Greg Fenton has taken an extended leave of absence from his duties as superintendent of Jasper National Park during a time when Parks Canada is expected to make announcements which could affect winter recreation use in Jasper National Park.
Fenton, who will take five months off to spend time with his family, indicated in an interview October 29 that winter users in the Maligne Valley could be affected by forthcoming caribou conservation measures.
“We’re sorting out implications of that then we’ll position ourselves for announcing decisions on what it is we need to do that might impact—or not—winter recreation users in the Maligne Valley,” he said. “Certainly the Maligne Valley is one we need to move on, we’re just figuring out exactly what we need to move on.”
Fenton is taking five months off to help his parents perform humanitarian work in Rwanda. Acting in his stead will be Alan Fehr, a former manager and superintendent from Parks Canada’s Western Arctic and Northern Prairies Field Units. Fehr will inherit a number of Fenton’s files, including implementing Jasper-specific measures to support Environment Canada’s Caribou Recovery Strategy, which was released in June. While Fenton couldn’t say what measures might be coming down the pipe to meet conservation requirements, he did indicate winter users in the Maligne Valley could be affected by a forthcoming announcement.
“Certainly before the end of November there will be some decisions announced,” Fenton said. “Alan will be working with the team on those.”
On October 29, Parks Canada released a document which noted the agency is reviewing its caribou conservation actions to ensure they are aligned with the Caribou Recovery Strategy.
“Under Canada’s Species At Risk Act, Parks Canada now has a legal obligation to implement caribou critical habitat protection measures by November 28, 2014,” it reads.
Fenton admitted the topic was breezed over during the October 15 and 16 Annual Public Forums.
“One of the things we didn’t talk about in detail at the Annual Forum was caribou conservation,” he said.
“We are trying to finish the analysis of what having an improved recovery strategy means to conservation actions on the ground and potential impact on winter users in Jasper. That one’s probably more imminent in terms of timing.”
Fenton couldn’t be more specific about forthcoming announcements.
“You’ll have to stay tuned for those,” he said.