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Periodic Report on the Application of the
World Heritage Convention

Section II

Report on the State of Conservation of
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks
 

1 INTRODUCTION
 

1a State Party
CANADA
1b Name of World Heritage Site
Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks  
1c Geographic Coordinates
Latitude 50°34' - 53°28' N / Longitude 115°10' - 119°32' W  
1d Date of inscription
02/11/84  
1e Date of subsequent extension(s)
09/12/90

1f Organization(s) responsible for the preparation of report

Organization Name: Parks Canada
Name: Roulet, Jillian
Title: Field Unit Superintendent, Banff Field Unit
Address: P.O. Box 900
City: Banff, Alberta
Postal Code: T1L 1K2
Telephone: 403 762-1510
Fax Number: 403 762-1583  
Email: banff.superintendent@pc.gc.ca
 

Organization Name: British Columbia Parks
Name: Ross, Gail
Title: Planner
Address: 4051 18th Avenue
City: Prince George, British Columbia
Postal Code: V2N 1B3
Telephone: 250 614-9919
Fax Number: 250 565-9640
Email:
 

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2 STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE

2a Original justification for inscription
The original 1983 nomination suggested that the site meets all four natural criteria:

  1. Eevolutionary history: the site contains the Burgess Shale fossil site, one of the world's most significant fossil sites
  2. On-going geological processes: the Columbia Icefield exemplifies glacial processes, forms the headwaters for rivers on both sides of the Continental Divide and encompasses the karst features of Castleguard Caves; the Maligne Valley contains a major karst system
  3. Exceptional natural beauty: the Canadian Rockies landscape is one of exceptional natural beauty and attracts millions of visitors for this reason
  4. Habitats: because of the size of the site and the elevational range there is a diversity of vegetation habitats and undisturbed wildlife habitats; vulnerable species include the grey wolf and bighorn sheep and also of note are grizzly bears and woodland caribou

The 1990 nomination of provincial parks in British Columbia added significant features which the IUCN evaluation of 1984 had noted as missing from the original nomination: Mt. Robson, Mt. Assiniboine, and Fortress Lake. The 1990 nomination also re-iterated the proposal that the site be recognized under criterion (iv).

All key interrelated and interdependent elements of the Rocky Mountain ecosystem are included. The area is of sufficient size and diversity to contain self-perpetuating ecosystems where human impact is limited.
 

2b Criteria for initial inscription
Cultural Criteria:
Natural Criteria:

i
ii
iii
 

2c Agreed upon Statement of Significance
At the time of inscription, the World Heritage Committee did not agree upon a Statement of Significance.
Proposed Statement of Significance
The World Heritage Committee inscribed the site under natural criteria (i), (ii) and (iii).

The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks exemplify the outstanding physical and biological features of the Rocky Mountain Biogeographical Province. The Burgess Shale Cambrian fossil site in Yoho National Park and the Precambrian fossil sites in Mt. Robson Provincial Park contribute important information about the earth's evolutionary history. Classic illustrations of glacial geological processes are evident throughout the site, including icefields, remnant valley glaciers and exceptional examples of associated erosion and deposition features. The Canadian Rocky Mountains are renowned for their scenic splendour which includes striking mountain vistas, glacial lakes and alpine meadows. More than 95 per cent of the site remains as undisturbed natural wilderness and there is a high measure of ecological integrity throughout, with strong legal protection, which contrasts significantly with the modified landscapes in other parts of the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

(Note: The Statement of Significance proposed here reflects the definitions and numbering of the criteria at the time the site was inscribed on the World Heritage List. Changes in the definitions and numbering of the criteria since that time will need to be taken into account when officially submitting a Statement of Significance to the World Heritage Committee for approval.)

2d Criteria added after initial inscription
Since the initial inscription, the World Heritage Committee has not added additional criteria to the inscription.
 

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3 STATEMENT OF AUTHENTICITY/INTEGRITY

3a Initial evaluation of authenticity/integrity
In the 1983 and 1990 nominations, Canada stated that the majority of the lands included in the nomination were in a “natural state", with exceptions due to facilities and services for visitors or to national transportation and energy corridors through the area.

