Sustainable movement panel good news for Banff National Park - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

Sustainable movement panel good news for Banff National Park

Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
Moraine Lake is a popular destination in Banff National Park. Andy Holmes/Unsplash

Initiative a great first step towards a broader visitor use strategy for Banff

Y2Y welcomes a November 3 announcement from Parks Canada regarding the creation of an expert panel to advise on a plan to address how people get around the Bow Valley in Banff National Park. 

One of the keys to the long-term success of Canada’s busiest parks, especially Banff, is making sure visitors and residents can move around safely and sustainably. Exploring all available options for mobility and energy efficient transportation will help address this issue.  

“Parks Canada is a proven world-leader in helping both people and wildlife move through Banff National Park successfully and safely, through the creation of an incredible network of wildlife crossing structures and fencing,” says Hilary Young, Y2Y’s Alberta senior program manager. 

“It is marvelous to hear they are engaging the community and weighing science, evidence and the perspectives of Canadians in this new plan. We all have a voice when it comes to making big decisions, and consultation is key.”  

The Bow Valley and Banff National Park are important for wildlife movement and habitat on the continental scale and what is decided here sets the tone for what happens regionally and internationally. 

Wildlife face challenges regarding coexistence and transportation, so approaching these issues with a mind to maintain — or improve — them is key.  

Visitation on the rise

With more than four million visitors a year, vehicle traffic into Banff National Park is on the rise. Exploring the latest technology and transportation mitigation options would help support visitors touring the area in a way that does not negatively impact the important ecological values.  

“Popular parks around the world have come up with creative solutions to minimize impacts of high visitation to the most popular spots, including networks of buses and shuttles. I’m confident that solutions exist for Banff that would help people move but also keep those special elements that draw people from around the world here,” she says. 

Young says it is incredibly important to consider the big picture even in regional decisions. By using a comprehensive approach that looks beyond park boundaries, it is possible to provide wonderful visitor experiences in one of Canada’s crown jewel parks, but also set the stage for environmentally and economically sustainable growth.   

“What we do now decides the future for all visitors and residents of Banff, including wildlife. This initiative is a great first step towards a broader visitor use strategy for Banff National Park. We welcome it and look forward to engaging and encouraging our supporters to do the same,” says Young.