Covering 6,641 square kilometers (2,564 square miles),
Banff National Park lies on the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains in
Alberta, Canada. Banff was the first national park declared in Canada, and
the third national park in the world. The park’s origin lies in an
accidental discovery of a cave containing hot springs in 1883. The park
began as a 26-square-kilometer hot springs preserve.
The Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) instrument on NASA’s
Landsat satellite captured this true-color image of Banff National Park on
September 14 and September 23, 2001. In this image, bodies of water appear
royal blue, snow-capped peaks appear white, and the land appears in varying
shades of brown. The park’s contours are outlined in pale beige.
Banff’s mountainous terrain includes glaciers, valleys, rivers, and
meadows. Parks like Banff that span a wide range of altitudes have a treeline, below which trees flourish and above which
few trees can grow. Vegetation in the park ranges from conifer and aspen
trees below the treeline to alpine shrubs and even bare rock above the
treeline. Besides fish in its waterways, Banff’s wild inhabitants
include black bears, grizzlies, wolves, moose, mountain caribou, hoary marmots, pikas, ground squirrels,
eagles, and harlequin
NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided courtesy of the University of Maryland’s Global Land Cover Facility.