The IUCN evaluation of the original nomination noted that “the area contains the headwaters of major river systems and, combined with its large size, associated provincial park buffer zones, and the diversity of habitats, maintains a high measure of ecological integrity. The political boundaries are firm and unlikely to be modified." It noted that there was forestry and hydro development adjacent to the nominated area, providing increased human access to some parts of the parks. IUCN also pointed out that there were a number of sites that had been modified for tourism or transportation purposes, but acknowledges that “over 90 per cent of the site remains as undisturbed natural wildland."
 

3b Significant changes in authenticity / integrity
Since inscription, there have been significant changes in the authenticity / integrity of the site.
Description of changes in authenticity / integrity

  1. Ninety-five per cent of the national park lands within the site have been established as legally protected wilderness, replacing the former policy type of protection.
  2. The Canada National Parks Act (2000), which applies to the four national parks within the site, specifies that ecological integrity is the primary consideration in all management actions.
  3. Three British Columbia provincial parks (Mt. Assiniboine, Hamber and Mt. Robson) were added to the site, as recommended by the World Heritage Committee.
  4. Long-term protection of the provincial parks has been strengthened through amended legislation.
  5. All parks comprising the site have recent and current management plans which emphasize the protection of ecological integrity and the retention of natural conditions.
  6. Each national park has a current management plan that was greatly influenced by the Banff Bow Valley Study and the Report of the Panel on the Ecological Integrity of Canada's National Parks which emphasized the need to restore ecological integrity.
     
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4 MANAGEMENT

MANAGEMENT REGIME
4a Ownership/Management

Management under protective legislation
Description: The four national parks are managed under the authority of the Canada National Parks Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act, plus Parks Canada's Guiding Principles and Operational Policies. The three provincial parks are managed under the authority of the Park Act and the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act and associated regulations and policies.
 

4b Level of authority
State / provincial / territorial
Description: Level of authority also includes 'National'. Please see Sections 4c and 4e.
 

4c Legal status
The site consists of four national parks and three British Columbia provincial parks:

  • Banff National Park
  • Yoho National Park
  • Kootenay National Park
  • Jasper National Park
  • Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park
  • Hamber Provincial Park
  • Mt. Robson Provincial Park

The national parks are part of the national parks system of Canada. All land within the parks is owned and managed by the Canadian Government and is dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment.

The provincial parks are part of the provincial park system of the Province of British Columbia. All land within the parks is owned by the Province of British Columbia and is managed for the preservation of the natural environment and the use and enjoyment of the public.
 

4d Agency/agencies with management authority

Agency Name: Parks Canada
Name: Roulet, Jillian
Title: Field Unit Superintendent, Banff Field Unit
Address: P.O. Box 900
City: Banff, Alberta
Postal Code: T1L 1K2
Telephone: 403 762-1510
Fax Number: 403 762-1583
Email: banff.superintendent@pc.gc.ca
 

Agency Name: Parks Canada
Name: Boivin, Michel
Title: Field Unit Superintendent, Kootenay, Yoho, Lake Louise Field Unit
Address: Box 213
City: Lake Louise, Alberta
Postal Code: T0L 1E0
Telephone: 403 522-1250
Fax Number: 403 522-1279
Email: janet.klock@pc.gc.ca
 

Agency Name: Parks Canada
Name: Hooper, Ron
Title: Field Unit Superintendent, Jasper Field Unit
Address: Box 10
City: Jasper, Alberta
Postal Code: T0E 1E0
Telephone: 780 852-6171
Fax Number: 780 852-6229
Email: jasper.superintendent@pc.gc.ca
 

Agency Name: Mt Robson & Hamber Prov. Parks
Name: Cadden, Don
Title: Acting Manager, Omineca Region
Address: 4051 18th Ave.
City: Prince George, British Columbia
Postal Code: V2N 1B3
Telephone: 250 565-6135
Fax Number: 250 565-6940
Email:
 

Agency Name: Mount Assiniboine Prov. Park
Name: Stetski, Wayne
Title: Manager, Kootenay Region
Address: 205 Industrial Road G
City: Cranbrook, British Columbia
Postal Code: V1C 7G5
Telephone: 250 489-8558
Fax Number: 250 489-8506
Email:
 

Agency Name: Parks Canada
Name: Latourelle, Alan
Title: Chief Executive Officer
Address: 25 Eddy Street, 7th Floor
City: Gatineau, Quebec
Postal Code: K1A 0M5
Telephone: 819 997-9525
Fax Number: 819 953-9745
Email: alan.latourelle@pc.gc.ca
 

