Stays at Lake Louise Inn feature visits to fossil sites

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LAKE LOUISE, Alberta -- In 1909, while riding his horse in Yoho National Park on the eastern border of British Columbia, Charles Doolittle Walcott, then head of the Smithsonian Institution, discovered fossils in a cracked rock.

The finding came to be known as the Burgess Shale, and the place is now a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Between June 1 and Sept. 30, the Lake Louise Inn, a 20-minute drive from the site, is featuring a commissionable Stay and Hike package, which includes overnight accommodations; a full-day, guided hike of the Burgess Shale and Mount Stephen Fossil Bed; lunch; and return transfers. Prices start at $158 per person.

The Burgess Shale fossils are unlike most fossils in that the soft body parts were preserved along with mineralized skeletal remains.

For many paleontologists, these fossils call into question Darwins theory of evolution by random mutation, making them, in the words of Harvard paleontologist and author Stephen Jay Gould, the worlds most important fossils.

The inn offers queen and king hotel rooms and family condos with kitchen facilities, with or without loft areas.

Facilities include an indoor heated pool, a whirlpool, a steam room and a supervised kids recreation room.

Lake Louise Inn is located in Banff National Park, which is part of the World Heritage Site that includes Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper national parks.

The region is home to ski resorts and wildlife such as grizzly bears, elk, wolves and long-horned sheep.

For information call (800) 661-9237 or visit www.lakelouiseinn.com.

To contact reporter David Cogswell, send e-mail to [email protected].

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