The controversial Glacier Discovery Walk proposal for Jasper National Park is expected to get the thumbs up or thumbs down from Jasper National Park superintendent this week.
The proposal by Brewster Travel Canada to install a privately-run, glass-floored interpretative walk perched about 30 metres above the Sunwapta Valley touched off protests, including an online campaign that gathered over 175,000 signatures in opposition.
So, is are there any proposals like this for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks? And if there were, how would the public find out about them?
The Times Review requested an interview with Parks superintendent Karen Tierney, but we were told she wasn’t available.
A spokesperson said that, “there are no private initiatives proposed at this time in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks similar to the Glacier Discovery Walk.”
That does not mean that something similar couldn’t be proposed. Parks Canada uses five “core principals” when assessing proposals for new recreational activities in parks. They include:
– Respecting natural and cultural resource protection goals;
– Facilitating opportunities for enjoyable and meaningful visitor experiences;
– Promoting understanding and appreciation of the protected heritage place;
– Valuing and involving local communities; and
– Respecting the character of place.
If someone comes up with a proposal that supports these principals, it could move to the next steps, including an environmental assessment and public input. “Based on all of the above, Parks Canada will make a decision on the new activity,” they wrote.
In a Jan. 6 media release discussing the Glacier Discovery Walk proposal, Parks Canada says private entities have always worked in partnership with the national park system: “Like most national parks worldwide, protected areas provide economic benefits to local communities and businesses while ensuring that these special places are protected for future generations. Brewster Travel Canada started operating in Banff National Park in 1892, welcomes more than 1.5 million tourists annually, and employs 300 annually. The head office is located in Banff, with satellite offices in Lake Louise, Jasper and Calgary.”