Environmental groups want Parks Canada to say no to future development in Banff and Jasper
David Suzuki Foundation, CPAWS say ‘relentless focus on marketing, tourism’ must stop
Some of Canada's biggest environmental conservation groups have issued a joint statement asking the federal government to say no to future development in Canada's national parks.
The groups — which include the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute — have been meeting with Parks Canada this week in Banff, Alta.
There is a growing concern that the federal agency has become far too focused on increasing tourism, especially in Banff and Jasper.
"We've identified that there's been a certain change in budget allocation within Parks Canada," Eric Hébert-Daly, the executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS), told the Calgary Eyeopener.
"You'll see, for example, a significant increase in staffing when it comes to visitor experience. But a significant decrease in staffing when it comes to conservation," he said.
'Nibbling away' at nature
Hébert-Daly said Parks Canada's changing mandate is "nibbling away at the very nature that people are coming to see."
In the joint statement, environmental groups are calling on the federal government to say no to three proposed projects: the expansion of the Lake Louise ski area, a resort at Maligne Lake and a $66-million bike path through "caribou and grizzly bear habitat" in Jasper National Park.
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They say there is an "urgent need" for Parks Canada to "reverse the relentless focus on marketing, tourism and increasing visitation."
Hébert-Daly said neither Parks Canada or the federal environment minister has made a formal response to their statement.
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener