Jasper National Park, Canada

April 10, 2013 by  

Jasper National Park, Canada, In Alberta, Canada, backcountry skiers are in an uproar over caribou. Jasper National Park, working alongside Parks Canada, has announced plans to close the Tonquin Caribou Range in the Cavell/Astoria Trail areas as well as the Portal Creek and Tonquin Valley to help protect a dwindling caribou population. And this closing would restrict all wintertime backcountry-skier access.

It’s a long road ahead for Jasper National Park’s dwindling caribou population.
According to Alisson Ogle, PR and communications director at Jasper National Park, Parks Canada is working to address every factor that is causing what she calls a critically low caribou population. Those factors include altered predator/prey dynamics, habitat loss and human disturbance. “It’s important to address these threats now,” she says.

And while caribou are adapted to live at high elevations where deep snow helps them avoid predators, Ogle says, “research shows that wolves can follow ski trails into caribou habitat, allowing them to more easily access and prey on caribou.”

“There isn’t any evidence that shows a single caribou has died directly from a wolf following a skier’s tracks,” says Monica Andreeff, executive director of the Association for Mountain Parks, Protection and Enjoyment, a not-for-profit that represents skiers, hikers, cyclists and tourists by advocating bounds between ecological integrity, visitor experience and sustainable tourism.

Four herds use the 10,878-square-kilometer park, totaling fewer than 200 caribou—one herd has just six remaining. The proposed closure would affect 18 percent of Jasper National Park’s total acreage, restricting visitor access between November 1 and March 1.

“This plan is very shortsighted and disrespectful towards Canadians and taxpayers alike,” Andreeff says. “This park is protected for Canadians, not from them, and should not be put on the shoulders of the backcountry ski community.”

Ogle defends that the backcountry will be open after March 1, which, she says, provides backcountry skiers the opportunity to enjoy long days and warmer weather. “The majority of winter backcountry users in Jasper ski during the spring season,” she explains.

But Andreeff says there wasn’t enough time allotted to reach an amicable solution. “The plan now,” she says, “leaves skiers emotional and upset.” Parks Canada hopes to announce their final decision by May 1.

Report to Team

Please feel free to send if you have any questions regarding this post , you can contact on

Disclaimer: The views expressed on this site are that of the authors and not necessarily that of U.S.S.POST.


Comments are closed.