Agency Name: British Columbia Parks
Name: Wilkins, Nancy
Title: Assistant Deputy Minister
Address: 5th Floor, 2975 Jutland Road
City: Victoria, British Columbia
Postal Code: V8T 5J9
Telephone: 250 356-0139
Fax Number: 250 387-5669
Email:
 

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4e Protective measures and means of implementing them
Canada National Parks Act (2000) and associated regulations
Parks Canada Agency Act (1998)
Parks Canada's Guiding Principles and Operational Policies
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (2003)
Species at Risk Act (2002)
Fisheries Act (1985)
Protected Areas Act (BC 2000)
Park Act (BC 2000) and associated regulations

The Canada National Parks Act (2000) requires that “the maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks."

The Parks Canada Agency Act (1998) established an Agency “for the purpose of ensuring that Canada's national parks, national historic sites and related heritage areas are protected and represented for this and future generations and in order to further the achievement of the national interest as it is related to those parks, sites and heritage areas and related programs."
 

4f Administrative and management arrangements
There is no single management authority for the site. All parks within the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site are managed under national parks or British Columbia provincial parks regulations and authorities. A variety of arrangements are in place for coordination and collaboration on a variety of management and operational issues. The park managers of provincial and national parks work together and with managers of adjacent lands with respect to: human use management, human access, wildlife and vegetation management, and transportation planning. First Nations are consulted on broad management issues, however they are not directly involved in park management.

There are also specific inter-agency committees to promote information exchange and collaborative review of land management and resource issues including the Central Rockies Ecosystem Interagency Liaison Group, the Bow Corridor Ecosystem Advisory Group, the Foothills Model Forest, and the government of British Columbia's Interagency Management Committee.

There are four communities within the national parks - Banff, Lake Louise, Field and Jasper - for which a variety of management structures have been established. In general, these facilitate a financial structure so that municipal resources from leaseholders can be used to support community infrastructure. The Parks Canada Agency maintains control of planning approvals and land use in order to protect national park and World Heritage values.

Day-to-day management of the national parks is directed by the Field Unit Superintendents who report via the Executive Director of Mountain Parks and the Director General of Western and Northern Canada to the Chief Executive Officer of the Parks Canada Agency.

Day-to-day management of the British Columbia provincial parks is the responsibility of the regional managers who report to the Assistant Deputy Minister.
 

4g Significant changes in management regime since inscription

  1. The boundaries of the provincial parks have been established in legislation which is the strongest form of legal protection.
  2. A new act applies to the national parks. The Canada National Parks Act 2000 states that the "maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks."
  3. Wilderness areas have now been declared by regulation rather than by policy in the four national parks.
  4. Community plans have been prepared for Field, Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff. They apply the principles of minimizing environmental impact, encouraging appropriate use, allowing modest growth and ensuring stewardship. The plans identify limits to commercial growth. Community boundaries have been reduced in Field, Lake Louise and Banff to help ensure ecological integrity.
  5. The size of Mt. Robson Provincial Park was increased in 2000 by the addition of 60.3 square kilometres which may result in a proposal for expansion of the World Heritage Site.
  6. Commercial growth limits have been established for Outlying Commercial Accommodation facilities in the national parks.
  7. Some public and private facilities have been removed from the national parks to facilitate wildlife movements and reduce habitat fragmentation e.g., in the montane ecosystem of Banff National Park.
     

4h Management plan
There is a management plan in place for the site.
Summary of management plan
There is no single plan for the site but the management plans for the individual parks are co-ordinated. All Canadian national parks are required, in accordance with the Canada National Parks Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act, to have a current management plan which is reviewed at least every five years.

The Banff National Park Management Plan was approved in 1997. The management plans for Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks were approved in 2000. All four parks are zoned into five management categories: Special Preservation, Wilderness, Natural Environment, Outdoor Recreation and Park Services. The Wilderness category comprises 95 per cent of the total land area.

The management plans emphasize the retention of ecological integrity and, where appropriate, the restoration of areas that have been compromised by past human activities. The long history of human use and enjoyment of the parks is recognized and affirmed and limits are placed on visitor facilities and services in order to protect ecological integrity. Heritage tourism, which emphasizes appropriate activities, is a guiding principle. Regional integration of land use management with surrounding neighbours is encouraged because of the extensive habitat requirements of some key wildlife species such as grizzly bears and wolves.

