The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society is calling on Parks Canada to ditch their plans to construct a paved, 107 km-long hiking and biking path from Jasper to the Columbia Icefields.
The pronouncement is one of 17 recommendations made by the organization in a new report charging that Canada’s national parks are not being managed in a way that Canadians expect, says CPAWS’ Northern Alberta Executive Director, Alison Ronson. “For Canada’s supposedly most protected areas we’re not managing them for nature and that’s a major concern,” Ronson said. The report says that decisions are being made behind closed doors and with little to no regard for Canadians’ input. Ronson cited the Glacier Discovery Walk in 2012 and the expansion of the Lake Louise ski resort last year as examples of developments which had significant opposition but which went through anyway. “A couple thousand people responded to the Lake Louise expansion proposal in a short time, 90 per cent of the comments were opposed to that development and it still went through,” she said. CPAWS is suspicious that the Icefields Trail is also a done deal. “That obviously has funds allocated, yet there’s been no environmental assessment conducted, no public discussion about whether this is what people want. It was all done behind closed doors,” Ronson said. See a related story.