Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Our World Tuesday

Our World Tuesday Graphic

Our World Tuesday

July 2013 - Banff Alberta

We returned from Calgary last week so my recent posts have been highlighting that trip.

We took the Trans-Canada Highway on our way to Banff and Lake Louise. It is a magnificent drive through the lower Rockies.

Banff is a town within Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. It is located in Alberta's Rockies along the Trans-Canada Highway, approximately 126 km (78 miles) west of Calgary and 58 km  (36 miles) east of Lake Louise. 
At an elevation of 1,463 m (4,800 ft), Banff is the community with the second highest elevation in Canada after Lake Louise.

It was a rainy (on and off) kind of day. The sun would come out and then the clouds would roll in.

Time for a coffee stop at Tim Horton's the quintessence of the Canadian coffee shop.

These little guys were all over the place. They would pop our of their holes and pose for photos.
Columbian ground squirrels live in underground colonies. They hibernate seven or eight months out of the year in a special hibernation chamber in its burrow. The chamber is sealed off from the rest of the burrow with a plug of dirt. It puts on fat in the summer and stores seeds and bulbs in its hibernation chamber to eat when it wakes up in the spring.

I found the following information on the Parks Canada website.
Twinning the highway involved upgrading the highway from two lanes to four lanes as seen in the following photo
 >Two lanes - ca 1955
Two lanes - ca 1955
© Parks Canada / Bruno Engler
Four lanes - 1998
Four lanes - 1998
© Parks Canada

Since the mid-1970s, collisions between vehicles and large mammals on the TCH have been a concern of Parks Canada. Increasing traffic and vehicle collisions with wildlife during the 1980s prompted Parks Canada to upgrade the first 27 km of highway in Banff to four lanes (Phase 1 and 2; map below). To reduce the number of wildlife-vehicle collisions, a 2.4 m high ungulate-proof fence was installed along both sides of the twinned highway. To minimize the disruption of wildlife movements, wildlife underpasses were incorporated into the highway design. In the mid-1990s, similar concerns regarding increasing traffic demands and maintaining park ecological integrityprompted Parks Canada to widen an additional 18 km to four lanes (Phase 3A; map below), complete with fencing, wildlife underpasses and overpasses.

We were fascinated by these overpasses that were built for the animals to cross safely and also to protect the drivers..

The two 50-m wide wildlife overpasses were the first of this magnitude to be built in North America. Three considerations were taken into account for overpass placement; preferred wildlife crossing points, favorable terrain configuration for engineering and construction considerations, and driver safety requirements. Earth berms were built on the overpasses to reduce disturbance (noise, lights) from highway traffic.


  1. That photo of the long and winding road is absolutely gorgeous. With such scenery it seems a shame some creatures hibernate for eight months of the year. :)

  2. I like the idea of living in a country with ungulate-proof fences very much. I must work the phrase "ungulate-proof fence" into a conversation soon. Perhaps with the nieces.

  3. looks like a great trip, the mountains there are gorgeous!


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