The Banff National Park Management Plan was publicly reviewed in 2003. Amendments were made in 2004 which provide an updated grizzly bear management framework and a human use management strategy geared to improving visitor opportunities and reducing ecological impacts.

All management plans have been developed with extensive public involvement.

Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park's Management Plan was approved in 1989; a review is scheduled for 2005/06. The management plan for Hamber was approved in 1987 and for Mt. Robson in 1992. Both Mt. Robson and Hamber have updated Purpose Statements.

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URL:

Banff: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/banff/plan/plan1E
Jasper: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/plan/plan1E
Yoho: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/yoho/plan/plan1E
Kootenay: http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/bc/kootenay/plan/plan1E
Hamber: http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/mgmtplns/hamber
Mt. Assiniboine: http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/mgmtplns/mtassiniboine
Mt. Robson: http://wlapwww.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/planning/mgmtplns/ mtrobson/mtrobson.htm
 

FINANCIAL RESOURCES
4i Annual operating budget

C$ 34 723 000
 

STAFFING LEVELS (HUMAN RESOURCES)
4j Staffing levels
Full time: 490
Part time: 0
Seasonal: 0
Other: 0

The total number of person years for the site in 2003/04 is 490.

Banff Field Unit 171:

  • Administration 25
  • Resource Conservation/Planning 56
  • Communications 67
  • Technical Services 23

Lake Louise, Yoho, Kootenay Field Unit 153:

  • Administration 36
  • Resource Conservation/Planning 50
  • Communications 50
  • Technical Services 17

Jasper Field Unit 158:

  • Administration 32
  • Resource Conservation 55
  • Communications 55
  • Technical Services 16
     

Mount Robson and Hamber Provincial Parks:

  • Area Supervisor responsible for Hamber, Mount Robson and eleven other provincial protected areas
  • 1 Senior Ranger and 3 Auxiliary Rangers for Mount Robson
  • no staff dedicated to Hamber

Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park:

  • Area Supervisor responsible for Mount Assiniboine and twenty other provincial protected areas (of the twenty, 10 are Class A Parks and seven are conservation lands incorporated into the Columbia Wetlands Wildlife Management Area)
  • 1 Senior Ranger (6 months annually) assigned to Mount Assiniboine and the other provincial protected areas
  • 1 Auxiliary Ranger (June-September annually) assigned to Mount Assiniboine
  • 1 Auxiliary Ranger (June-September annually) assigned to Bugaboo and Mount Assiniboine Provincial Parks
     

SOURCES OF EXPERTISE AND TRAINING IN CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES
4k Sources of specialized expertise, training and services

  • Parks Canada Service Centres for expertise in cultural resources, environmental assessments, townsite planning etc.
  • Parks Canada National Office for expertise in policy, international relations etc.
  • Other federal government departments, universities and other academic institutions for specialized resource management advice
  • Professional expertise associated with the Foothills Model Forest
  • British Columbia Parks headquarters for expertise in resource management and policy development
  • Forest management expertise in the British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Canadian Forest Service.
     

VISITATION
4l Visitor statistics available

Visitor statistics are available for the site.
Annual visitation, methodology and trends
Visitor numbers for 2002 are:

  • Banff: 4,724,698
  • Jasper: 1,958,989
  • Kootenay: 1,847,997
  • Yoho: 1,135,282
  • Mt. Robson: 550,000
  • Hamber: 500
  • Mt. Assiniboine: 7,800

Visitation shows a long-term upward trend but there has been a levelling off in the last few years. Data is collected through traffic counters, entrance gate counts, backcountry registrations, campground registrations and sale of entrance passes.

4m Visitor facilities
Facilities include:

  • 8 visitor centres
  • 20 campgrounds with 5,200 sites
  • 3 hot pools
  • 4 ski areas
  • 2 golf courses
  • 3,600 kms of trails
  • 3 gondolas
  • 1 glacier snowcoach tour operation
  • 2 boat tour operations
  • Interpretive trails and facilities
  • Many picnic sites
  • 4 townsites with a full range of accommodation facilities, food and retail services
  • Backcountry lodges and huts
  • Hostels and outlying commercial accommodation facilities
     

4n Tourism/visitor management plan
There is a tourism/visitor management plan in place for the site.
Summary of tourism/visitor management plan
The park management plans address tourism and visitor management. The national park plans include a section related to tourism and a section on human use management. The recent 5-year review of the Banff National Park Management Plan includes an amendment related to managing human use. A Heritage Tourism Strategy is being implemented for the national parks with the tourism sector as a result of the management plans.

