Mt. Norquay ski hill plans summer opening
Environmentalists worried about the effect on wildlife
Mount Norquay ski resort is asking permission from Parks Canada to open during the summer months.
Norquay is currently the only ski resort in Banff National Park that does not also operate in the summer.
The resort wants to operate its chair lifts so tourists can access high altitude hiking trails and a tea house.
"[It] gives one a whole new appreciation of the park because you see it in its grandeur," said co-owner Peter Sudermann.
The plan also includes installing cables and ladders to create a climbing route on the mountain for non-expert climbers. Such ‘via ferrata’ — Italian for iron road — are common in the European Alps.
But some environmentalists are worried opening Mt. Norquay in the summer will mean added stress on a key wildlife corridor.
"It’s well known that the area is used frequently by grizzly bears. It’s also known that those slopes … are really critical for wildlife to move," said Mike McIvor, president of the Bow Valley Naturalists.
Parks Canada officials are still reviewing Norquay’s plan. No date has been set for a decision.