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Jasper National Park

Backgrounder

Maligne Tours’ Concept Proposal for Redevelopment at Maligne Lake

Jasper National Park

Recognised internationally, Maligne Lake and the entire Maligne Valley are iconic symbols of the Canadian Rockies, must-see attractions of Jasper National Park, and an integral part of the Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.

In November 2013, Parks Canada began a two-phase public engagement process to support the development of the Maligne Valley Implementation Strategy, which will contain a suite of actions to advance management plan direction for the Maligne Valley area over the next five to ten years.

Concurrent to Parks Canada’s process, Maligne Tours’ introduced their concept proposals for redevelopment at Maligne Lake. Maligne Tours’ process is separate and independent from Parks Canada’s Maligne Valley Implementation Strategy planning process, however, the timing for Parks Canada to consider ideas from Maligne Tours about renewal of their visitor offer is complementary and appropriate.

Maligne Tours is a commercial leaseholder that operates a day lodge (built in 1975) and supporting facilities at the north end of Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. Their current visitor offer includes boat cruises to Spirit Island, boat rentals, food, beverage and retail services, and interpretive guiding. The Maligne Tours redevelopment proposal included the following key elements:

  • Heritage themed roofed accommodations
  • Tent cabins
  • New specialty boat tours (e.g. photographer’s tour, family tour)
  • “Fisherman’s Special” water taxi service to Spirit Island
  • A new Voyageur canoe excursion
  • Earth-caching
  • Themed exhibits, including: “Maligne at the Box Office; Mary Schaffer Photographs; and History of Maligne Wardens
  • Enhanced storytelling, including the possible introduction of Aboriginal-themed and Wildlife in the Valley storytelling experiences
  • Updated and “Maligne-themed” retail and food and beverage experiences
  • A thatch-walled, wildlife-themed exploratory maze

Parks Canada considered Maligne Tours’ Conceptual proposals to redevelop their offer at Maligne Lake, in principle, on the basis of a preliminary policy review and the proposals’ potential contribution to enhancing visitors’ experiences and connections with the iconic Maligne Lake landscape, and to improve communication and interpretation about the Maligne Valley, a key objective identified in the Jasper National Park Management Plan (2010).

Public and Aboriginal engagement to support Parks Canada in its decision making was substantial and all feedback received was carefully reviewed and considered. An open and transparent public dialogue about Maligne Tours’ development aspirations at Maligne Lake was followed by a rigorous public consultation process. Information and consultation events were hosted by Maligne Tours and included outreach to local environmental and tourism organisations, meetings with stakeholders, and public open houses in Jasper and Edmonton. The detailed concept proposal was available for review and comment by members of the public and interested Aboriginal communities for a four week period. In all public consultation, Parks Canada relies on internationally recognised standard practices and tools.

Parks Canada is a leader in park management and it is a Parks Canada priority to maintain or restore ecological integrity in our protected areas. In determining the decision on which elements of Maligne Tours’ proposal could proceed to be considered for details review, Parks Canada considered this priority, extensive input from the public and Aboriginal groups, and the proposals’ potential contributions to visitor experience, ecological integrity, public education, and the goals of Canada’s National Conservation Plan.

Guided tourism to Maligne Lake began around 1908 and overnight accommodation was available at the lake’s north end from the mid-1920s to the mid-1960s. For the past 40 years, Parks Canada has managed the north end of Maligne Lake as a day-use area.

Parks Canada administers many lease and license of occupation agreements and business licenses in Jasper National Park, whereby lessees, license holders and operators deliver services and programs to visitors as a key means of achieving Parks Canada's mandate of fostering public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of our natural and cultural heritage. Visitors to national parks have the option to access services from business providers, and have been doing so for over 125 years. For more than a century, Parks Canada has been working with a range of partners to offer memorable visitor experiences in Jasper National Park while respecting the ecological and cultural integrity of the park and World Heritage Site in which it exists.

Further information on Maligne Tours’ concept proposal is available at: www.malignelake.com/renewal.html.