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Management Plan

10.2.5 North Glacier LMU

North Glacier landscape management unit
North Glacier landscape management unit
© Parks Canada
Key Considerations

This is a wild, rugged area with old-growth forests, mountain caribou, grizzly bear, mountain goats and wolverine. Grizzly bear, found throughout the area, are especially prevalent in the Cougar Valley. Visitors in most parts of the unit experience solitude, face challenges, undertake risks and must be self-reliant.

Mountain Creek, a large wilderness valley, will remain completely undeveloped. Exceptions to the unit’s large tracts of undisturbed terrain include the Hermit, Balu and Bostock Trails. These trails provide access to high elevation areas adjacent to the highway. Commercial groups led by a guide are relatively common on the Hermit Trail, a climbing and mountaineering destination. These groups have a variety of impacts – trampling the meadow, widening the trail, and creating the perception of crowding. In winter, ski touring has increased over the past five to ten years, especially in the Bostock drainage.

The Nakimu Caves and the Cougar Valley are classified as Zone 1 (Special Preservation). Access to the area requires a permit and is limited to a route over Balu Pass. In addition to increasing the safety of hikers, these measures protect the natural features of the caves and important grizzly habitat in Cougar Valley. To protect bear habitat, access through the lower Cougar Valley is not permitted in summer. During the winter, the area is closed for avalanche control. The Balu watershed, upstream of Rogers Pass, is the water supply for this high visitor use area. The Mount Tupper cave system (Cascade Caves) is also located in this LMU. It is classified as an environmentally sensitive site because of its karst formations and heavy use of the surrounding area by grizzly bears.

The park uses helicopters for operational purposes such as maintaining remote weather stations.

Objectives
Ecological and Cultural
  • To maintain an appropriate natural fire cycle and allow other natural processes to continue where risks to the public, environmentally sensitive sites and adjacent lands are minimal.
  • To protect the special natural features and processes of the Nakimu and Cascade Caves.
  • To provide special protection to the lower Cougar Valley for grizzly bears.
  • To protect the Balu watershed as a potable water source for the Rogers Pass area.
  • To manage the unit’s trails so they have the least possible impact on ecological integrity.
Visitor Opportunities
  • To offer a backcountry opportunity where visitors are self-reliant and experience solitude.
  • To provide a wildland opportunity in the Mountain and Casualty Creek areas.
  • To provide primitive facilities on the Bostock, Balu and Hermit trails.
Actions
  • Monitor visitor use on the Hermit, Balu and Bostock trails; base management actions on maintaining ecological integrity.
  • Determine the impact of visitor use on grizzly bear in the Balu, Bostock and Hermit trail areas and the Cougar Valley.
  • Monitor downstream water quality; take necessary action to protect the water source.
  • Limit the size of groups on the Hermit Trail to the number of designated camping sites.
  • Use a permit system to protect and control access to the Cougar Valley and Nakimu Caves.
  • Identify management actions, including a permit system, to control access to and protect the Cascade Caves.
  • Manage the Nakimu Caves as a level II cultural resource.

10.2.6 Southwest Glacier LMU

Southwest Glacier landscape management unit
Southwest Glacier landscape management unit
© Parks Canada
Key Considerations

This rugged and wild area has the most extensive glaciers and the highest mountain peaks in the parks. Grizzly bear, mountain goat and wolverine use the area extensively. There are no maintained trails; one backcountry hut, Sapphire Col, is available for year round use. This LMU was the location of historic trails used for mining exploration. Visitors can expect physical challenges, solitude, risks, and a sense of personal achievement.

Objectives
Ecological and Cultural
  • To maintain an appropriate natural fire cycle and allow other natural processes to continue where risks to the public, environmentally sensitive sites and adjacent lands are minimal.
  • To fill gaps in information about cultural resources.
Visitor Opportunities
  • To provide opportunities to explore a wildland area with no trails and to experience solitude and self-reliance.
Actions
  • Retain the area as wildland without trails, bridges, campsites or shelters.
  • Research the history of the area and consider options for off-site presentation.

10.2.7 East Glacier LMU

East Glacier landscape management unit
East Glacier landscape management unit
© Parks Canada
Key Considerations

This unit includes the Beaver Valley, the most productive, diverse habitat in the parks. The Beaver Valley includes large areas of old-growth cedar-hemlock forest including significant special features such as a variety of bats and rare lichens. Mountain caribou, wolverine and grizzly bear exist throughout the area. Mountain goats frequent the eastern boundary of this LMU.

More than 60 km of maintained trails lead to many notable mountaineering destinations. A circuit of trails links valley bottom and alpine terrain, and provides extended day and overnight backpacking opportunities. Designated campsites offer security and reduce the impact of overnight use.

Glacier Circle cabin is a federal heritage building and is available for year round public use. This is the only area in the parks where wardens patrol on horseback. Public horse use is not permitted. In some areas of the valley, noise from the rail line through the Macdonald tunnel is audible. Extensive recreational use on provincial land along the eastern boundary includes snowmobiling and skiing.

Objectives
Ecological and Cultural
  • To minimize the impact of human use on ecological integrity and on habitat for mountain caribou, mountain goats, wolverine and grizzly bear.
  • To maintain an appropriate natural fire cycle and allow other natural processes to continue where risks to the public, environmentally sensitive sites and adjacent lands are minimal.
  • To work with the regional community to foster ecological awareness and sensitivity.
  • To maintain the Glacier Circle cabin as a federal heritage building.
Visitor Opportunities
  • To offer premier multi-day backcountry opportunities with primitive facilities.
Actions
  • With park neighbours and partners, monitor recreational use along the unit’s eastern boundary.
  • Build relationships with neighbours and recreational users to address topics on an ecosystem basis, including park messages, visitor experiences and sensitive wildlife issues (e.g., mountain goat disturbance along the eastern boundary).
  • Continue to participate in community programs that foster ecological sensitivity and awareness (e.g., the Golden Bear Aware program to reduce mortality and habituation).
  • Protect adjacent lands from fire escapement, consider methods such as creating fire breaks to reduce the risk of fire spreading beyond the park.
  • Seek a solution to noise from the exhaust fans at the east portal of the MacDonald tunnel.
  • Prepare a heritage character statement for the Glacier Circle cabin. Maintain the cabin in keeping with the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Policy.
  • Inform backpackers about commercial recreational activity adjacent to the park boundary.

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