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Federal approval of Glacier Discovery Walk threatens Jasper National Park


February 9, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Ottawa -- The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is disappointed that Parks Canada has approved a proposal by Brewster Canada Ltd. for the controversial Glacier Discovery Walk in Jasper National Park. 

The development will result in a 400-metre walkway and massive glass-floored "skywalk” along the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park, replacing a highway pullout where park visitors can currently park their vehicles and enjoy the free view. 

Since the project was first made public, CPAWS has opposed this development proposal, as have many other organizations and individuals from across Canada.  “We’re opposed to this massive development because the long-term impact it may have on wildlife in the area, including mountain goats and other sensitive species, is simply not known,” says Éric Hébert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director, based in Ottawa.

This type of development also contradicts the National Parks Policy which states that: “Only outdoor activities which promote the appreciation of a park's purpose and objectives, which respect the integrity of the ecosystem, and which call for a minimum of built facilities will be permitted.”
CPAWS has kept its supporters informed on this issue, generating thousands of letters of opposition from Canadians to the government and the Parks Canada Agency. 

“We’re extremely disappointed with this decision.  The Canada National Parks Act states that ecological integrity shall be the first priority when managing the parks and we don’t believe that this decision reflects this priority,” adds Calgary-based Anne-Marie Syslak, Executive Director of CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter.

CPAWS supports appropriate opportunities within our national parks for people to grow their appreciation of nature and the special ecosystems they protect. However, projects like this are not suitable within our national park boundaries. A similar US project went ahead in the Grand Canyon, but outside the park boundaries.

“We don’t feel that thrill-seeking experiences such as a glass-bottomed viewing platform offer the type of activity within national parks that builds people’s appreciation of nature,” says CPAWS Northern Alberta chapter Executive Director Kelly Sloan.

“We’re also concerned about the direction Parks Canada is taking by approving this type of development, which appears to be driven by commercial rather than ecological considerations. The agency should have more stringent filters on their management plans and decision-making processes to protect the ecological values and natural landscapes of our national parks,” adds Hébert-Daly.

Read our full submission to Parks Canada.

Take action on this issue.

CPAWS is making news on this topic.

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Contacts:  Holly Postlethwaite, National Public Relations Coordinator, holly@cpaws.org