Great Canadian Parks / Alberta

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The Parks / Alberta / Waterton Lakes National Park



Bull Trout, a large, native Rocky Mountain fish, averaging between 10 and 15 pounds is classified as an endangered species in Montana and of special concern in Alberta. A victim of our human conquest of the wilderness, not only because an aggressive feeder like the Bull Trout is an easy target, but also because of changes made to the environment to allow us access to streams where the fish once lived and bred in peace.

 

The habitat where the trout spawn has been intersected by roads and culverts, and in some cases, even dams. In the Waterton area, their spawning grounds have been reduced by at least 70%. Additionally, because the fish is so large, many of them are fished before maturity, thereby eliminating the breeding population.

 

Bull trout was an important food fish for the Blood Indians. They and park staff, in conjunction with a number of governmental and private agencies, have taken a census of the Bull Trout population in the North Fork Belly River. Individual fish were tagged, weighed and measured on their way upstream. By learning more about the fish migration patterns and general health, researchers hope to address some of the trout's man-made problems

 

 


Andy Russell has lived almost his entire life in these mountains, as a trail guide, a filmmaker and an author commemorating the land he loves. He and his brother grew up running wild horses out of the mountains and hunting game. As a young man, he joined Bert Rigall's pack train outfit, breaking horses for them out on the trail, and guiding groups through the treacherous mountain terrain. He held a guiding license in Waterton Lakes National Park from 1936-1960, taking hunters, photographers and adventurers into the wilderness.

 

During his early photographic safaris he decided there was more than one way to ‘shoot’ big game, and he started taking his own pictures and movies. A published magazine writer since 1945, Andy Russell always knew how to tell a story. His first movie was an hour and a half of wildlife footage accompanied by a ‘talk’, and the audiences ate it up. His first book, ‘Grizzly Country’, was published in 1967, and launched Russell on a new career. In this and in subsequent books, Andy Russell has been able to guide hundreds of thousands of people through his backyard, Waterton Lakes National Park.

 

He has raised a family in these mountains, and passed his love of all things wild on to his children. One is a caribou biologist, another studies polar bears, and son Charlie has shown his talents as a writer and filmmaker, producing an acclaimed book on the magnificent Kermode bears of Princess Royal Island called ‘The Spirit Bear’.

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