Starting this weekend, the Bow Valley Parkway will be closed at night to protect wildlife.

Parks Canada says a part of Highway 1A will be closed from 8 p.m. until 8 a.m. MT from March 1 to June 25.

The 17-kilometre stretch runs from east of the Johnston Canyon campground to the parkway's east entrance from the Trans-Canada Highway.

Park superintendent Dave McDonough says this keeps people away from wildlife for a period of time each day.

"This is a period of time when this area is very important for wildlife and particularly for sensitive species, such as grizzly bears and wolves," he said. "And by putting in a travel restriction overnight it allows those species to utilize this area in an undisturbed way."

The ban also includes cyclists.

McDonough says people can still access businesses along the parkway by taking the Trans-Canada Highway to Castle Junction and onto the parkway there.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) applauded the move, saying it will give grizzly bears and wolves much needed habitat security in the spring to find food and raise their young.

“Millions of visitors come to the park annually to experience nature, knowing that grizzly bears still roam here. This initiative confirms that wilderness protection is the foundation of management in the park and the cornerstone of nature-based tourism,” said Wendy Francis, a program director for CPAWS, in a written statement.