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If you're headed to Banff this long weekend, expect congestion and make reservations

Make reservations, plan on walking or taking transit and don't come without a back-up plan if you are thinking of spending your Canada Day long weekend in the tourism hotspot of Banff.

The Canada Day long weekend is generally one of the busiest times of year for visitors to the area

This shot of Banff's main street, taken June 30, will likely look a lot busier tomorrow. The Canada Day long weekend is one of the busiest for visitors to the area. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Make reservations, plan on walking or taking transit and don't come without a back-up plan if you are thinking of spending your Canada Day long weekend in the tourism hotspot of Banff.

Parks Canada officials say the Canada Day long weekend is generally one of the busiest times of year for visitors to the area. 

Daniella Rubeling, Banff's visitor experience manager says for those going to Banff National Park, a plan is "essential." 

Daniella Rubeling, visitor experience manager with Banff, said traffic congestion and delays are expected throughout both the town of Banff and the national park. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

"We really want people to have a fantastic time out here, but in order to do that, people need to plan ahead," said

Rubeling said many parking areas could fill up early. In order to manage some of the demand, officials may implement some intermittent closures of areas to manage demand and to ensure there's safe emergency vehicle access.

Banff Mayor Corrie Dimanno said the town is welcoming visitors and has some suggestions to avoid traffic tie-ups.

"Please park as soon as you enter the townsite in our intercept parking, and take transit or walk and really enjoy the mountains," Dimanno said.

Banff Mayor Corrie Dimanno says the town's downtown pedestrian zones can accommodate plenty of people, though traffic is another story. (Dave Gilson/CBC)

Parks Canada is also asking visitors to ensure they don't leave out wildlife attractants, park only in designated areas, keep pets on leashes and give wildlife space.

It's also recommended that visitors prepare for weather changes, snow at higher elevations, changing stream levels and increased bear activity.

Banff Sunshine Village also plans to open Tuesday for skiing and riding until Sunday as a winter snowpack in Alberta's Rocky Mountains also means skiers and snowboarders can spend Canada Day on the slopes.

More visitor information can be found on the park's website.

With files from Dave Gilson, the Canadian Press

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