Welcome and Agenda

Facilitator Tracey LeBlanc welcomed the group, described the history of the annual planning forum, which is the oldest stakeholder forum in the Parks Canada system, and stated the ongoing goals for the annual planning forum, which are to:

  • report on progress, opportunities and challenges in implementing the park management plan,
  • solicit a broad range of perspectives and ideas on matters relating to park management plan implementation, and
  • provide an opportunity for members of the Round Table to have discussions and to improve relationships and understandings, not just with Parks Canada but amongst themselves.

Round Table members introduced themselves, and Lisa Edwards was introduced as the forum’s graphic facilitator who will take the feedback she hears from the group and translate it into graphic format. 

Superintendents’ Welcome

Acting Superintendent for Banff National Park (East) Sheila Luey welcomed the group and extended her thanks to those who have been involved in this process for a long time and who have been setting the gold standard for groups of this sort across the Parks Canada system. She noted that Round Table members at the last forum asked to be brought early to the discussions of issues, challenges and principles that are part of developing the new park management plan. Their request has set the agenda for this year’s forum, and she encouraged all to step up and help shape the next decade of Banff’s future.

She noted that all comments and input received from Round Table members become part of the permanent record and that Parks Canada is enthusiastic to see the results of the forum and to receive guidance in the management planning process.

Acting Superintendent for Banff National Park (West) Rick Kubian thanked all for taking time from their busy lives to participate in the planning forum. A common thread he has noticed in all planning forums is that all those participating care deeply for Banff. He encouraged everyone to be thoughtful about that and to use it as a way to focus energy on this special place and on the uncommon opportunity ahead to be part of a park management planning process.

The Park Management Plan

A Park Management Plan presentation was delivered by Acting Superintendent Sheila Luey.

State of the Park Assessment

Acting Superintendent Rick Kubian introduced participants to the State of the Park Assessment, which is a formal step in the park planning process and which provides a high-level, partial picture of all that is going on in Banff National Park. Indicators and measures have been established for seven key subject areas, and trends are expressed for measures when there is sufficient data available. Four large-scale themes emerged from the State of the Park Assessment that will need to be focused on in the park management plan process – aquatic biodiversity, climate change, managing increasing visitation and improving Indigenous relations.

Presentation
Managers presented the State of the Park Assessment, conveying information for six of the key subject areas.

Ecological Integrity Indicators presented by Bill Hunt, Resource Conservation Manager and Dwight Bordin, Resource Conservation Manager

  • Forest – Area Burned Condition Class; Non-native Vegetation; Terrestrial Birds; Multi-species Mammal Occupancy; Winter Wildlife Corridors
  • Tundra – Non-native Vegetation; Alpine Birds; Alpine Extent; Sensitive Alpine Species - Goat; Alpine Obligate - Pika
  • Freshwater – Connectivity; Amphibian Occupancy; Lake Fish Index; Water Quality; Stream Fish Occupancy

Built Asset Indicators presented by John Gibbons, Asset Manager for Banff Field Unit and Travis Wert, Asset Manager for Lake Louise Yoho Kootenay

  • Buildings
  • Dams
  • Fortifications – Not applicable; no fortifications in Banff National Park
  • Highways – Good condition; significant rehabilitation
  • Marine Structures – Not applicable; no locks or marine structures in Banff National Park
  • Roads – Good condition; considerable rehabilitation underway
  • Vehicular Bridges – Good condition; considerable rehabilitation
  • Visitor Facilities – Good condition; significant rehabilitation underway

Visitor Experience Indicators presented by Greg Danchuk, Visitor Experience Manager for Banff National Park (East) and Jed Cochrane, Acting Visitor Experience Manager for Banff National Park (West)

  • Visits – Attendance (person-visit) 2011/12: 3,226,979; 2017/18: 4,181,856

Enjoyment – Enjoyed Visit - 97%; Satisfaction with Availability of Services - 89%; Satisfaction with Availability of Activities - 90%; Satisfaction with Staff Demonstrating Passion - 91%; Satisfaction with Condition of Facilities - 90%

