Renewing Jasper National Park's Visitor Experience
Part II: Camping
Last weekend’s warm, sunny days reminded us that it is (finally) that time of year again. Air out your tent or clean out your trailer, dust off your hiking boots, and pack your campfire snacks...camping season is here!
Approximately ten percent of Jasper National Park’s two million annual visitors stay in Jasper’s campgrounds, equalling about 130,000 user-nights in the front-country and 14,000 user-nights in the backcountry. Camping is a favorite pastime for local residents as well, many of whom return to that special spot by the Snaring River each summer, or look forward all winter to their annual backcountry adventure. Whether with the family trailer at Wabasso campground or tucked in a sleeping bag after hiking the ridges of the Skyline trail, there are many ways to enjoy camping in the park.
While facilities in some of Jasper National Park’s ten front-country campgrounds are aging, in recent years Parks Canada has made significant investments in renewing our camping offer. Since 2005, Jasper National Park has invested approximately nine million dollars in upgrades including:
- A new winterized shower and washroom building at Wapiti
- Two new bathroom buildings at Kerkeslin
- Upgrades to several washroom facilities at Whistlers
- Replacement of two washroom buildings at Wabasso
- 70 new campfire rings at Icefields and Wilcox
- Upgrades to water, sewer and water treatment infrastructure and Whistlers and Wapiti
- Installation of solar water filtration systems at Snaring, Honeymoon, Kerkeslin, Wilcox and Icefields
- Upgrades to the electrical distribution system at Whistlers
- Conversion of 43 electrical sites at Whistlers to full hook-up, and of 166 primitive sites at Whistlers, Wapiti and Wabasso to electrical
- Replacement of exterior lighting around the five kilometre perimeter of Whistlers with low emission lights
- A new kitchen shelter at Marmot Meadows group campground and upgrades to the kitchen shelter at Icefields
- A new interpretive trail at Whistlers that winds through the campground, linking with the trail to Jasper town site, and connecting with the new playground (photo below).
In addition, regular campground maintenance is ongoing throughout each year. This year, you may see construction crews repairing potholes in Whistlers campground, or Park’s staff repairing picnic tables and fire rings, and removing fallen trees.
The oTENTik Experience © Parks Canada
This fall, stay tuned for a sneak preview of Parks Canada’s oTENTiks – walled tents that allow campers to rough it without getting their clothes ruffled. Jasper National Park already has one oTENTik and three Cottage Tents in Whistlers campground, but this fall ten more will be installed. The oTENTiks are a great option for families, friends or couples to get out camping even if they don’t have the necessary equipment or desire a little extra comfort. Make a reservation to try one out here in Jasper!
Whistlers campground opened for the season on May 3rd, so if you’ve been waiting all winter to snuggle up and roast some marshmallows around the campfire, head out this weekend! The rest of Jasper National Park’s campgrounds open between mid-May and mid-June. Find opening dates or make reservations online at www.pc.gc.ca/jasper.