Cave and Basin National Historic Site
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The Cave and Basin National Historic Site of Canada is located in the town of Banff, Alberta, at the site of natural sulphurous springs around which Banff National Park was first established. James Hector of the Palliser Expedition of 1859 first recorded the thermal springs in the area. The Canadian Pacific Railway arrived in the Bow Valley in 1883, and three rail workers, as well as other claimants, attempted to make a land/mineral claim. A governmental court enquiry ensued and the Canadian government led by Prime Minister John A. Macdonald decided to set aside 26 square kilometres encompassing all of the thermal mineral springs as a reserve and protected area. Today, the Cave and Basin is rightfully recognized as the birthplace of Canada’s National Parks system.
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