The management plans for Hamber, Mt. Robson and Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Parks also address tourism and visitor management. In addition, a management plan for the Berg Lake Trail has been completed.

In all cases, the emphasis is on tourism activities which are appropriate to the settings within the parks and the World Heritage Site.
 

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SCIENTIFIC STUDIES
4o Key scientific studies and research programs

The four national parks have extensive programs of applied science and adaptive ecosystem management. Since the early 1990s, park science capacity has improved by staffing science specialists in wildlife, aquatics, fire and vegetation, Geographical Information Systems, environmental assessment, and social science. Studies underway include research on grizzly bears, woodland caribou, wildlife movements and connectivity, natural disturbance patterns, fire effects and prescribed burns, human use related to trail recreation and effects on wildlife, patterns of visitor use, and restoration of aquatic environments. Ongoing research by others includes glaciology, climatology and landforms, and investigation of rates of glacial retreat.
Several research permits are issued annually in Mt. Robson Provincial Park. Recently work has been done on the Ediacaran reefs and shelly fossils in the Miette Group, the geology of the Windermere Turbidite System, the study of ancient benthic environments, the genetic diversity of whitebark pine, assessment of mercury contamination levels in Moose and Yellowhead Lakes and the assessment of organic pollutants in ospreys (Mt. Robson and Hamber).

Use of results of scientific studies and research programs
These scientific studies have made a significant contribution to the development of park management plans, environmental assessments, visitor education programs and decision-making for park management and operations. They influence the annual business plan for each park and identification of priorities. The studies influence collaborative work with adjacent land managers.

Examples include:

  • improved survival of grizzly bears
  • visitor facilities relocated away from sensitive habitats
  • restoration of lakes previously stocked with exotic species
  • re-introduction into former habitat of an endangered snail species
  • state of the art highway crossing structures for wildlife
  • extensive re-introduction of fire to the landscape
  • modification of human use to protect sensitive resources
  • improved wolf access to wintering elk herds through facility redesign
  • enhanced ecological understanding of residents and users of national parks

Role of WHS designation in design of scientific studies and research programs
World Heritage Site designation does not directly shape the research programs undertaken but the research contributes directly to the protection and presentation of the World Heritage values of the site.
 

EDUCATION, INFORMATION AND AWARENESS BUILDING
4p WHS plaque

There is a plaque at the site indicating that it is a World Heritage Site.
 

4q Use of WHC logo
The World Heritage Convention logo is not used on all publications for the site.
 

4r Educational programs for schools
There are educational programs about the site's World Heritage values aimed at schools.
Description of educational programs for schools
An edukit is available for the Burgess Shale fossils. The Yoho-Burgess Shale Foundation is a non-profit educational organization whose goal is to increase public understanding of earth sciences, especially as exemplified in the mountain parks.
 

4s Special events and exhibitions
There are special events and exhibitions concerning the site's World Heritage values.
Description of special events and exhibitions
A multi-media program has been developed to profile the World Heritage Site. It is presented at venues inside and outside the site. Heritage tourism themes have recognized the Year of the Great Bear, the International Year of Mountains and the Wonder of Water.
 

4t Facilities, visitor centre, site museum, trails, guides, information materials
A wide array of facilities and services is available, as noted in 4m. Information is widely available to visitors at entrance gates, visitor centres, Canada Place, from the annual visitor guide and on the Parks Canada and British Columbia Parks' websites. In addition, the private businesses operating in the site provide similar information to their guests. Business staff take training from the Mountain Parks Heritage Interpretation Association and the Best of Banff. The Canadian and provincial governments' tourism departments are another source of information. Numerous commercial publications provide information about natural and cultural history and recreational opportunities.
 

4u Role of WHS designation in education, information and awareness building activities
A wide variety of education, information, awareness building and promotional activities occur with respect to the properties within the World Heritage Site. The communications activities support the values of the World Heritage Site program. The World Heritage Site designation has not been used explicitly as a promotional tool.
 

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5 FACTORS AFFECTING THE PROPERTY

5a Development Pressures
No factors were identified in the original evaluation.

