The Bear & The Butterfly is closing down.

After several years with a decline in tourist numbers in Banff and the current global recession, The Friends of Banff have decided to close The Bear & The Butterfly. We have worked hard this summer to keep the store going, it is with regret that we are announcing the closure for the first weekend of October. We would like to thank Kathleen, our retail manager, the retail team and all of our customers for the support and time they have given the past few years. Our Parks Canada Information Centre retail store is running at reduced hours, from 9am-1pm until further notice, and we will still be operating this store during the Summer months.

Don’t miss out on our up to 70% off sale on select items currently at The Bear & The Butterfly.

Bison Belong

Bison were a historic part of the Bow Valley landscape many years ago, and Parks Canada is looking to make them a part of the landscape once again. The Friends of Banff and Park Radio are working with the Bison Belong initiative to help educate people on the historic role of Bison in the Bow Valley, and what their reintroduction will mean for Banff National Park, its visitors and its residents.

With the possible reintroduction of a species in Banff National Park we are faced with new problems.

I invite you to visit the Bison Belong website to make a decision for yourself.

We would love to see these animals roaming freely again sometime in the near future in Banff National Park. They Belong where they once were.

Listen to former Parks Canada Science Manager with Banff National Park, Cliff White, explain how Bison fit into the larger landscape.

Northern Lights in Banff National Park

Above: Callum Snape photographs the Northern Lights from the Tunnel Mountain Resorts in Banff looking towards Lake Minnewanka.

Over this summer we have been fortunate enough to have the Northern Lights over Banff National Park three times. Each time has been more spectacular than the last. May 1st / August 6th / September 9th

Keep your eyes out and your ears open and you might just be able to catch the next ones.

A hike to Mt. Assiniboine

Last week, I (Callum), went on a 4 day hike through the Rockies to see Mt. Assiniboine, a goal set by myself for the summer.

The total distance added up to an enormous 65 km, and was by far the most amazing hike I had undertaken. I started at Sunshine Village, through to Citadel Pass, down the Vally of the Rocks to the stunning first campsite at Lake Og.

Above: Og Lake, Campsite 1. Behind soars Mt. Assiniboine our next destination

After camping here for the night I moved on hiking through the Assiniboine’s First Nation land and to Lake Magog which sits under a Glacier and Mt. Assiniboine.

Above: Mt. Assiniboine, Lake Magog, Sunburst Lake & Cerulean Lake

I was advised to hike the “nublet” (a short 2 hour hike to a spectacular viewpoint) this was the highlight of the trip for me. It allowed me to appreciate the sheer size of Mt. Assiniboine and the Glaciers that surround it.

The campsite here was really nice, the weather during the night wasnt as nice. After a stormy night we woke up and left for Wonder Pass and our third and last campground, Marvel Lake. Wonder Pass is stunning, most pass’ tend to be tough going for hikers but this was the opposite. I hiked through meadows of Wildflowers, fields of rainbow-colored plants and birds.

Above: A Ptarmigan perched on a rock in a meadow of Wildflowers

Hiking around Marvel Lake was long and tedious but the views were amazing, the brightest blues imaginable. When we arrived at Marvel Lake Campground it was beginning to get cold but I promised myself that I would swim in a lake on this trip. So I went for a swim Marvel Lake (which by the way is fed by a Glacier) and it was extremely cold but well worth it. That evening the temperatures dropped to O degrees Celsius and I awoke the next morning with a frozen tent and frozen food.

The final part of the hike to me to Shark Mountain and Spray Lakes, the weather was great and the final section was finished within a few hours. I arrived to a car parked there a few days ago by some friends and drove out along the spectacular Spray Lakes.

This was an amazing hike and one I really recommend if you like distance over altitude as most of the hike is downhill and it had the best views of all the places I have hiked since living in the Rockies.

Friends Summer BBQ

The Friends of Banff team, their families and pets had a great BBQ over on the shores of Lake Minnewanka last week, check out the photos. A huge thank you to Harry for taking us over in his boat.

“Save Banff’s Wildlife”

Since Spring we have lost some of our animal friends in the Park due to the Canadian Pacific Trains and Speeding Motorists on the Trans Canadian Highway that passes through our National Park.

Every year hundreds of animals are killed in Banff on the railway & highway. However, for two local Photographers, Cai Priestley & John E. Marriott, the recent killing of a Female Grizzly that left two young cubs behind was enough. Both Photographers need your help to put pressure on CP Railway and Parks Canada.

You can help by visiting their Facebook Page – Save Banff’s Wildlife. There you can get all the information you need on how you can help save not only the wildlife in our Park, but for other National Parks in the Canadian Rockies too.

Iphone app – Banff Park Companion

Truly the perfect companion for anyone wishing to fully experience the grandeur of the Canadian Rockies within Banff National Park. A complete “guidebook” to the Rockies… and it’s on your iPhone! One of three “Companions” that cover Canada’s southern Rocky Mountains. Requires no “network” or “wireless” connection for full functionality. All information, photographs, and mapping points are integrated into the app itself.

GPS mapping identifies Mountains, Lakes, Points of Interest, and your Location. Interpretive Info: Mountains – Naming history, Related information, and Stories. Geography and Geology – Eco-regions and Habitats, Flora and Fauna, Descriptions and Photos, Wildlife Watching Tips, Park History. Points of Interest: Viewpoints, Picnic Areas, Trail heads and Short Hikes, Campgrounds, Informational Points. Audio Commentary, By Canadian Rockies authors Ben Gadd, Chic Scott, and Michael Kerr, filled with information by Dave Birrell – a geophysicist, teacher, Canadian Rockies author, and accredited professional guide with the Interpretive Guides Association – and in conjunction with the Friends of Banff National Park, your Park Companion features unmatched information about more than 250 mountains, lakes, and points of interest and includes 500 magnificent pictures.

Not only will you have access to the geological, geographical, and historical information that Dave has developed over the past 40 years, the app helps you recognize the mountain and lakes that surround you. (You can take it on short hikes, too!) No longer will you be left wondering what surrounds you.Whether for a day, a week, or just passing through one afternoon, your Park Companion will help you discover the natural and cultural environment, as well as the beauty of Banff National Park.

The Banff Park Companion can be Purchased here on Itunes: Banff Park Companion – Mountain Apps Inc.

Check out our Park Radio Iphone App too, to listen to our radio featuring interviews, podcasts, trail reports, weather updates:Banff’s Park Radio 101.1FM – Podcast App – Wizzard Media