"Go as far as you can see; when you get there you'll be able to see farther." ~ Thomas Carlyle
The town of Jasper is world famous as a tourist resort. It is a special town. An 1813 fur-trade outpost became a railway siding in 1911, four years after Jasper National Park was established. Eventually its beautiful Rocky Mountain setting at the confluence of the Miette and Athabasca Rivers began to attract skiers, hikers and sight-seers. Because it is in the park, development is limited but always under threat. The possibilities are limitless. Opulent resorts, hotels and tourism retail support a steady permanent population of over 4,000 people and attract another 500 or so seasonal workers.
Although it is not far from me, about a three-hour drive, I seldom go in summer when the population doubles with tourists. I do like to down-hill ski though and Marmot Basin Ski Resort is a spectacular experience. The valley affords the town itself a relatively mild climate and in the spring, even when the mountains are deep in snow, the town can be bare and dry as it was in March of 2010 when I took a walk down a back alley behind the retail strip.
Even a special town is still a town. Goods must be got and consumed. Waste must be managed. Structures must be built from locally found or delivered materials; they then must be maintained. Electric light, heating and water must be provided where families settle and their children are raised.