Concern about development within the Bow Valley of Banff National Park resulted in the Banff Bow Valley Study in 1996, which emphasized the need to restore ecological integrity. This study greatly influenced the park management plan in 1997. As a result, development in the national parks is capped, with the boundaries for all communities and the maximum amount of commercial space to be incorporated into legislation. Properties held under lease are generally allowed to redevelop within limits. A comprehensive environmental assessment process is applied. Limits have also been established for Outlying Commercial Accommodation facilities.

Parks Canada has previously reported to the World Heritage Committee on mining development east of Jasper National Park, and continues to be concerned about potential adverse impacts, particularly with respect to impacts on wildlife habitat. The Alberta Government granted approval in 2003 for a new mine development. Following a delay due to market conditions, mine development commenced with the beginning of the construction of a major haul road in 2004. Conditions imposed at the time of mine approval, aimed at mitigating potential effects on grizzly bears, have not yet been implemented although some progress has been made. Environmental conservation groups continue to contest the mine through legal challenges, on the basis that federal and provincial environmental assessment processes were flawed. Parks Canada continues to work with the Government of Alberta and industries in the area to advance strategies for carnivore conservation.

Populations of mountain pine beetle, a native insect that can cause extensive forest mortality during occasional outbreaks, have been expanding through British Columbia and, in recent years, have increased in the Bow Valley of Banff National Park, the Fraser Valley of Mt. Robson Provincial Park and are becoming established in Jasper National Park. Management is occurring through a collaborative approach with neighbouring provincial agencies that involves use of prescribed fire to remove vulnerable stands and selective treatment (cut and burn) of infected trees.

There continue to be development pressures immediately outside the World Heritage Site including mining, oil and gas development, forestry and recreation. Due to the great attractiveness of the area, there is also considerable pressure in areas outside the World Heritage Site for community development, particularly recreational properties. Increasing access to peripheral areas of the site is evident. Site managers participate in the review and planning of developments in adjacent areas, in an attempt to co-ordinate actions which protect the World Heritage Site.

A positive development is the designation of numerous new provincial parks in both Alberta and British Columbia, contiguous with the site. These are not part of the World Heritage Site but they provide complementary land management buffers.
 

5b Environmental Pressures
Global warming has impacts on vegetation and water resources such as changes in the elevation of treeline and changes in aquatic and terrestrial wildlife habitats. Site managers have no control over warming but do monitor conditions regularly.

Due to extensive fire suppression in the past, the vegetation in the World Heritage Site and surrounding area has reduced natural diversity. This has resulted in a forest which is more susceptible to insect invasions and to large and intense fires. This situation is being remedied to some extent through prescribed burn programs.

Wildlife population decreases have been noted for some species (e.g. mountain goats, woodland caribou - listed as a Threatened species nationally - and, in southern portion of the World Heritage Site, grey wolves). Some endemic fish species are found in only low numbers (e.g. bull trout) but many stocks are increasing due to fishing regulation changes that have improved protection. Extensive research, monitoring and adaptive management are undertaken on an annual basis. The site's population of grizzly bears - listed as a “species of special concern" nationally - is viable. Co-ordinated management with adjacent jurisdictions is a regular occurrence.
 

5c Natural Disasters and Preparedness
Natural disasters in the World Heritage Site include wildfire, flooding and avalanches. As they are natural events, the results are not necessarily negative. The natural events are not a threat to the site's values.
 

5d Visitor/Tourism Pressures
Visitor and tourism pressures have the most impact on the site's values under criterion (ii).

There is a general increase in tourism to the World Heritage Site and increased access to the boundaries of the parks. Two national highways and railways dissect the World Heritage Site, as well as secondary roads. There is increasing use of these national transportation corridors which cannot be controlled or managed by the park authorities. Extensive mitigation measures have been and will continue to be put in place as the routes are upgraded. Examples are fencing and wildlife crossing structures to keep wildlife off the busy Trans Canada Highway.

The rapidly growing cities of Edmonton and Calgary, plus retirement and recreational property development in the Columbia Valley, are producing more visitors to the site. Site managers are monitoring the changing patterns of use and developing adaptive strategies, such as possible transit systems and improved up-to-date information to influence the impacts on the site. The national parks work closely with the tourism sector, through a Heritage Tourism Strategy, to ensure that visitors are aware that they are in a national park, and how to modify their behaviour accordingly.

Banff National Park receives the highest proportion of visitors to the World Heritage Site. A management plan amendment was recently prepared which addresses human use management. A regional transportation study has been initiated with the managers of lands between the park and the adjacent major city of Calgary to develop strategies for reducing impacts.

