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Protect Jasper National Park from proposed development at Maligne Lake

Jasper National Park in Alberta is one of Canada’s most spectacular and beloved national parks. Part of the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site, Jasper is home to Maligne Lake, one of the most photographed landscapes in the world. Maligne Tours, the commercial operator that runs daytime operations at Maligne Lake, is proposing to build a resort along the shores of this iconic lake.

On July 25, 2014, Parks Canada announced a decision on the resort proposal. While they rejected the proposed hotel building, they gave the green light to proposed tent cabins to advance to the next stage of the approval process, saying they will amend the park management plan to allow this development to proceed. CPAWS has filed a legal objection to the tent cabin proposal and a court date is now set for late October 2015 in Edmonton.

This proposal directly contravenes national park policy prohibiting new commercial overnight accommodations outside the park town site – a policy that was enacted specifically to control commercial development in our Rocky Mountains national parks. The proposal also threatens sensitive wildlife, including the endangered Maligne herd of woodland caribou, which only has four animals left and needs less development in its habitat, not more.

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Stand up for Jasper!
Stand up for Jasper!

Your voice is needed to ensure park policies are respected so Jasper and our other Rocky Mountain national parks are protected for future generations of Canadians to appreciate and enjoy.

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The threat

The Maligne Lake resort proposal in Jasper National Park disregards the very policies and laws that are in place to protect wilderness and wildlife, now and in the future.

CPAWS is calling on the federal government to say no to overnight commercial accommodation at Maligne Lake because:

  • It contradicts park policies designed to limit development – The proposed tent cabin development contradicts the 2010 Jasper Park Management Plan and the 2007 policy on outlying accommodations, both of which specifically prohibit new commercial accommodation outside Jasper town site in order to limit development pressures. Allowing the Maligne Lake hotel to proceed would create a precedent that could open the floodgates to uncontrolled development in our national parks.
  • It creates a bad precedent – Changing the park management plan to allow overnight accommodations at Maligne Lake would create a precedent that could open the floodgates to more commercial development in our national parks.
  • It threatens at-risk wildlife – An increase in morning and evening traffic on the Maligne Lake road could jeopardize the very survival of the Maligne herd of woodland caribou which has declined precipitously in the past 15 years from more than 60 to just 4 animals. The resort proposal could also harm grizzly bears and harlequin ducks – both sensitive species which rely on the northern end of Maligne Lake as important habitat.
  • It doesn’t respect the law – According to the National Parks Act, the federal government’s first priority in all park management decisions must be maintaining or restoring the integrity of park ecosystems. A proposal that threatens park wildlife doesn’t meet this test. 
  • Canadians don’t want it – A survey of Maligne Lake visitors showed 99% were satisfied with their visit. There is no evidence that park visitors and the Canadian public want this strip of development along the shoreline of Maligne Lake, and no demonstrated need to build overnight accommodation. Visitor surveys and polling show that Canadians want their national parks kept wild, and that people come to Rocky Mountain National Parks for the scenic natural beauty and wildlife viewing.
  • Jasper is a global treasure – As a World Heritage Site, Canada has promised the world we will protect Jasper National Park on behalf of the global community.

What CPAWS is doing

Working closely with the Jasper Environmental Association and other partners, CPAWS Northern Alberta Chapter and National Office are raising public awareness about Maligne Tours’ proposal and the threat it poses to Jasper’s pristine natural beauty and wildlife. We are urging the federal government to respect national park policies and laws that were put in place specifically to ensure the future well-being of park wildlife and wilderness by controlling commercial development.

Jasper in the news

Taming the Wild - Winnipeg Free Press, Sept. 9, 2014

Precedent-setting decision in Maligne Lake - The Fitzhugh, July 30, 2014

Proposed hotel in picturesque Rockies park raises ire - Globe & Mail, April 9, 2014

Maligne Lake Hotel Violates Parks Canada Policy: Former Bosses - Huffington Post, April 9, 2014

Jasper development opposed by former Parks Canada managers - CBC, April 9, 2014

CPAWS Northern Alberta Executive Director explains why she’s concerned about development near Jasper’s Maligne Lake – CBC, Nov 27, 2013

Maligne Tours grilled by Edmonton crowd over development proposal for pristine Jasper lake – Edmonton Journal, Nov 26 2013

Exceptions are not an option – Jasper Fitzhugh, Dec 4, 2013 

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