  • Learning – Learned Something (about natural heritage of the place) - 74%
  • Satisfaction – Overall Visit Satisfaction - 96%; Satisfaction with Information Prior to Arrival - 88%; Satisfaction with Value for Entry Fee - 84%
  • External Relations Indicators presented by Judy Glowinski, External Relations Manager for Banff National Park and Chelsey Dawes, External Relations Manager for Banff National Park (West)
  • Outreach – Contacts (defined as a meaningful interaction of at least 30 seconds with Parks Canada staff)
  • Digital Communications – Followers, Reach, Engagement, Page views, Impressions (the number of times an ad is displayed through a web, newspaper, mobile medium)
  • Media Relations – Requests and responses; Coverage in local, regional, national and international media outlets
  • Support – Number of volunteers; Volunteer hours

Cultural Resource Indicators presented by Susan Kennard, Manager of Heritage Programs for Banff Field Unit

  • Archaeological Sites
  • Buildings and Engineering Works – Rating is based on a weighted average of Overall Asset Condition (by Current Replacement Value); no trend data is available because this is a revised rating system not applied previously
  • Landscapes and Landscape Features – None identified
  • Objects – 310 Objects of other heritage value; 274,342 Objects of other heritage value (Archaeological)

Indigenous Relations Indicators presented by Jenny Klafki, Acting Indigenous Relations Manager

  • Indigenous Partnerships – Indigenous Collaboration in Heritage Place Planning and Management; Indigenous Collaboration in Heritage Place Operations
  • Indigenous Accessibility – Indigenous Partner Access to Heritage Place Traditional Lands and Activities
  • Mutual Respect – Team Member Commitment to Building Mutual Respect, Trust and Understanding with Indigenous Partners; Extent of Reconciliation with Local Indigenous Communities
  • Incorporation of Traditional Knowledge – Incorporation of Traditional Knowledge; Use of Indigenous Languages
  • Support for Indigenous Communities – Economic Opportunities for Indigenous Peoples; Capacity Building for Indigenous Peoples
Questions

Many written questions were submitted by participants about the presentations, and Parks Canada managers provided answers to address the main themes of the questions received:

  • Ecological Integrity Indicators
  • How are indicators developed? What baseline data are used to inform the measures?
  • Explain the colour code for the measures. How is the trend arrow measured? How do you end up at a green, yellow or red symbol?
  • Questions around fire management and fuel management.
  • The previous management plan has grizzly bears as an indicator. Will this be of importance in the next plan?
  • Questions around non-native vegetation (weeds) and how that is managed in Banff National Park.

Built Asset Indicators

Why isn’t accessibility used as an indicator?

Questions around backcountry facilities, bridges and trails. What is the state of these assets? Is there an enhancement plan?

How is Parks Canada evaluating future visitor needs and behaviours and ensuring the relevance of current facilities or the future requirements regarding parking, visitor centres and campgrounds

Visitor Experience Indicators

  • Questions around the process and the Visitor Information Program survey itself.
  • Questions around the Satisfaction with Availability of Services measure that is part of the Enjoyment indicator.
  • Questions around visitation with some relating to figures reported for 1995-96.
  • Questions around the visitor experience and the Visitor Information Program survey with respect to people with disabilities.

External Relations Indicators

  • How can participants here support and participate in External Relations activities?
  • Questions around the processes and timelines that External Relations uses to meet communication goals.

Cultural Resource Indicators

  • Questions around the theme of cultural landscapes.
  • What is the impact of increased visitation on cultural resources?
  • Does Parks Canada provide stories in the interpretation program about topics other than science and initiatives such as the bison reintroduction?
  • What is the difference between operational and non-operational national historic sites?

Indigenous Relations Indicators

  • Questions expressing a deep desire to engage with Indigenous people and a strong interest in collaboration of some sort.
  • How is Parks Canada engaging with Indigenous groups and Indigenous people?
  • Questions around deep and important aspects of the cultural resources of Indigenous people.
  • Questions around Traditional Knowledge.
Reflections on the Gallery Walk, February 19

Round Table members and gallery members took a Gallery Walk and reviewed the display of graphic facilitation boards prepared by Lisa Edwards in response to feedback from participants at the 2016 Annual Forum. People were mindful of three questions as they viewed the boards:

What strikes you about how the group saw things in 2016? Responses:

  • Felt a lot of love and positivity from it
  • Discussions were quite high level and speculative; expect discussions this year will become more specific
  • Few comments present on the role of our communities and the important relationship we have with Banff National Park
  • Acknowledged the positive side and didn’t get into the grit of issues

What, if anything, has changed in the last two years? Responses:

  • Bison are now in the backcountry; would like information on what to do if we encounter them while hiking
  • Now there are more threats – wildfires, aquatic invasives, conflicts with specific wildlife species
  • Love is still there but is starting to fray around the edges with crowding conflicts and people feeling the pressures
  • More conversations are occurring in towns and associations on how we can do better for our destination, for our community, to balance community requirements and to have a prosperous economy
  • Transportation; need to move in larger strides to keep up with visitation and how we move people around in the park
  • Discussion of climate resiliency is more prevalent now; we have an opportunity to capture this and how it relates to our destination and brand
  • Involvement with Indigenous people has increased somewhat; Indigenous Round Table members have been coming to the forum for many years and continue to have a lot to share and to contribute; First Nations culture is of interest to people who come here from all over the world

If you could add one thing to the map, what would it be? 

Participants added their comments to the display boards during the Gallery Walk.

Breakout Sessions – Scoping the Next Plan
  • Scoping the next management plan defines the depth, breadth and focus of the next plan, including 1) what we wish to achieve, protect or create, 2) where our greatest potential lies, 3) what principles should guide us, and 4) what we should know or be mindful of.
  • Small working groups were established to encourage participants to talk with one another with the objectives of better understanding the points of view, differences and similarities among those at the Round Table and of helping Parks Canada make decisions about important matters that affect the park management plan. 
  • Working group discussions centred on three questions, and people were asked to consider the questions in the context of the next 10 years. Volunteers from the groups reported on what came out of the discussions, and Acting Superintendent Sheila Luey restated the feedback in terms of the big ideas that people were bringing forward.

What future trends or changes might affect Banff National Park? Responses:

  • Transportation and the opportunity for moving visitors by means other than personal vehicles; topics included carrying capacity, visitor flow, visitor footprint and ecological threshold; growth of mass transit and transportation alternatives will have positive effects
  • New and increased information will affect the assumptions we make about ecosystem carrying capacities and how we manage some ecosystems; we must not fear change
  • Carbon reduction strategies are expected over the next 10 years; links to mass transit and transportation, electric bikes and vehicles, charging stations
  • Matching backcountry and frontcountry assets to the pressure and trends of visitation; strategies include spreading out visitation to different sites to disperse crowds or compressing visitation into frontcountry nodes to benefit the ecological integrity of Banff National Park; additional data collection to help understand what infrastructure development would be most sustainable over the long term
  • Climate change potentially impacts winter activities; events like wildfires and floods impact the park destination
  • Demand will increase; managing this demand in relation to ecological impacts and visitor impacts will be challenging
  • Using data-driven approaches to measure ecological integrity and social science methods to measure visitor experience; improving data collection and accessing more data as additional tools and methodologies become available
  • Growing population in Calgary and Alberta
  • Changing visitor expectations; world is becoming more urbanized with a growing middle class in developing countries; with that comes visitors with different values and cultures; will be a challenge for Parks Canada in the future
  • Aging population
  • Loss of seasonality as shoulder seasons become longer

What should we not worry about? Responses:

  • Change is going to happen; we won’t be able to keep things as they are
  • The extreme projections from the Banff-Bow Valley Study; remember the sky is not falling
  • Should worry about a bit of everything
  • More marketing from Parks Canada to increase visitation; are already doing a fantastic job at this; very important for Parks Canada to continue to educate the park user
  • Don’t focus on the details, so we may see the big picture
  • Lack of interest in Banff National Park; there will always be people who are caring and passionate about the park
  • Setting a population cap for Banff townsite; have other mechanisms in place that will lead to self-moderation and living within our limits

