Jasper is situated on the eastern side of the Rockies in Jasper National Park at the bottom of the Athabasca River Valley. Jasper’s Rockies have a distinct climate created by a combination of elevation, latitude and rainshadow effects. The winters are long and cold, the summers short and warm. The main effect of the changing global climate in Jasper is the incidence, intensity and spread of wildfires and glacial melt.
Climate, geology, soil, flora & fauna are all interlinked within a complex web called an ecosystem. Jasper’s Rockies are made up of many diverse ecosystems: marshes, rivers and grasslands in the valley bottoms; steep forested slopes mid mountain; and rocky tree-less ridges high on the mountainsides.
The mountains and valleys surrounding Jasper are divided into three distinct ecological zones, MONTANE, SUBALPINE & ALPINE. All of these have specific moisture levels, soil types, directional aspects and angles of slope, determining the plants & animals that will thrive there.
The valley is a transportation corridor for animals and people: 53 mammal species; 280 species of bird, fish, amphibians & snakes; and, of course, the 5,000 residents of Jasper and over two million annual visitors to Jasper National Park.