Achieving caribou conservation gains and enhanced winter recreational opportunities
As of November 1st delayed winter access is in effect for the ranges of the A La Peche (North Boundary), Brazeau (South Jasper) and Tonquin caribou herds. These annual seasonal restrictions are one of a suite of actions being implemented in support of caribou conservation. These areas can still be enjoyed after February 28th (Feb. 15th in the Tonquin) and in the meantime, get out and explore the rest of the park! Check out the wealth of winter activities in Jasper National Park: Winter in Jasper.
In support of caribou conservation, winter access is delayed annually until later in the season in three areas of important caribou habitat in Jasper National Park, the Tonquin, A La Peche and Brazeau caribou ranges (see maps below). These areas are still available for use later in the winter when the days are longer and temperatures generally warmer.
As part of the comprehensive public engagement process on caribou conservation and winter recreation, Parks Canada also committed to enhanced winter recreational opportunities. In 2013-14, the Decoigne area was upgraded as a new winter recreational hub including a warming hut and multi-use trail network. Parks Canada is investing in new product development, enhancements to the current offer and improved promotion of winter opportunities in the park
These Parks Canada initiatives support Canada's National Conservation Plan by taking practical action on Woodland caribou conservation and connecting Canadians to nature by enhancing opportunities to experience the park in winter.
On June 4, 2014, Environment Canada posted the final Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada. The Recovery Strategy outlines goals for caribou recovery, identifies critical habitat and describes activities likely to result in destruction of critical habitat. Parks Canada contributed to the development of the Strategy and is now responsible for its implementation on national park lands.
How does this affect you?
As of Nov. 1st, winter access will be delayed until February 28th in the A La Peche (northern Jasper) and Brazeau caribou ranges (southern Jasper) in the park, and until February 15th in the Tonquin caribou range. Help us protect Jasper’s threatened caribou by choosing other areas of the park for winter recreation during this time. Jasper National Park is a premier winter destination offering a variety of opportunities and experiences throughout the winter.
- Caribou in Jasper National Park belong to the Southern Mountain Population of woodland caribou listed as Threatened under Canada’s Species at Risk Act.
- Three of the four woodland caribou herds found in Jasper National Park have dropped to critically low numbers and are at risk of disappearing. In 2011, Parks Canada released the Conservation Strategy for Southern Mountain Caribou in Canada’s National Parks proposing actions to address caribou declines.
- Parks Canada's priority is to reduce or eliminate the five key threats identified as contributing to caribou declines in the mountain national parks.
- Delayed winter recreational access in Jasper National Park is one action to address the threat of facilitated predator access. Caribou are adapted to live at high elevations, where deep snow helps them avoid predators. Packed winter trails into important caribou habitat can increase the risk of predation on these small herds.
- It is well documented that wolves travel more efficiently in winter on packed trails and this increases their ability to hunt in these areas.
- While predation by wolves on caribou is natural, by enabling wolves access to caribou winter habitat we can dramatically increase predation rates and threaten these few remaining caribou.
Backgrounder - Caribou Conservation and Winter Recreation
Backgrounder - Caribou Conservation in Jasper National Park
Backgrounder - Winter recreation in Jasper National Park
The following actions have been implemented in support of caribou conservation and enhanced winter recreational opportunities in Jasper National Park. For area details please see attached maps.
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.
2. Brazeau caribou range
All access is prohibited from November 1 through February 28 to important winter habitat of the Brazeau caribou herd. This includes slopes to the West of highway 93 between Bubbling Springs and Beauty Creek Hostel, Poboktan Creek Trail beyond the Poboktan Creek Campground and the Brazeau Loop.
3. A La Peche caribou range
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.
4. New and Enhanced winter recreational opportunities
As part of implementing the caribou conservation actions as described, Parks Canada is exploring new and expanded winter recreation nodes in two areas: Decoigne (Highway 16 West of Jasper) and Pyramid Lake. A new offer is available at Decoigne including a warming shelter, fire pit, trackset ski trails and snowshoeing opportunities. Parks Canada along with stakeholders will be evaluating further opportunities from the valley bottom ski trails to higher elevations in both the Decoigne and the Pyramid Lake areas.
In June 2014, the Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada was released.
- Parks Canada now has a legal obligation to protect caribou critical habitat in Jasper National Park.
- Parks Canada is currently reviewing its caribou conservation actions to ensure they are aligned with the requirements of the Recovery Strategy and will communicate any changes as soon as possible.
For further information
For media enquiries, contact Kim Weir, 780-852-6109
For caribou conservation information, visit www.pc.gc.ca/caribou or contact:
Shelley Bird, 780-852-6204