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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: It is Summer 2018 and Waterton is Open for Business Again in Alberta, Canada

Now More Than Ever

Waterton is a place dear to our hearts. Its scenery is breathtakingly beautiful. But, we are most fond of its people. Waterton is open for business in 2018!

The tiny seasonal village adopted us, the Two Cowboys, as their own. From our start in 2016, they gave us an opportunity to showcase their natural beauty, the variety of food and intrigue, to the world. We cannot start a Summer in Canada without our annual visit to Waterton. This is our fourth year.

Open for Business!

Waterton After the Fire


At the end of May, the snow melted, and the remaining trees were green. The flowers were out all over Waterton's grasslands, and in the town, the baskets were in bloom. We made our way to our favourite camping spot unsure of what 2018 will hold for the destination. During the last couple of years, we've worked with Waterton to promote the town, the destination and its businesses.

This year we were even more committed than usual to show the world a little of our Spring paradise, because of the recent Kenow fire. The disaster destroyed a lot of the natural attraction of Waterton in 2017. The good news was that the village was saved, except for the Parks Canada Information Centre (which was slated to be moved anyway), and nobody got hurt. We found Waterton open for business.

At the townsite, many of the faithful pilgrims returned to pick up the pieces after the disaster, with the hope to continue where they left off, before the fire. The big question on everyone's mind this year was if Waterton would recover from the incident. Will the visitors return and will patrons again come to enjoy the beauty and the people of the community?


With every significant and sudden change in people's lives, such as what happened in Waterton, there is a sense of loss. However, such a move also provides ample opportunity for reflection and renewal. Some may regard the event of a massive forest fire in Waterton as a disaster and a loss. We make the case that it need not be the case.

It is not a loss for nature. Instead, it only a step in the continues cycle of renewal. It's a natural cycle that been playing itself out in the forests and on prairies of Canada, over and over for millennia. It will continue to do so long after humanity left the planet. Waterton's forests and animals didn't lose something. It gained necessary renewal.

The question that remains is if the event will translate into a loss for the town and its businesses. Will tourism return in 2018 like before and will the businesses suffer if they don't? People will be aware that what they came to expect from Waterton's Park landscape is no longer there. Instead, there is something different, and equally spectacular, or will they drive by towards the other natural attractions of the Province?

The opportunity now, for the visitors to the Park is to discover this natural process of renewal and experience the unique ways that trees recover, new flowers blossom and animals return to a rebirth of a region.

With it, the businesses in the town have an opportunity to renew and refresh. The tourists are unlikely to return to previous numbers in the near term. It will put pressure on revenue and force a rethink for a complacent few that got too accustomed to the visiting masses. For others, it will open opportunities to try something new, upgrade, or for new businesses to step in where some may decide to throw in the towel.

Waterton's businesses and its people are as much an attraction for the destination as its natural beauty. They are all given a chance to renew, rebuild, attract and grow. The ones that take this chance will be the folks who prevail and flourish and who we will promote in years to come. Those are the people you will find in Waterton this, the next and the years thereafter.

We are glad that Waterton is once again open for business.

Hendrik van Wyk
Waterton Cowboy

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On the Water of Waterton




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