FEATURE - Bison Belong in Banff National Park

April 06, 2012

Bison Belong in Banff National Park

The bison is one of the world's iconic species that enjoys a history rich in archeology, paleontology, story, legend, and oral and documentary history.

On January 27, 2012, the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada announced the beginning of consultation on the reintroduction of Plains Bison to Banff National Park. The Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation and Bison Belong are participating in the consultation. Over the next year Canadians will have the opportunity to shape and inform Parks Canada's plans for the future of bison in Canada's first national park.

This happened a year and an half after Parks Canada Banff National Park Management Plan highlighted a specific goal dedicated to wild bison. "Reintroducing a breeding population of the extirpated plains bison, a keystone species that have been absent from the park since its establishment (...)" under the section for Species at Risk, article p.38.

Before wild bison are on the ground in the Park, let's remember the story of Bison re-introduction...

  • In 1996, Banff Bow Valley study recognizes that the fence around the Buffalo Paddock combined with the other recent developments in and around the Town of Banff formed a serious impediment to the movement of non-captive wildlife in the Banff Bow Valley.

  • In 1997, Banff National Park Management Plan provided that the Buffalo Paddock fence and captive herd be removed but also stated that release of wild bison into the Park should be studied.

  • In 2000, Canada National Parks Act calls for the restoration of ecological integrity which includes native species and processes like grazing by bison.

  • In 2009, Banff Park Management Plan review draft contemplated re-establishment of a wild buffalo herd in Banff National Park.

  • In 2010, the new Banff Park Management Plan calls for the reintroduction of a breeding population.

  • In 2012, the federal Environment Minister announced the launch of a public consultation to reintroduce bison in a mid to short term horizon.

With all your help and the dedicate work of Bison Belong and Parks Canada, wild bison would return to roaming a landscape they lived in for thousands of years. Be part of its future.

Let's bring the Plains Bison (Buffalo) back to Banff National Park. Let your voice be heard for the herd at bisonbelong.ca.


Added: April 06, 2012

WHAT'S THIS? This is a frequent question for researchers at the historic Luxton Home Museum. After several years of searching the collections in the home, unusual items are still being found in the deep storage recesses of this modest semi-bungalow. During the 90 years the Luxton family lived in the home, they collected unusual items from many parts of the world. They were crowded into extensive storage areas, lining several of the rooms, the attic and the lower floor.



Added: April 06, 2012

The Luxton house is now an accredited museum open to the public from July 01 to September 02, from Friday to Sunday, 11:00am to 3:00pm. Private tours of the Luxton home and Garden are also available by appointment with the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. Come visit the house and the gardens!



Added: April 06, 2012

The Eleanor Luxton Historical foundation is proud to count among its trustees, George Colpitts. George is a University of Calgary associate professor in the Department of History where he specialises in Canadian environmental history, conservation and preservation policies, fur farming, discourse and textual analysis of fur trade documents and descriptions, First Nations history, the Canadian North, the fur trade in French and English Canada, Western Canadian History. Mr. Colpitts joined the Foundation in 2011.



Added: April 09, 2012

Establishing the Eleanor Luxton Historical Foundation's scholarships at the Universities of Calgary and Alberta for work in the field of Western Canada history has yielded a variety of papers illuminating the history of our province.