Plans are being developed for ski areas and development limits have been established for communities and for commercial facilities outside the communities.

As a result of management plan direction, facilities have been removed from some sensitive wildlife habitats such as Sinclair Canyon in Kootenay National Park, the Cascade Corridor in the Bow Valley of Banff National Park and at Field in Yoho National Park.

In 2000, all lands within the four national parks that were Zone II (designated as wilderness by policy) were designated wilderness through legal regulation thus ensuring greater security of long-term protection.
 

5e Number of inhabitants within property, buffer zone
Town of Banff: 7,600 inhabitants
Community of Lake Louise: 1,900 inhabitants
Town of Jasper: 4,700 inhabitants
Community of Field: 300 inhabitants

Legislated limits to the physical size of the communities and the amount of commercial development are in place to limit the impacts on park and World Heritage Site values. Only people with a “need to reside" are permitted to live in the communities.

The gateway communities outside the World Heritage Site, particularly Canmore and the communities in the Columbia River Valley southwest of the World Heritage Site, are growing rapidly. Work is ongoing with these communities to protect important wildlife habitat and corridors.
 

5f Other
Not applicable

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6 MONITORING

ADMINISTRATIVE ARRANGEMENTS FOR MONITORING PROPERTY
6a Formal monitoring program

There is a formal monitoring program established for the site.
Description of formal monitoring program
There are extensive monitoring programmes in the national parks within the site. See the park management plans for some examples. A State of the Park Report was prepared for Banff National Park in 2003 (see URL /pn-np/ab/banff/plan/SOP1E). State of the Park Reports will be prepared for each national park, every five years. Factors which are monitored on a regular basis in the national parks include water and snow conditions, vegetation communities, wildlife habitats and populations, atmospheric conditions, visitor numbers and characteristics and asset condition.

Every two years Parks Canada prepares a national State of Protected Heritage Areas Report. This report includes discussion of the national parks within Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site. In addition, Parks Canada is currently reviewing all national park monitoring and reporting programmes in order to ensure greater rigour and consistency across the system of national parks.

A Conservation Risk Assessment has been undertaken for Mt. Robson, Hamber and Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Parks, however, limited funding restricts ongoing monitoring except for backcountry recreational impacts on the Berg Lake and Mt. Fitzwilliam trails in Mt. Robson Park and the Mt. Assiniboine Core Area.

Mountain goats are counted every two years in Mt. Assiniboine Park.
 

KEY INDICATORS FOR MEASURING STATE OF CONSERVATION
6b Agreed upon key indicators

No key indicators for measuring the state of conservation of the site's World Heritage values have been agreed upon.
Future development of key indicators
There are no specific indicators related to World Heritage values but the items listed in 6a1 address the same criteria for which the site was designated.
 

RESULTS OF PREVIOUS REPORTING EXERCISES
6c State Party actions in response to World Heritage Committee recommendations

In 1996 the World Heritage Committee commended Canada on the establishment of the Banff Bow Valley Task Force and noted that “the report, if implemented, would significantly shift the future management of the area in a more preservation direction." The Task Force report strongly influenced the recommendations in the 1997 management plan, many of which have now been implemented. The result has been a substantial, documented improvement in the integrity of the Bow Valley, including greater utilization by predators such as wolves and grizzly bears. Management plans for Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper National Parks, finalized in 2000, were modelled on the Banff National Park Management Plan and incorporate similar conservation measures that respond to World Heritage Committee program advice.

In June and November 1998 and July 1999, Canada provided detailed reports about a potential mining development adjacent to the Jasper National Park component of the site. The development has the potential for negative impact on the ecological integrity of the site. Partly in response to the concerns which were raised, the Province of Alberta designated Whitehorse Wildland Park in August 1998, between Jasper National Park and the proposed mine, to help protect the ecological integrity of the area. The World Heritage Committee thanked Canada for regularly providing information.

In 2003, approval was granted for a modified mining proposal and development began in 2004. Parks Canada continues to work with the Government of Alberta and industries in the area to advance strategies for carnivore conservation and other mitigation measures in relation to this development. Canada will continue to inform the World Heritage Committee about mine development that affects the site.
 

