Banff National Park of Canada
Trans-Canada Highway Twinning
The Banff Wildlife Crossings Project Report, 2002
PROJECT DESCRIPTION AND STUDY AREA
In November 1996, a research project aimed at studying road impacts on wildlife was initiated in Banff National Park (hereafter referred to as Banff), Alberta. The research focused on the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) and other roads, their impacts on wildlife in terms of road mortality, movements, and habitat connectivity in the Bow River Valley. Means of mitigating or reducing the impacts road effects have on wildlife were evaluated and recommendations made for future transportation planning in the mountain parks.
The primary study area was situated in the Bow River Valley along the TCH corridor in Banff National Park, located approximately 100 km west of Calgary, Alberta. The extensive study area encompasses Kananaskis Country to the east and Kootenay and Yoho National Parks to the west.
The TCH in the Bow Valley was newly built in the early 1950s, and like many scenic, low-volume, two-lane highways, it probably had little impact on animals at that time. In the last 50 years the TCH has transformed into a major commercial highway and become Canada's economic lifeline, connecting goods and people from the Atlantic coast to Vancouver Island. Spanning more than 7500 km, it covers six time zones and is the world's longest national highway. By the same token, during the last half century the Bow Valley has become a major tourist destination, attracting more than 5 million visitors per year thus creating heavier traffic demands on an already bustling highway.
Banff and Yoho are the only national parks in North America that have a major transportation corridor bisecting them. The TCH in Banff carries over 24,000 vehicles/day in summer and 14,000 vehicles/day year-round. In response to these high traffic volumes Parks Canada initiated a highway twinning-mitigation project to provide for safe and efficient travel and reduce the impacts on wildlife.
Study area and roads used to research the effects of roads on wildlife in the Central Canadian Rocky Mountains.© Parks Canada / Scott Jevons/GEOWORKS
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