Impacts On Western Cordillera Parks

Picture of a Hoary marmot on a rock
The expected increase in size and frequency of avalanches in western mountain parks would enhance the habitat of some species such as the hoary marmot.
© Parks Canada / Lynch, W. / 09.93.10.01(24), 3/30/1991

The size and frequency of avalanches in our western mountain parks is expected to increase. This would enhance the habitat of some species such as the hoary marmot. However, it would also increase safety hazards for backcountry travellers.

Biomes in this region will be the most susceptible to elevation shifts. Banff National Park alone contains 41 plant species that reach their range limits in the park and that will be particularly sensitive to climate change.

Warmer spring and fall temperatures will extend the melting season of glaciers by at least a month in the southern Rocky Mountains. Glaciers that are less than 100m thick could disappear over the next 20 years.


Picture of a walking hiker and mountains in the background
Analysis of detailed maps and aerial photographs shows that the Illecillawaet Glacier in Glacier National Park has retreated more than a kilometre since the 1880s.
© Parks Canada / Lynch, W. / 10.102.03.34(28), 3/30/1990
The Illecillawaet Glacier in Glacier National Park of Canada is one of Canada's most thoroughly studied glaciers. Analysis of detailed maps and aerial photographs shows that it has retreated more than a kilometre since the 1880s. For a photographic history of the glacier's retreat, see the Web site of the Whyte Museum in Banff, Alberta.