Parks Canada asks for input on replacing Glacier Park Lodge

Parks Canada wants your suggestions on what should replace the old Glacier Park Lodge in Rogers Pass.

Lodge and gas station buildings will be torn down to make way for new amenities, Parks Canada says

Thousands of tourists pass through the Rogers Pass every year and stop at the Parks Canada historic site next to the former Glacier Park Lodge (Chris Corday/CBC)

It's a familiar sight for motorists travelling the Trans-Canada Highway through Rogers Pass, but it's been sitting empty for half a decade.

Parks Canada is getting ready to tear down the old Glacier Park Lodge in Glacier National Park and is asking for input on what should replace the more than 50-year-old building.

"We are seeking input for Canadians and visitors to Canada regarding the services and amenities that ought to be available to visitors to Rogers Pass," Nick Irving, superintendent of Glacier National Park and Mount Revelstoke National Park, told the Calgary Homestretch.

"We're also probing a little bit to find out about the accommodation requirements of visitors."

Parks Canada has set up an online form where people can submit their ideas on what amenities they would like to see in Rogers Pass.

'Significant health and safety concerns'

In 2016, lawsuits involving Parks Canada and the lodge's previous owners left the the building in legal limbo before Parks Canada announced it would be tearing down both the lodge itself and the gas station on the site.

Irving said both buildings need to be torn down because of deterioration from weather and "significant health and safety concerns" from asbestos and wildlife.

The 50-room Glacier Park Lodge has sat empty since 2012. (Chris Corday/CBC)

There's also been a significant amount of vandalism to the structures, Irving said. 

"Not a lot of upkeep was done prior to the closure, and in the hotel's case it closed very suddenly," he said.

Spraypaint covers the back entrance to the Glacier Park Lodge. (Chris Corday/CBC)

While the gas station's sub-surface gas tanks have already been removed, Irving said remediation work will start in the spring or early summer for "residual soil contamination around the service station."

What should replace the lodge?

Irving said plans are already underway for a new, well-lit, 24-hour bathroom facility on the site.

As for what visitors to Glacier National Park are asking for, Irving says a place to eat and somewhere to lay their heads are topping the list of requests.

Irving said there are a number of campgrounds in the area but most are only accessible during the summer months because of the terrain and the weather conditions.

"Those are the dominant ones; food and accommodation," Irving said. "But we're also hearing from some folks saying it would be nice if we could do a family function of some variety."

The railway built through Rogers Pass in 1885 is widely considered a historic marvel of Canadian engineering, and connected Canada from coast to coast. It's celebrated at a Parks Canada discovery centre beside the Glacier Park Lodge. (Revelstoke Museum and Archives)

"We're hearing again and again and again that people found Rogers Pass to be a very, very unique and special part in the Canadian landscape and want to spend more time there," he added.

Visit www.pc.gc.ca/rogerspassfuture to submit your suggestions to Parks Canada.


With files from the Calgary Homestretch

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