News Release Article from
Parks Canada to consult Canadians on Icefields Trail project
Public consultations and environmental assessment set to begin
January 5, 2017 Jasper, Alberta Parks Canada Agency
In managing national parks, Parks Canada maintains or restores ecological integrity, and provides Canadians with opportunities to discover and enjoy them. Parks Canada protects and presents these treasures because they tell stories of who we are, including the history, cultures, and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.
As part of Budget 2016, the Government of Canada proposed a new bike and walking trail along the Icefields Parkway from Jasper to the Columbia Icefield. The Government is committed to preserving our national parks, while also providing more opportunities for Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our environment and heritage.
The idea of the Icefields Trail project is based on the Icefields Parkway Strategic Concept (2009), which was guided by a public steering committee with Indigenous representation and included input from the public. The concept for the project is also part of the management plans for both Jasper National Park (2010) and Banff National Park (2010), which involved extensive public consultations. In keeping with these guiding documents, extending the trail over the long-term past the Columbia Icefield to reach Lake Louise is also being considered.
Public consultation and engagement is a key priority for Parks Canada and appropriate attention will be given to consultation with Indigenous Peoples. In early 2017, Parks Canada will begin consulting with Indigenous Peoples, partners, stakeholders and the public on the Icefields Trail project. The Detailed Impact Analysis (commonly referred to as an environmental assessment), along with input from the consultations, will inform the decision on the overall project. The public would also be consulted on any potential extension of the trail to Lake Louise.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be $86.4 million. Budget 2016 earmarked $65.9 million for the consultation, design, and construction of the Icefields Trail. This investment would significantly reduce the funding required from Park Canada for this initiative, allowing the Agency to continue supporting a full range of programs and activities from ecological monitoring to new and innovative visitor experiences. Based on the outcome of the consultations and Detailed Impact Analysis, Parks Canada would contribute $20.5 million to the Icefields Trail project through its infrastructure investment program.
The Government is committed to investing in federal infrastructure assets, including national parks and historic sites, for the benefit of all Canadians. These investments bring Canadians together to celebrate our rich natural and cultural heritage.
- The Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the world, offering visitors vistas of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, glacier-fed rivers, and lakes and the opportunity to glimpse some notable Rocky Mountain wildlife such as mountain goats, bighorn sheep, wolves, black bears, and eagles.
- The Icefields Trail would follow Parks Canada's established processes and rigorous standards for ecological protection, while providing a high-quality and meaningful experience for visitors.
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Office of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change
Parks Canada Agency
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