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Banff National Park, Canada’s first park, became the template for conservation. When Jasper joined the park system a century ago, this corridor of conservation was complete. Within that protected zone, the small towns of Banff and Jasper have emerged. These two towns, where development is frozen and the idea of ecotourism has been around since the 1880s, have lived in harmony with the surrounding wilderness for decades.

Banff is far from a secret these days – crowds are inevitable and you will have to share those scenic lookouts. But most will agree that’s a small price to pay for a part of this country that will remain in your thoughts long after you bid the mountains au revoir.