Jasper National Park of Canada

Marmot Basin Ski Area Site Guidelines for Development and Use

5.2 Ecological Management Parameters

Ski Area Management Guidelines

"Within the Developed Area, improvements to services and facilities can be considered. Additional infill ski runs, glading, run widening and parking can be considered. However to ensure ecological integrity and address aesthetic issues, modification of physical terrain and forest cover will be carefully managed. Site Guidelines will identify ecological management parameters to ensure ecosystem functioning is maintained and that sensitive areas are protected. At a minimum, this will include maximum run width, minimum distance between runs, maximum number of new runs and the prohibition of development in sensitive areas. Other parameters will be determined on a ski area by ski area basis."

Page 3, Ski Area Management Guidelines, Minister of Environment, December 7, 2006

Background and Purpose

Ski area leaseholds are relatively large and as such may have potential impacts on the ecological health of the park. To ensure ecosystem functioning is maintained and that sensitive areas are protected, valued components of ecological integrity have been identified based on known ecological issues related to past ski area development and consultation with resource specialists. Valued components that require careful management to ensure ecological integrity at Marmot Basin are: native vegetation diversity; rare and sensitive species and communities; small mammal habitat structure; historic fire regime; earth flow features, saturated glacial till and soils; water quality; surface and subsurface water flow regimes; grizzly bear; mountain goat; mountain caribou; wolverine; and lynx.

Adherence to the ecological parameters will mitigate adverse effects and ensure continued ecosystem functioning at Marmot Basin. For more information on the valued components, related issues, context and intent for the ecological parameters, users of this document should refer to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) for the Marmot Basin Site Guidelines for Development and Use. The ski area will need to carefully utilize the SEA in the preparation of Long-Range Plans.

All future development proposals must demonstrate they meet the ecological parameters for each valued ecosystem component. The parameters listed below apply to all proposals for development and use.

5.2.1 Vegetation, Terrain and Soil Ecological Parameters

  1. Native species and communities dominate throughout the ski area.
  2. Plant communities reflect regional and local vegetation diversity.
  3. Glading and thinning simulate native vegetation succession and support the role of fire.
  4. Native vegetation serves as an anchor against soil and terrain erosion.
  5. Rare and sensitive vegetation communities and terrain features persist.
  6. Habitat for rare and sensitive species is maintained.
  7. The composition and structure of vegetation provide habitat for a range of native species.
  8. Vegetation management and facility design support the restoration of fire as a natural process.
  9. Construction and modification to vegetation and terrain do no alter natural flow rates or earth and rock flow features.
  10. Construction, terrain modification and vegetation removal avoid saturated soils or surficial deposits where mitigation measures are unlikely to be successful.

5.2.2 Aquatic Ecological Parameters

  1. Development does not compromise natural surface and subsurface connectivity and drainage.
  2. Minimum in-stream flows support aquatic wildlife, taking seasonal variability into account.
  3. Flooding and seasonal flow patterns maintain riparian vegetation.
  4. Water quality in Portal Creek and Athabasca River is maintained.

5.2.3 Wildlife Ecological Parameters

The following parameters are intended to address wildlife movement, habitat requirements and habituation:

  1. The maximum run width is 50 metres.
  2. The existing "base" area clearing is limited to the current 6 hectares.
  3. Additional clearings for specialized sites do not exceed 75 metres in width or 3 hectares in area.
  4. On either side of runs, a strip of contiguous forest at least as wide as the run remains.
  5. Forested areas between runs are irregular in shape and cover a minimum of 8 hectares.
  6. Additional vegetation clearing, below Eagle Chalet, will ensure a minimum of 65 % of natural forest is retained.
  7. Construction and modification of vegetation and terrain does not impair habitat important to small mammals.
  8. Summer activities such as construction and maintenance do not displace or habituate Grizzly bears.
  9. Development preserves natural food sources for grizzly bears and does not create non-native sources of food that would attract them.
  10. Off-piste and out-of-bounds skiing do not displace caribou from habitat important to the regional population.
  11. Development does not increase access for predators or increase the density of prey in important caribou habitat in and near the leasehold.
  12. Modifications to vegetation and terrain do not affect the availability of caribou lichen outside of the existing Developed Area.
  13. Construction, modification to vegetation and terrain, visitor use and operational activities do not displace goats from local habitat essential to the regional population or from travel routes essential to the regional population.
  14. Goat travel routes to the Whistlers Creek mineral lick are identified and protected.

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