Great Canadian Parks / British Columbia

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The Parks / British Columbia / Kootenay National Park



Archaeological evidence from almost 1000 prehistoric sites, notably ancient rock carvings at Radium Hot Springs, suggests that the park’s passes served as essential routes for Plains and Coastal natives for at least 11 000 years. The Kootenay, Shushwap, Sarcee, Stoney and Peigan Indians made these mountains their home. The park probably took its name, which means ‘places of hot waters’ from the early tribe.


Explorers, fur traders and prospectors arrived in the 1700’s and 1800’s, relying on native guides to show them the routes through the passes. In 1910, British Columbia agreed to surrender to the Canadian government around 7 kilometres of land on either side of a newly begun highway linking Banff to Windemere, British Columbia in exchange for the funds to finance it. Ten years later that land became Kootenay National Park - Canada’s first highway park.

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