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Mapping the Crown

The April meeting of the Bow Valley Naturalists will take place on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Banff Seniors Centre.

The April meeting of the Bow Valley Naturalists will take place on Wednesday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Banff Seniors Centre.

Featured will be a presentation by Ben Gadd titled The Crown of the Continent: Which Country Should Wear It, Canada or the United States?

The Crown of the Continent refers to a spectacular area of the Rocky Mountains that extends from Crowsnest Pass southward into Montana. This international ecosystem includes a number of important protected areas such as Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and Glacier National Park in the U.S., as well as provincial lands worthy of becoming protected, such as the Flathead Valley in B.C. and the Castle area in Alberta.

Crown also refers to something else: the hydrographic apex of North America.

But how could patriotic pride have overruled science in establishing its location? Come and learn the answer to that question, keeping in mind Gadd’s light-hearted warning that jingoists of either nationality will be asked to leave the room.

The presentation will provide an entertaining history and geography lesson. From Thomas Jefferson to George Bird Grinnell, by way of Triple Divide Peak and the Snow Dome, it will touch on the characters of the past and this landscape that commands attention.

Ben Gadd has always loved maps, which is what this talk is all about. Born in the United States, he was delighted to discover a map in 1968 that clearly showed Canada to be a separate country.

Not only that, Canada did not have conscription. Ben and his wife Cia, and their one-year-old son Will, who was already making first ascents of his high chair, headed north. The rest is part of Canadian Rocky Mountain history.

A resident of Canmore after living in Jasper for many years, Gadd is a geologist by training and the author of multiple books including the classic Handbook of the Canadian Rockies, and his novel, Raven’s End.

The program is free and open to the public.


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