About the Crown of the Continent

At the narrow waist of the Rocky Mountains, where Alberta, British Columbia, and Montana meet, sprawls one of the wildest, most diverse and intact ecosystems in the temperate zones of the world. In the early 1890s, conservationist and Glacier Park advocate George Bird Grinnell dubbed this transboundary region the "Crown of the Continent," highlighting the region's geographical importance as the headwaters of the continent, spilling cold, clean waters to the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay.

The Crown region embraces Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and the surrounding region of unbroken prairie, deep forest, plunging valleys, and jagged peaks. The Crown is defined largely by the habitat needs of wide-ranging wildlife that thrive here, such as the grizzly bear, wolverine, wolf, and bull trout. Thriving, changing gateway communities also reside here. Native people continue to occupy territory that has been their home for thousands of years, clinging to their ancestral languages and cultural traditions.

The region is bound by the Rocky Mountain Trench on the west and the prairie foothills to the east of the mountains. The southern extent includes the Blackfoot Valley where the forests, waters, and wildlife of the Bob Marshall Wilderness slide into open grasslands. To the north of the region are the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks of Banff and Kootenay.

In 2008, National Geographic Society joined together with 50 regional conservation, business and tribal organizations, local communities and government agencies to produce the Crown of the Continent Geotourism MapGuide. This unique map, based upon nominated sites, experiences, events and stories submitted by local residents, describes what's special about this place and what people are doing to keep it that way. The intended audience includes both local residents and visitors who seek to sustain and enhance the distinctive geographic character of this place.

Ultimately, however, a map printed on a single piece of paper can only go so far in telling the rich stories of this place. This web site, produced by local contributors and field experts, begins to tell the rest of the story of the Crown of the Continent.

Who Are We?

The Crown of the Continent Geotourism Council is a regional network of communities, tourism bureaus, conservation and business groups, educators, First Nations, government agencies, and others working together in the region that includes and surrounds Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in southwestern Alberta, southeastern British Columbia, and northwestern Montana. Established in 2007, the partnership's focus to date has been collaboration with National Geographic Society on the Crown of the Continent MapGuide and the development of this website.

The Council serves as a source of information about the Crown of the Continent region for visitors and residents to understand, appreciate, and help preserve its geographic character, including historical, cultural and environmental heritage. Looking forward, the Council intends to pursue cooperative projects that promote regional understanding and appreciation, encourage sustainable businesses, support community well-being, advance landscape stewardship, and provide outstanding visitor experiences.

Participation in the Council is voluntary and without cost. As an educational and information-sharing network, it is open to all groups and individuals who embrace our vision and goals.


Sheena Pate
Project Coordinator / Website Editor
(406) 407-0421

Email Sheena Pate

The Partners

We gratefully acknowledge the involvement and support of these partners:

Alberta Ministry of Tourism, Parks and Recreation
Alberta Southwest Regional Alliance
Alpine Artisans Inc
Blackfeet Nation
Blood Tribe/Kainai Nation
Braided River Publishing
Bureau of Land Management, United State Department of Interior
Castle Crown Wilderness Coalition
Central Montana Regional Tourism Commission
Chinook Country Tourist Association
Chinook Institute for Community Stewardship
College of the Rockies, Tourism Knowledge Cluster
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes
Continental Divide Trail Alliance
Cowboy Trail Tourism Association
Dames on the Range
Fernie Chamber of Commerce
Flathead Beacon
Flathead Convention and Visitor Bureau
Frank Slide Interpretive Centre
Glacier Country Regional Tourism Commission
Glacier National Park
Glacier Natural History Association
Henry P. Kendall Foundation
Kalispell Chamber/Convention & Visitor Bureau
Kootenay Rockies Tourism, British Columbia
Ktunaxa Nation
Miistakis Institute
Montana Office of Tourism
Montana Scenic Loop
National Geographic Society, Center for Sustainable Destinations
National Park Service, United States Department of Interior
National Parks Conservation Association
Pekisko Group
Rocky Mountain Grizzly Centre
Roundtable on the Crown of the Continent
Seeley Lake Chamber of Commerce
Sonoran Institute
Southwest Montana Regional Tourism Commission
Sustainable, Obtainable Solutions
Swan Ecosystem Center
The Sustainability Fund of Kalispell
Top 10 Scenic Drives in the Northern Rockies
Trail of the Great Bear
Travel Alberta
U.S. Forest Service, United State Department of Agriculture
University of Calgary, Program of Environmental Design
University of Montana Center of Natural Resource and Environmental Policy
University of Montana, Institute for Tourism and Recreation Research
Waterton Lakes National Park
Waterton Park Chamber of Commerce
Whitefish Convention and Visitor Bureau
Wilburforce Foundation
Yellowstone-to-Yukon Conservation Initiative