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Jasper: a Town and Park Historically Intertwined

2012-08-17 22:42:00
Jasper is a town that has survived despite economic ups and downs since the late 1800s . While it currently boasts high property values and impressive household incomes, this was not always the case. Indeed, there was a period during which much of Jasper was uninhabited.
The city began as a fur trading post owned by the North West Company. Nearby Jasper Forest Park was named after one of the posts' most well-liked operators. For a while, the area was a popular destination for fur traders, but as the demand for furs dwindled, so too did the town's economy.[1]
In an attempt to breath new life into the area, the government established Jasper Forest Park in the early 1900s, and their plan succeeded. There was an influx of outdoor enthusiasts that revitalized the area. Today, Jasper national park draws almost 3 million visitors every year, and for good reason: It boasts glaciers, hot springs, gorgeous views of the mountain range.[1]
As more people continued to visit the park, the transportation industry recognized the area's potential and The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway laid track from Winnipeg and Jasper. The railroad reached the park in 1911.[2] There was also a road constructed from Jasper to Alberta's capitol, Edmonton. The town, originally called Fitzhugh, grew quickly thanks to the railway station and the visitors it brought. In 1913, the town's changed its name to Jasper to accompany the park.[2]
The town continued to prosper and the first school opened in 1914.[2] In 1930, the park was officially nationally recognized and renamed Jasper National Park; 10 years later, the Icefields Parkway was constructed and opened up traffic between Banff and Jasper. Despite the town's popularity with tourists, there still wasn't a major highway connecting Jasper with the rest of the country. The Yellowhead Inter-Provincial Highway opened in 1970 -- today it's known as the Trans-Canada Yellow Head Highway 16.[2] This additional access increased Jasper National Park's renown, and in 1984 it was declared an UNESCO World Heritage Site, along with all the parks that make up the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.[2]
The fate of town and park have been enterwined since both came into existence. The connection has persisted partially because the town is physically located inside the park and therefore the Municipality of Jasper shares governing power with federal Parks Canada. If you're looking to vacation in a gorgeous town with easy access to world-class hiking, biking, camping at Jasper National Park and spectacular vistas of the Canadian Rockies, check out lodging close to Jasper and the park at Overlander Mountain Lodge.
The Overlander Mountain Lodge is an ideal spot to base yourself while visiting Jasper and the surrounding area.  The Overlander offers a unique mountain log lodge experience, with award winning gourmet dining, friendly and attentive service, and comfortable and relaxing accommodation. We also have Jasper Park's only vacation home rentals to accommodate larger groups and families.
[1] "Jasper, Alberta, Canada Travel History." Fresh Tracks Canada. n. page. Web. 16 Aug. 2012.
[2] "History." Discover Jasper. n. page. Web. 16 Aug. 2012.

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