Expanding winter visitor experience opportunities and demonstrating leadership in caribou recovery
Ready for a winter work-out? In February, Jasper National Park adds another trail to the park’s broad range of cross-country skiing options. February 16, Cavell Road opens for the public with track-setting in place for both classic and skate skiing. The winding road runs 11.6 km uphill to the Cavell Hostel and offers some spectacular views of the Astoria River Valley. The return trip, while following the same route, is a different experience. A quick, potentially hair-raising, descent back to the valley along a series of switchbacks is an exhilarating end to the day. For experienced backcountry users looking for longer touring options, the Astoria, Portal and Whistlers Creek trails will also be open.
On March 1, the Maligne-Brazeau and A La Peche caribou ranges open for winter use. This includes the Bald Hills and all access points along the Skyline Trail, Poboktan Creek and the North Boundary Trail. It is time to get out and enjoy these backcountry areas with the longer days and generally warmer temperatures.
These truly awe-inspiring areas are home to Jasper’s caribou herds. Watch for tracks or craters, areas where caribou have dug through the snow for lichen, and if you are lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of one of these amazing animals.
This season, Jasper National Park is expanding its winter recreational opportunities to appeal to a broad range of visitors and implementing additional measures to further enhance critical habitat protection for caribou – an iconic species. This will ensure that visitors to the park continue to enjoy quality winter recreational activities while we implement caribou recovery actions for this species at risk.
Our new offer for the 2015 winter season includes:
- Fat biking or winter walking: 10.5 km of flat-packed trails on Pyramid Bench;
- Several new signed snowshoe routes on Pyramid Bench: totalling 10.2 km;
- Updated on-trail cross-country ski signage and improved trail maps;
- Improved trail reports: pc.gc.ca/jaspertrails
- Work continues with local tourism partners to expand outdoor winter products, including a new offer by Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge for cross-country skiing, skating, tobogganing, tubing and sleigh rides.
Concurrently, to enhance critical habitat protection:
- Winter recreational access to the Maligne and Whistler Creek valleys will be delayed until February 28 and February 15, 2015, respectively;
- These delayed access provisions are similar to those established in 2013 for the A La Peche (North Boundary), Brazeau (South Jasper) and Tonquin caribou herds. Learn more
How does this affect you?
We invite you to experience the new and expanded winter opportunities available throughout Jasper National Park. Parks Canada will continue to work with tourism partners and the community to develop a strategy to further expand and promote winter experiences in the park.
As delayed winter access is implemented in the Maligne Valley and Whistler Creek areas, Parks Canada will work with visitors, residents and area operators to facilitate a seamless transition including awareness and prevention activities and trip planning assistance.
Winter recreational access will be available in all delayed access areas later in the season when days are longer and temperatures generally warmer. Help us protect Jasper’s threatened caribou by choosing other areas of the park for winter recreation during this time.
Parks Canada is supporting Canada's National Conservation Plan (NCP) in Jasper National Park by:
- Connecting Canadians with the mountain landscapes through investments in an expanded winter offer that appeals to a broad range of visitors;
- Taking practical action on species at risk recovery by actively addressing the key threats identified as contributing to caribou population declines and protecting critical habitat;
- Fostering an appreciation for the national parks through awareness of the diverse winter recreational opportunities and leading edge caribou conservation program; and
- Building a “community of stewards” among Canadians of all ages through innovative visitor experience programs, volunteer opportunities and outreach initiatives related to both winter in Jasper and caribou conservation.
Backgrounder - Enhanced winter recreation and caribou conservation
The following actions have been implemented in support of expanding winter visitor experience opportunities and demonstrating leadership in caribou recovery. For area details please see attached maps.
1. Expanding winter visitor experiences
Over the last five years, Parks Canada has increased its investments in winter recreational opportunities in Jasper National Park. Jasper’s new winter activities as well as new offers by operators, including Mountain Park Lodges and Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, will resonate with a younger urban demographic and families seeking a broad range of visitor experience options.
All access is prohibited from November 1 through February 15 to important winter habitat of the Tonquin caribou herd. This includes Cavell Road, Astoria Trail and Portal Creek Trail. To enhance critical habitat protection for the Tonquin herd, this area now includes the Whistler Creek Valley.
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3. Maligne-Brazeau caribou range
All access is prohibited from November 1 through February 28 to important winter habitat of the Maligne and Brazeau caribou herds. This includes the subalpine and alpine areas of the Maligne Range from Signal Mountain south, east of highway 93 and west of the Maligne River; the slopes to the West of highway 93 between Bubbling Springs and Beauty Creek Hostel, Poboktan Creek Trail and the Brazeau Loop.
Low resolution PDF (661 kb) | High resolution PDF (6.3 mb)
Low resolution PDF (583 kb) | High resolution PDF (6 mb)
4. A La Peche caribou range
As implemented in 2013, all access is prohibited from November 1 through February 28 to important winter habitat of the A La Peche caribou herd. This includes Rock Creek Trail from the park boundary to Willow Creek and most of the North Boundary Trail. Low resolution PDF (595 kb)
| High resolution PDF (5.3 mb)
For further information
Kavitha Palanisamy, Public Relations and Communications, Jasper National Park
Promotions Officer, Jasper National Park
Shelley Bird, Public Outreach and Education, mountain national park caribou conservation