Situated in the Canadian Rockies in the
Athabasca River Valley, the town of Jasper is the primary
commercial and accommodation center for Jasper National Park -
which spans an incredible 4,200 square miles (10,878 square
kilometres). The town - and later the park - was named after Jasper
Hawes, who used the area as a trading post in the late 19th
century. The beautiful enclosure first became a park in 1907, and
was granted National Park status in 1930. In 1984, it was
designated a UNESCO World Heritage site, and now attracts almost
two million visitors every year.
Among Jasper National Park's attractions are the glaciers of the
Columbia Icefield, as well as many more stunning lakes, mountains,
waterfalls and hot springs. The Maligne Canyon, a 164 feet (50
metres) deep gorge of sheer limestone walls with a number of
interesting rock formations, is very popular with tourists, as is
Maligne Lake - the largest glacier-fed body of water in the region.
The park is naturally home to plenty of rare wildlife, including
grey wolves, hoary marmot, caribou and moose.