Parks Canada has recently released their survey results regarding the future highway and infrastructure projects at Rogers Pass National Historic Site in Glacier National Park.
Almost 2,000 people responded, with 57 per cent of people being from Alberta and 37 per cent from B.C. The remaining six percent were from the rest of Canada and international.
Here are what some of the respondents said:
- 82 per cent asked for new overnight options, with one person commenting, “…the visitor offering should include leading sustainable low energy use & consumption four-season accommodation that can house skiers as well as summer tourists.”
- 55 per cent requested food options, such as coffee, soup/sandwiches, which are particularly handy when people get stuck due to extended closures.
- 25 per cent asked for a gas station.
- Nine per cent wanted nothing new, with one person commenting, “Rogers Pass is a great place and I think the fewer amenities offered the better…keep Parks natural because the more remote and removed from human influence the more special our experiences are within the Parks.”
Other requests included additional interpretation programs, such as guided walks, fireside talks, more information on Indigenous peoples, railways history, mountaineering, and wildlife. One popular response was improved pull-outs and better turning lanes. Other suggestions were improved washrooms, cook shelter, warming hut, gear storage, picnic area, and a playground.
One visitor, Briana, age three, asked for a unicorn that loves candy.
The Alpine Club of Canada and Revive Rogers outlined the need for affordable accommodation, “Our members are frequent visitors to the Rogers Pass area and we realize support for change and reinvestment is strong among all those who have ever explored (this) area. Proper accommodation and services has long been the missing link in the use and enjoyment of this stunning area.”
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) said this is a key moment for improve ecological integrity. They support upgrades to help visitors connect to nature, culture and history as long as they do not result in further fragmentation or habitat loss. They said,”Glacier National Park was established in 1886, at which time it was stated that the park included the ‘best scenery in the neighbourhood’. This is still the case – and the redevelopment should honour this. Updates to or redevelopments to Rogers Pass should be focused on enabling people to connect to the natural environment rather than increasing the built development footprint in the areas.”
Parks Canada says demolition and remediation of contaminated soils at the site was completed in 2018.
Some scheduled updates for this year include:
- Construction of a new public washroom facility, day use area and parking lot on the former service station site. Construction is expected to begin in spring 2019.
- Sewer and storm water system upgrades to support current and future facilities in Rogers Pass.
- Improved safety and reliability of the TransCanada Highway through the parks including: intersection and access improvements, pavement repairs, rock scaling, and new avalanche mitigation.
However, Parks Canada is still in discussion on other upgrades and ultimately the future of Rogers Pass.
Full results of the survey can be found here: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/glacier/info/plan/discussion/reaction