By David F. Rooney
The changing nature of communities like Revelstoke and Golden — both fast on their way to becoming important resort communities — poses “opportunities and challenges” for Parks Canada, says the federal agency’s draft Management Plan for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks and the Rogers Pass National Historic Site.
“The development of these mountain resorts (Revelstoke Mountain Resort here and Kicking Horse Mountain resort near Golden) has brought an influx of new visitors and new residents to the communities,” says the draft report, which was made available to people who attended a Parks’ Open House at the Community Centre on Tuesday.
“The demographics of visitors to the parks… have begun to change, particularly during the winter months. These changes in the nature and character of the parks’ gateway communities pose both opportunities and challenges.”
Glacier, for example, is seeing a fairly dramatic rise in the number of backcountry skiers, something it is attempting to address through changes to its permitting system. And Parks Canada is working with other local agencies such as the Canadian Avalanche Centre to improve avalanche and skier safety programs. The agency also needs a source of gravel for highway operations and construction projects in the two parks.
All of this poses a challenge, too, for Karen Tierney, the two parks’ superintendent. Her eyes fairly sparkle when she talks about what the future holds.
One thing she particularly enjoys discussing is the “cultural landscape” and what a great concept that is. The cultural landscape is a kind of confluence of natural geography with the works of humankind. The two parks and the Rogers Pass National Historic Site surely have a lot of cultural landscape from the ruins of Glacier House to Glacier Circle Cabin, Eva Lake Cabin and the historic Nels Nelsen Ski Jump.
“If you look at our geography and then all of the things that have happened here you get a wonderful sense of it,” she said of the cultural landscape concept at the open house.
Tierney believes very strongly in the need to build a closer and more open relationship between the parks and the two communities and that is something the report implies will happen in the future.
The management plan will continue to be worked on locally for the rest of the year. It is to be completed and presented in the House of Commons in the early spring.
For more information about Parks Canada in general, or about our two local national parks and the national historic site or about the management plan, please call 250-837-7500 or send an e-mail to MRG.Planning@pc.gc.ca. You can also visit the two parks’ websites at www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/revelstoke and www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/bc/glacier.