Jasper Alberta Alpine

Characterized by howling winds along rocky mountainous earth, our alpine is the most intricate of Jasper's three life zones. Flowers that survive in the alpine do so using subtle strengths. Large, cup-shaped flower or leaf pedals act like mirrors, focusing sunlight on the centre of the vegetation, where pollen is produced. This creates a warm, mini-environment, attracting alpine insects to spread pollen to other vegetation, procreating the species. Reddish pigments in flowers also help convert light into heat and act as a kind of antifreeze for the plants.

Wildlife like marmots and pikas often inhabitant the alpine. These small mammals live in dens under the rocks making high-pitched whistles or squeaks when danger appears. The hardy ptarmigan is the only bird to frequent the alpine year-round. Turning white in the winter, it is perfectly camouflaged and burrows deep into snowdrifts to survive the cold temperatures.

The alpine life zone is the most fragile life zone in Jasper. While difficult to reach, some alpine areas in the park are relatively accessible. The Whistlers tramway and certain trails, especially in the Columbia Icefield and Maligne Lake areas, allow visitors to discover the alpine with only a minimal amount of effort. Wild plants and flowers will not reproduce if trampled or picked, and even something as simple as moving a stone can decrease a plant's chance of survival.

Please stay on the hiking trails and remember to take only memories and pictures with you when you leave.

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