City of Cranbrook

Before Humans Arrived

When the Rocky Mountains rose skyward along the length of our continent, the trench between that newborn landscape and the next ranges to the west was generous. Over hundreds of thousands of years the great river valleys and the plains at the bottom of the trench became lush with vegetation and animal life. While the craggy peaks themselves remain bare of growth, packed with ice, sand and clay, the trench offers sturdy range grasses and forests of pine, fir, larch and cedar. At a point just north of the 49th parallel, creeks and rivers rush down the slopes to the Kootenay going south, the Columbia flowing north in a temporary separation of intention. Deer, elk, black and grizzly bear, crows, eagles and hummingbirds, mountain sheep and goats, trout and char, bunchgrass and kinnickinnik, wolves and wolverine, geese, ducks and grouse, beaver and marten, cougar and moose and voles-and more live in the trench

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