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Riding Mountain National Park

Parks Canada Invites Proposals for Mount Agassiz Ski Area In Riding Mountain National Park

Wasagaming, Manitoba, August 29, 2013 -- Today, Parks Canada announced a Request for Proposals (RFP) has been issued to seek potential submissions as the first step to reopen Mount Agassiz Ski Area in Riding Mountain National Park for a sustainable winter or multi-season operation.

“Parks Canada is a world leader in conservation and Canada’s largest provider of natural and cultural tourism products,” said Mr. Richard Dupuis, Acting Superintendent, Riding Mountain National Park. “This RFP is an important first step towards re-opening the Mount Agassiz Ski Area. Parks Canada is committed to supporting tourism industry initiatives to provide opportunities for visitors to enjoy and understand their national parks, while maintaining the ecological integrity of these special places.”

Ninety-eight percent of Riding Mountain National Park is designated wilderness. Mount Agassiz is a designated recreational area and is defined as a commercial ski area within the Canada National Parks Act.

A successful outcome will lead to a long-term financially and operationally successful business operation that delivers exceptional visitor experiences, creates unique educational opportunities, and protects ecological integrity. Parks Canada will work closely with the successful proponent to ensure a successful outcome.

Potential proponents can register and obtain the full Request for Proposals package from Riding Mountain National Park. Information will also be available on the Parks Canada website or by contacting Riding Mountain National Park.

Parks Canada is committed to work efficiently and collaboratively with the successful proponent to complete the work required to achieve a successful lease. Some of these steps include finalizing Site Guidelines, a Long-Range Plan and negotiating a lease with Parks Canada.

Parks Canada works to ensure Canada’s historic and natural heritage is protected. Through a network of 44 national parks, 167 national historic sites, and four national marine conservation areas, Parks Canada invites Canadians and people around the world to engage in personal moments of inspiring discovery at our treasured natural and historic places.

For more information on the Mount Agassiz Ski Area Request for Proposals Process, please visit parkscanada.gc.ca/riding or contact Riding Mountain National Park.

Information:

Roger Schroeder
External Relations Manager
Riding Mountain Field Unit
204-848-7251

BACKGROUNDER

MOUNT AGASSIZ SKI AREA

In 1958, Parks Canada leased approximately 142 hectares to a private operator for the development of a ski area in Riding Mountain National Park.

In 1961, Mount Agassiz Ski Area (Mount Agassiz) opened with a few ski runs.

The ski area grew during the 1970s, with the addition of more ski trails, two T-Bar lifts, snowmaking equipment and an expanded day lodge. The most significant expansion occurred in 1979 when a double chairlift was added and additional ski trails were developed.

In 2000, the ski area went out of business. The buildings and other assets were left at the site.

The 2007 Riding Mountain National Park Management Plan indicated additional leases would not be granted for the purposes of downhill skiing in the park and the Mount Agassiz area would be rehabilitated.

Following the decision, regional stakeholders brought new information and perspectives to Parks Canada regarding the future of the Mount Agassiz site. Parks Canada committed to examining the matter further, including commissioning a feasibility study.

The feasibility study suggests that reopening Mount Agassiz Ski Area is viable challenge due to limited markets, competition from existing ski hills, and high capital and operating costs. Some stakeholders continue to express a strong interest in reopening the site and would like the chance to assess the opportunities, risks and requirements to develop and operate a sustainable operation at Mount Agassiz.

Parks Canada decided to re-examine the Mount Agassiz decision and proposed an amendment to the national park management plan to allow entrepreneurs an opportunity to develop a proposal for a multi-season operation at Mount Agassiz. In January 2012, Parks Canada conducted extensive public consultation of the management plan amendment. Overall, public support for the amendment was strong.

In June 2012, an approved management plan amendment was tabled in Parliament which states that Parks Canada will “consider financially sustainable proposals for the redevelopment of a ski hill operation at the Mount Agassiz Ski Area, including multi-season recreational activities.”

Parks Canada has now launched a Request For Proposals process to invite potential submissions to reopen the Mount Agassiz Ski Area in Riding Mountain National Park for a sustainable winter or multi-season operation.

The entire RFP process will take one year. Proponents will have nine months to submit their proposals, and Parks Canada will review submissions within three months of the submission deadline.

Mount Agassiz Ski Area continues to be listed as a Commercial Ski Area pursuant to the Canada National Parks Act, S.C. 2000, c. 32, in Schedule 5, section 36.