The exceptional beauty of our vast western landforms is a constant enjoyment for those of us privileged to live in the High Plains. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks system draws tourists from around the world to share the wonders of Lake Louise, the Kicking Horse Pass, and the Athabasca Glacier.
Dale Leckie, an award-winning geologist, shares his intimate knowledge of the geology of Banff, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks in his 2017 roadside tour guide “Rocks, Ridges, and Rivers.” A finalist in the High Plains Book Awards’ Medicine and Science category, Leckie provides detailed information on where to stop and hike along the 300-mile route from Calgary to Miette Hot Springs, deep in the Jasper National Park. This small, beautifully illustrated book takes the reader far beyond a list of scenic turnouts, providing geological details of how, when and why the amazing landforms came to be. He shares with the reader, for example, how the Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park came to have fossil remains of early aquatic life forms more than 500 million years old. The book is replete with Leckie’s scientific understanding of Alberta’s fascinating geologic natural history.
“Rocks, Ridges, and Rivers” would be an excellent reference guide for any adventure along the trail through the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks system. The book is presented in eight sections, beginning outside of Calgary and proceeding west. Detailed guidance on where to stop for best viewing and suggested hiking trails is provided. The depth of geological detail provided in each section can easily be skimmed for travelers less interested in the tectonic forces, sedimentary deposits and erosion that created this region’s magnificent beauty. This book masterfully blends the history and science of western Alberta’s rocks, ridges and rivers, earning its place as a finalist in this year’s High Plains Book Awards.
Dianna Linder for the Billings Gazette, Aug 28, 2018
This past summer my daughter and I used Dale Leckie’s amazing book, Rocks, Ridges and Rivers: Geological Wonders of Banff, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks, as a guide while completing the Adventurous Journey of her Duke of Edinburgh’s Silver Level award. It truly is an incredible resource to so many ‘wonders’ in our Rocky Mountains! After previously traversing the Wapta Icefield on a 3 day/2 night trek, we used Dr. Leckie’s book on a separate out trip to examine current glaciation from the Athabasca Glacier through the Icefield Parkway to Moraine Lake. We were able to stop at almost every lookout and hike outlined in Chapter 5 (“Along the Ridge: The Icefield’s Parkway”) and were educated and awed by the fabulous scenery and inspired insights of the geologic processes before us. Our second day took us from Lake Louise through Banff to Bow Valley Provincial Park. Again, we followed the guide book and enjoyed so many of the lookouts and hikes, some of which, even as native Calgarians, we had never been to before! It was a special trip for us and Leckie’s book made all the difference: I highly recommend this informative work to anyone who spends time in our Rockies wondering why they look as they do!
For those struggling to understand how the Rockies were made and shaped, there is a new book available that offers a friendly introduction to local geology. Primarily a driving guide, Rocks, Ridges, and Rivers: Geological Wonders of Banff, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks is a 216-page guidebook, published by Broken Poplars, and written by Calgary geologist Dale Leckie. Launched in Calgary at Shelf-Life Books on July 26, Leckie’s book focuses on the geology of the main highways of Banff, Yoho, and Jasper: specifically, the Trans-Canada from Banff to Field and the Icefields Parkway (Hwy 93 north) from Lake Louise to Jasper.
Leckie begins with the big picture, reaching back in time to explain how the Rockies developed, before moving on to the eight color-coded geological road trips, which are accompanied by full-color maps, diagrams and photographs (and some art work). Along with the geology, Leckie touches on the history, as well as the natural history, of each site.
It is well written, easy-to-use, informative and jargon-free