|The camp site we stayed at in Waterton is just a few feet out of view on the right hand side of this photo.|
Sooner or later, ya gotta face reality...
"The long-term impacts on the guest experience and visitation in Waterton are going to be horrific, no question about it. The backcountry is burned to a crisp.
It will be about two decades before the trees in Waterton are taller than people walking through the forest. It could take a century for trees to be full-size again."
It really hurts to look at Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park photos. It makes me nauseous. But sooner or later, ya gotta face reality and deal with it: the incredibly beautiful area around the Waterton Townsite has been destroyed and will never look the same again in my lifetime. We are so grateful that we went there this August before it was destroyed. Oh, how we would be kicking ourselves if we had let fire smoke deter us. Yes, it was a little smokey (well, a LOT smokey) but at least the innate beauty of the area shined through everywhere we looked. We had one final chance to see the place before it flashed to black. The Waterton Townsite itself was saved from the fire but everything around the Township was burned either by the advancing fire front or by the back burns set to save the village. It's hard to imagine, hard to swallow and hard to face reality. But it's true. Source for quoted narrative above: http://rdnewsnow.com/article/553786/waterton-lakes-national-park-will-take-decades-recover-wildfire Source of the photos: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/securite-safety/feu-fire-kenow/feu-fire-images-05
We visited this exact spot during our stay in Waterton.
Will try to find the photo we took of those two iconic chairs.
We drove up this once lush Valley to visit a pristine glacial lake.
The team started work Monday morning at 8 a.m. MT and continued hard for the next 31 hours. From 9 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. the next morning, there wasn't time to take a break as the fired rolled up within about a hundred metres of the hotel. "The embers were rolling up on the porch of the hotel," Primrose said. "We did get showered with embers, right up to the hotel." With flames encroaching, a rain of embers came all the way to the doorstep of the historic Prince of Wales Hotel. "It was the most intense fire I've ever been involved with, and I was never at that point where I thought we would lose it," said Calgary fire district Chief Jeff Primrose on Thursday. "Not even for a second." A team of about 50 Calgary firefighters, in rotating groups, was sent to the national park to protect structural assets in the hamlet of Waterton as the wildfire approached. Crews from a number of other municipalities including Lethbridge and Taber were also called upon. Calgary's team returned home Wednesday as the risk to the town site declined. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/prince-of-wales-calgary-firefighters-1.4290763 Calgary fire Chief Steve Dongworth said local firefighters in Waterton, tasked with protecting the venerable Prince of Wales Hotel and other buildings, endured a hectic night facing down the massive blaze as it surged into the townsite. “To me, watching the fire coming down the valley at pace would have been very intimidating, and when the fire did arrive, it was very close,” he said, noting the crew worked in excess of 24 hours. “The building is unscathed to the best of my knowledge.” RELATED LIVE: Stay tuned here for real-time updates on the fire and evacuations Dongworth said crews in Waterton had been dousing the 90-year-old hotel with water and fire retardant foam in advance of the blaze. The hotel’s location, surrounded by grassland instead of forest, also helped keep it safe, said the chief. Calgary crews were able to quickly snuff flying embers from the wildfire, some the size of baseballs, which posed the greatest danger to the structure, Dongworth said. “We had a solid plan in place and we told them although the structures are valuable, none of them are more valuable than the lives of any of our people,” he said. http://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/waterton/securite-safety/feu-fire-kenow
Oh so heartbreaking, John. I have some beautiful memories of Waterton and photos from the days of film. I'll treasure them.
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