Parks Canada

Parks Canada

December 08, 2006 15:00 ET

Minister Ambrose Announces Refinements to National Park Ski Area Management Guidelines

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(CCNMatthews - Dec. 8, 2006) - Ecological integrity of national parks is at the heart of refinements to the National Park Ski Area Management Guidelines announced today by the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada.

"Ecological integrity is and will continue to be my first priority in Canada's national parks. These refinements to the Ski Area Guidelines take a sound and sensible approach to ski area development," said Minister Ambrose. "Alberta's commercial ski areas are located in national parks and a World Heritage Site - natural areas that are, and must continue to be protected for all Canadians, now and in the future."

The guidelines announced today give ski areas the flexibility they have sought to meet the needs of skiers and improve their financial sustainability, subject to the preparation of Long Range Plans and the requirements of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. In addition, exceptions to the guidelines can be considered through Long Range Plans if there are substantial environmental gains. Parks Canada will not consider proposals for additional on-hill accommodation.

I've heard the views and concerns of ski areas, environmental groups and community leaders," said Minister Ambrose. "I encourage ski areas to fully embrace the goals of ecological integrity and the realities of operating in a national park and commit to developing Long Range Plans that address both their financial objectives and Parks Canada's legislated obligation to protect our national parks."

Ski area owners have asked for a clear process and the flexibility to be competitive and viable. They have asked to be able to widen runs, consider glading and new runs, expand parking, and provide warming huts. Under the refined guidelines, ski areas will have the ability to support more skiers, but growth limits will be established for ski-able terrain, the developed area and commercial buildings.

"I believe that leadership on the part of ski areas in supporting Parks Canada's mandate will improve the world class experience of visitors and enhance opportunities to achieve the objectives of both the ski hill owners and Parks Canada," added Minister Ambrose. "In addition, Parks Canada will seek to work together with ski areas, communities, the tourism industry and agencies to support a vibrant winter experience."

There are four ski areas in the mountain national parks: three in Banff (Norquay, Sunshine and Lake Louise) and one in Jasper (Marmot). Located in national parks, which form part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Park World Heritage Site, these ski areas provide unparalleled scenery and quality terrain in a wilderness setting, all within close proximity to high quality services and accommodations in the national park communities.

Banff and Jasper national parks are part of a system of national parks, national marine conservation areas and national historic sites that is recognized as one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected areas in the world.

(Also available on the Internet at www.pc.gc.ca under Media Room.)

Contact Information

  • Office of the Minister of the Environment
    Robert Klager
    Director of Communications
    819-997-1441
    or
    Parks Canada
    Western and Northern Canada
    Greg Kingdon, Senior Communications Advisor
    403-292-4540