nest.

It reminded me of a whale watch we went on in the Caribbean - we saw no whales whatsoever and not much else. Talk about irony, driving home from last night's tour we saw a herd of 5 elk including a male and a young 'un.

They talk about caribou here, and a few do still survive locally. However, their numbers are too small to sustain a herd longterm as inbreeding weakens the stock.

Elk are the main big wildlife in evidence. Our guide said they'd been introduced from the States in the years before such tampering with nature became taboo in national parks. If they're not strictly "native," they sure do thrive.

This year we see a lot of dead conifers, victims of pine bark beetle infestation. Some hillsides are basically red-brown, instead of green. The park considers the beetle natural so they are being left standing, ready to burn in the next lightning-caused fire. And they aren't treating the infestation, aren't spraying.

BTW, Jasper town began life as a railroad town, and only later became a national park headquarters. Train crews change out at Jasper, having worked a long run to get here. Before the railroad it was a trading post, run by a fur company.