Parks Canada to create expert panel to advise on sustainable travel within Banff National Park

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Parks Canada will establish an expert panel to advise on the development of a long-term framework for visitors to move sustainably within the Bow Valley in Banff National Park, the agency announced on Tuesday.

Each year, more than 8.3 million vehicles travel into Banff National Park, either to visit or to travel on to other destinations, Parks Canada said in a press release.

Over the past decade, overall traffic within the park has increased by 30 per cent. Some specific roads — including those leading to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake — have seen increases of up to 70 per cent. During busy times, access to Moraine Lake is restricted to shuttles.

To ensure that ecological integrity, biodiversity and conservation are priorities, the panel will be asked to reconsider transportation methods and networks, the release said.

"There is an opportunity now to develop a new vision and transform the way that people access and move through the Bow Valley in Banff National Park," Ron Hallman, the president and CEO of Parks Canada, was quoted as saying.

Helen Pike/CBC
Helen Pike/CBC

"With the creation of an expert panel, Parks Canada seeks to … create the conditions for future success by ensuring that new knowledge, new ideas and new evidence inform our important work as an international leader in protected areas management."

The panel will also advise on the use of renewable energy and waste reduction, and consult on providing mobility options to visitors and residents.

Parks Canada said it will engage Indigenous partners, key stakeholders and the public to develop "terms of reference" for the expert panel, and seek members with expertise in areas such as protected area management, transportation and tourism.