Natural Beauty found in Devastation
I fell in love with Alberta’s Waterton National Park. I first visited the summer of 2016 with my husband’s family reunion. I personally think it’s pretty then our neighbor Yellowstone National Park. Probably the Oregonian Tree hugger in me. This August, when we came to help Grandpa close down the family’s ranch, we got a quick glance at Waterton before it had a mandatory evacuation. Wildfires from Montana were spreading fast, Southern Alberta was in a major drought already. Grandpa said they hadn’t had rain since May. So many farm’s crops were sitting ducks just waiting for a speck of fires. We traveled home for school. Two weeks later we came back up to Canada for a funeral. They had barley re-opened Waterton. 30% of the national park had burnt and a couple of tourist building, and homes were giant piles of ash.
It’s heart breaking to hear of all the families who lost everything. A friend of Grandpa lost two barns, his home, and 600 bales of hay. The hay alone was his year’s salary. The fire was within 10 miles from Grandpa’s Ranch. Then I had my grandparents in California have a mandatory evacuation for a fire near their home!
It’s going to take a long time until everyone can recover from their loses. I find it amazing how nature always finds a way to start over. My grandma told me that wildfires is nature’s way to cleanse and start over. I will always remember the beautiful Waterton I fell in love with, but look forward to see the natural beauty to come.