Special Status of Waterton Park
Waterton Lakes National Park is a very special place. Indeed, it has been recognized as such both by the people who visit it and by the world at large. Some of these special designations are detailed below:
"The Geology recognizes no boundaries, and as
the lake lay...no man-made boundary could cleave the
"It seems advisable to greatly enlarge this
park... it might be well to have a preserve and
breeding grounds in conjunction with the United States
Waterton Lakes National Park and Glacier National Park (in the US) share the designation of an International Peace Park. There is a fascinating history between the shared border of these two parks (see Chronology).
On May 2, 1932 and June 16, 1932 the American and Canadian Governments approved legislation for the creation of the world's first International Peace Park. The International Peace Park is a symbol of peace and goodwill between the United States and Canada. It also represents the need for cooperation and stewardship in a world of shared resources. This is not only reflected between countries, but also between provinces, with the Akamina-Kishinena class A provincial park in British Columbia, located on Waterton Park's Western Border and Glacier's northern border.
Today, both parks strive to strengthen their International Peace Park status through shared management, not only between themselves, but also with their other neighbours.
The Waterton Lakes National Park Biosphere Reserve:
The biosphere reserves program, called "Man and Biosphere" (MAB), was started by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) in 1970. The programs goal is to achieve a better understanding of the relationship between humans and the natural environment by integrating knowledge and experience from both natural and social sciences.
As of 1999, there were more than 356 reserves in 90 countries worldwide. UNESCO has declared 193 regions, each representative of the main natural regions of the world. Of these, 12 are in Canada. Waterton Biosphere Reserve represents Rocky Mountains and bunchgrass prairie landscapes.
Biosphere reserves ideally consist of two components:
The Waterton Biosphere Reserve brings people together to identify problems and their solutions based on the premise that the future health of the environment must be addressed through its sustainable and wise use.
The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) designates cultural and natural heritage sites that have outstanding global value. As of 1995, there are about 469 World Heritage Sites, 350 Cultural Sites, 102 Natural Sites, and 17 Mixed Sites.
The World Heritage designation gives a cultural or natural heritage site global recognition for its uniqueness. UNESCO designated the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park as a World Heritage Site on December 6th, 1995. The park was designated because it was an "outstanding example representing significant ongoing ecological and biological processes" - specifically because of its distinctive climate and landforms, the abrupt meeting of mountain and prairie, and its tri-oceanic divide (waters flowing toward three oceans). In addition to its exceptional natural beauty, it was also designated a World Heritage Site because of the cultural importance of its designation as an International Peace Park. The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park mirrors the freedom and friendship shared by Canada and the United States.
Natural Heritage Sites will be added to the World Heritage List if they fall under the following criteria:
Waterton Lakes National Park Resource Guide, Parks Canada