Nakimu Cave, among the top 10 largest cave systems known in Canada (and the second largest in the national park system, next in size to Castleguard Cave in BANFF NATIONAL PARK), is an underground fantasyland of black pools, hidden waterfalls and "moonmilk." Moonmilk is an extremely rare formation of calcium carbonate kept in partial suspension by bacterial action. Nakimu has the most extensive moonmilk deposits known. Half of the park is above the treeline. Much of this area is rock and ice but there are also extensive areas of alpine TUNDRA, where meadows burst into flower only for a few short weeks each year. Below the meadows, stands of Engelmann spruce and alpine fir descend to the interior rainforest of western red cedar and western hemlock. High mountains, deep snow and long winters make a harsh environment for wildlife. Some species, eg, mountain goat, are able to withstand the rigorous conditions year-round. Others, eg, hoary marmot, hibernate in winter. Glacier is famous for its black and grizzly bears, which find abundant forage on the park's avalanche slopes. Populations of grizzly bears, along with mountain caribou, are threatened by loss of contiguous old-growth forest habitat outside of the park.
Author MAXWELL W. FINKELSTEIN
Links to Other Sites
Glacier National Park of Canada
This illustrated Parks Canada website describes the ecology, geography, and history of Glacier National Park of Canada
Glossary: Glacial Features
A glossary of terms that relate to glacial features. Check the rest of the site for additional information. From the Department of Earth Sciences, Simon Fraser University.
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