Parks Canada emailed me today in regards to the Glacier Walk proposal in Jasper National Park. They provided several pieces of information:
- Setting the Record Straight (PDF)
- Questions and Answers – The Proposed Brewster Glacier Discovery Walk
- Link to Brewster’s Glacier Discovery Walk website
It almost sounds like the proposal has already been approved, and is just waiting on the an Environmental rubber stamp.
Here’s my thoughts on this proposal:
By “privatizing” a lookout and making it only available to paying customers of a corporation, Parks Canada are denying me my rights to visit this portion of Jasper National Park. The so-called alternative viewpoints do not give the same view as that from the soon-to-be-closed viewpoint.
There are no areas in any national park that I am currently precluded from visiting (to my knowledge). There will be one if this proposal is allowed to proceed. The only exceptions I know of are:
- areas that are closed due to Parks regulations (ie. Avalanche closures, bear closures, elk calving closures, caribou protection closures, seasonal closures, etc…).
- hot springs leases – these are operated by Parks Canada, or a contractor on Parks Canada’s behalf and are a traditional use of the National Parks. Heck, we may not even have National Parks if there hadn’t been a dispute over who owned the Cave and Basin hot springs in Banff National Park back in 1885.
All other leased areas I’m aware of can be visited by walking. I can walk to any portion of any leased ski area if I so choose. Lake Louise and Sunshine even have public trails that require no fees to use. I can visit any backcountry hut or lodge, no matter who owns it. I may not be able to afford to stay there, but that could be the subject of another blog post.
I feel so strongly about this that if it proceeds, I will likely make it a point to stop at this viewpoint to park my car for a visit on every visit to Jasper from this day forward, making sure to block access to the corporation’s vehicles and paying customers. I’m pretty sure am not the only one who feels this way too.