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7 CONCLUSIONS

WORLD HERITAGE VALUES
7a Main conclusions regarding the state of the property's World Heritage Values

Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site continues to retain and protect the values for which it was designated. Changes since inscription are positive and improve protection of the site. Examples include:

  • the addition of three British Columbia provincial parks, as recommended by the World Heritage Committee
  • stronger legislative protection for the provincial parks
  • a strengthened Canada National Parks Act which emphasizes ecological integrity
  • current management plans which stress preservation of ecological integrity in all units of the site
  • legal establishment of wilderness zoning for 95 per cent of the national park lands in the site
  • legal limits to the size of communities and the amount of commercial development in the national parks
  • extensive public involvement in developing plans which protect the site
  • restoration of part of the montane ecosystem in the Bow Valley
  • improved wildlife movements in the Bow Valley
  • the restoration of more diverse vegetation communities and wildlife habitats through prescribed fire
  • ongoing research and monitoring to provide sound scientific information for management decisions
  • new adjacent provincial parks (not included in the site) which provide additional buffers to the site's periphery
  • the development of human use management strategies
  • improved collaboration with regional neighbours

Visitor use numbers and activities continue to place pressures on the site and are managed through adaptive management techniques and extensive use of external advisory groups. Increasing traffic on the highways continues to put pressure on the site.
 

MANAGEMENT AND FACTORS AFFECTING SITE
7b Main conclusions regarding the management of and factors affecting the property

The steady increase in the regional population and in resulting visits to the site will continue to challenge managers. Improved interagency co-operation will be required for co-ordinated management of the regional landscape and ecosystem.

Resource developments and increasing public access on adjacent lands continue but the new provincial parks provide welcome buffers and opportunities for co-ordinated management of ecosystems.

Site managers are committed to the continued protection of the site's World Heritage values and are guided by supportive management plans developed with public involvement. The plans provide a balance between protection of the site's values and visitor enjoyment of them.
 

PROPOSED FUTURE ACTION(S)
7c Approved future actions

Site managers will continue to implement the approved management plans, which reflect the site's World Heritage values. The protection of ecological integrity and wilderness conditions remain paramount objectives. Scientific research and improved monitoring will continue.
 

RESPONSIBLE IMPLEMENTING AGENCY(IES)
7d Agency(ies) responsible for implementing actions

Agency Name: Parks Canada
Name: Roulet, Jillian
Title: Field Unit Superintendent, Banff Field Unit
Address: P.O. Box 900
City: Banff, Alberta
Postal Code: T1L 1K2
Telephone: 403 762-1510
Fax Number: 403 762-1583
Email: banff.superintendent@pc.gc.ca
 

Agency Name: Parks Canada
Name: Boivin, Michel
Title: Field Unit Superintendent, Kootenay, Yoho, Lake Louise Field Unit
Address: Box 213
City: Lake Louise, Alberta
Postal Code: T0L 1E0
Telephone: 403 522-1250
Fax Number: 403 522-1279
Email: janet.klock@pc.gc.ca
 

Agency Name: Parks Canada
Name: Hooper, Ron
Title: Field Unit Superintendent, Jasper Field Unit
Address: Box 10
City: Jasper, Alberta
Postal Code: T0E 1E0
Telephone: 780 852-6171
Fax Number: 780 852-6229
Email: jasper.superintendent@pc.gc.ca
 

Agency Name: Mt Robson & Hamber Prov. Parks
Name: Cadden, Don
Title: Acting Manager, Omineca Region
Address: 4051 18th Ave.
City: Prince George, British Columbia
Postal Code: V2N 1B3
Telephone: 250 565-6135
Fax Number: 250 565-6940
Email:
 

Agency Name: Mt Assiniboine Prov. Park
Name: Stetski, Wayne
Title: Manager, Kootenay Region
Address: 205 Industrial Road G
City: Cranbrook, British Columbia
Postal Code: V1C 7G5
Telephone: 250 489-8558
Fax Number: 250 489-8506
Email:
 

TIMEFRAME FOR IMPLEMENTATION
7e Timeline for implementation of actions

Ongoing. The management plans for the national parks will be reviewed through a public process in 2008.
 

NEEDS FOR INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE
7f Anticipated Requests for International Assistance

It is not anticipated that International Assistance, through the World Heritage Fund, will be requested.
 

ACTIONS STATE PARTY INTENDS TO REQUEST FROM WORLD HERITAGE COMMITTEE
7g Potential Decisions for the World Heritage Committee

  • Proposed new Statement of Significance, where previously missing
  • Change boundaries or buffer zone