Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2011


Great Plains Research Vol. 21 No.1, 2011


© 2011 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


This book should be read more as a collection of essays on a wide variety of topics related to the Bow River than as a monograph. Each of its thirteen chapters examines an aspect of the history of human interactions with the river, ranging from ranching, forestry, hydroelectricity, and irrigation to urban sanitation, recreational fishing, flooding, and park building. The Bow River is amenable to a discussion of such diverse themes. Its headwaters are among the glaciers of the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park, but it also flows through the ranching country of the foothills, the major urban center of Calgary, Alberta, and fertile but semiarid plains. Thus, the river has been subject to a wide range of anthropogenic modifications that, according to the authors, left it "altered by but not destroyed." Reflecting developments in environmental history, the authors argue that the Bow River is a "joint project of nature and human culture."