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The Lake Louise Mountain Resort is also located near the village. Lake Louise is one of the most visited lakes in the world and is framed to the southwest by the Mount Victoria Glacier.
Banff National Park spans three ecoregions, including montane, subalpine, and alpine. The subalpine ecoregion, which consists mainly of dense forest, comprises 53 percent of Banff's area. 27 percent of the park is located above the tree line, in the alpine ecoregion. The tree line in Banff lies approximately at 2,300 m (7,500 ft), with open meadows at alpine regions and some areas covered by glaciers. A small portion (3 percent) of the park, located at lower elevations, is in the montane ecoregion. Lodgepole pine forests dominate the montane region of Banff, with Engelmann spruce, willow, aspen, occasional Douglas-fir and a few Douglas maple interspersed. Engelmann spruce are more common in the subalpine regions of Banff, with some areas of lodgepole pine, and subalpine fir. The montane areas in the Bow Valley, which tend to be the preferred habitat for wildlife, have been subjected to significant human development over the years.
Large species management
Elk are a very important species in Banff National Park, partly because they represent a source of food for declining wolves. However they also have harsh impacts on the environment. Large elk populations cause vegetation degradation, human–animal conflicts and destabilization of biological interactions. In 1999, the implementation of the Banff National Park Elk Management Strategy by Parks Canada and the Elk Advisory Committee aimed to monitor and control the population to decrease conflicts and aid ecological process recovery.
At least 280 species of birds can be found in Banff including bald and golden eagles, red-tailed hawk, osprey, and merlin, all of which are predatory species.
Archaeological evidence found at Vermilion Lakes indicates the first human activity in Banff to 10,300 B.P. Prior to European contact, aboriginals, including the Stoneys, Kootenay, Tsuu T'ina, Kainai, Peigans, and Siksika, resided in the region where they hunted bison and other game.
With the admission of British Columbia to Canada on 20 July 1871, Canada agreed to build a transcontinental railroad. Construction of the railroad began in 1875, with Kicking Horse Pass chosen, over the more northerly Yellowhead Pass, as the route through the Canadian Rockies. Ten years later, on 7 November 1885, the last spike was driven in Craigellachie, British Columbia.