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Theme park-like attraction doesn’t belong in Jasper National Park


(Calgary, AB) – A massive theme park-like attraction proposed for Jasper National Park is drawing large-scale opposition from individuals who have just learned about it. In the past 24 hours, more than 1,300 people have sent letters to Parks Canada in opposition to the "Glacier Discovery Walk" being proposed by U.S.-owned Brewster Travel Canada.

Citing concerns about inappropriate commercial development and a lack of scientific data on the movements of mountain goats, sheep and other sensitive species, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) and individual Canadians are opposing a proposal by Brewster to blast out the side of the cliff beside the Icefields Parkway to build a "Glacier Discovery Walk".

Reminiscent of the Grand Canyon Skywalk – which lies outside of Grand Canyon National Park – the proposed theme park-like attraction includes a 400-metre walkway and massive glass-floored "skywalk" cantilevered 30 metres over the Sunwapta Valley. If the project is approved and this stunning viewpoint is privatized, visitors would have to pay fees ranging from $15 to $30 per person to access the Glacier Discovery Walk.

"The long term impact of this massive structure on wildlife in the area including mountain goats and other sensitive species is simply not known," said Anne-Marie Syslak, executive director of CPAWS Southern Alberta Chapter. "The Environmental Assessment commissioned by Brewster does not provide adequate data. Until the long-term environmental impacts of this development can be fully understood, this proposal should not be considered."

"This proposal goes against Parks Canada's own policy," said Kelly Sloan, Executive Director of CPAWS Northern Alberta Chapter. "Parks Canada's policy limits the agency to approving outdoor activities that respect the integrity of the ecosystem and call for a minimum of built facilities."
               
"The Glacier Discovery Walk proposal sets a dangerous precedent that could result in a renewed surge of inappropriate commercial development within the Rocky Mountain National Parks, putting their ecological integrity at risk," said Ottawa-based Eric Hebert-Daly, CPAWS National Executive Director.
               
CPAWS is calling on Canadians to let Parks Canada know that theme park–like attractions have no place in our national park system. Public comments on the Glacier Discovery Walk must be submitted to Parks Canada by Friday, December 16, 2011.

Take action on this issue.

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Contacts:

Anne-Marie Syslak, Southern Alberta Chapter - amsyslak@cpaws.org 1-403-232-6601

Edmonton: Kelly Sloan, Northern Alberta Chapter - ksloan@cpaws.org 1-780-432-0967

Ottawa: Holly Postlethwaite, National - hpostlethwaite@cpaws.org 1-613-569-7226