Big ideas and great concepts should not be limited by concerns over funding; variety of ways exist to generate revenue and create responsible funding models to maintain assets

  • Management plan should be aspirational in nature and reflect what we hope to achieve, protect, create or enjoy
  • Trying to control or manipulate nature; natural ecological processes will continue
  • Changes in governments in Canada and shifts in political parties
  • Needing to increase annual visitation by 2% as was in the 2010 management plan
  • Don’t repeat the past by focusing on things we have already achieved; e.g., key targets related to wastewater
  • What is at stake if we don’t get it (the next management plan) right? Responses:
  • Ecological integrity; there is danger of losing it or having conditions decay
  • Mandate of Parks Canada; if visitor experience and education deteriorates, we will lose the support of Canadians
  • Quality of the visitor experience; if people have a poor experience, they will go elsewhere and our desirability and reputation will decrease
  • Opportunity to create a national model for green transit in the park; without this, we may have ecological degradation that will disappoint visitors to the park
  • Water quality inside and outside the park; condition of headwaters in the park will affect downstream water quality
  • Strength of the Banff National Park brand; is one of the leading national parks in the world, and the strength of that brand could be lost
  • Current opportunity to think big and affect significant change over the next 10 years; in some areas Banff National Park leads the world in how parks operate (e.g., animal overpasses), and the new management plan calls for a bold approach to make further progress
  • Loss of quality in terms of ecological integrity and visitor experience

Are there any general comments on what you have heard? Responses:

  • Wonder if the ideas that were on the graphic boards in 2017 made it into the management plan at that time and if these new ideas will make it into the coming plan for 2020-2030; another example would be research on a specific animal species that doesn’t necessarily impact how we manage the species; how do ideas make it into the 10-year plan
  • Workers in the Bow Valley who serve visitors and local people need to be more valued; it is important that these workers be well looked after so they can provide the best experience possible for those who visit the national park; these people work hard but they can get ignored and lost in the process
Reflections on the Second Gallery Walk, February 20 Round Table members and gallery members took another Gallery Walk to review the display of graphic facilitation boards prepared by Lisa Edwards to reflect discussions held on the first day of the forum. People were mindful of several questions as they viewed the boards:

Does anything jump out at you? Themes? Surprises? Responses:

  • The point that we need not worry about visitors always coming to Banff may reflect a false sense of positivity; peaks and troughs will always occur, and there are broader issues that will impact our reputation, such as traffic jams and overcrowding in some areas; maintaining our positive reputation and brand is critical in ensuring sustainable economies
  • We all have much in common and agree on some of the big-principle pieces; would like to see where we can build on that and move forward; we all love this place and want to protect it and its values whatever angle we are coming from – business, environmental, First Nations
  • Really appreciate that many comments mention the importance of involving Indigenous people in the discussions of the management plan; First Nations groups know that many people from around the world have great interest in Indigenous culture; First Nations groups believe they can learn from the excellent job that Parks Canada and the Town of Banff do with tourist promotion and can perhaps do some cross-promotion

Is anything missing? Responses:

  • Banff is an ambassador and an icon for Canada and for national parks; should discuss what our responsibility is in ensuring that visitors have a high-quality experience so they carry a positive opinion back into the world
  • Importance of education; if people stop coming here, we will lose the opportunity to share what we know and spread that valuable information far beyond our boundaries
  • Cost of accommodation in Banff is a rising concern for clubs bringing in hikers to the backcountry; if visitors from Canada and across the world can’t afford hundreds of dollars for accommodation before they go on their hikes, this is of serious concern to those organizing and guiding the hikes
  • Need an evaluation framework to use when we discuss the sustainability and resiliency of our industry in connection with ecological integrity; need to approach this in a way that all factors are considered in a weighted manner; there are joint responsibilities and existing areas of collaboration among groups and agencies, and a framework would help us look deeper into some subject areas
  • Should be identifying how technology is changing the way tourists experience the park (e.g., the Instagram tourist, people who are looking for just one scenic view) and how much this may change in the future
  • Discussion of both year-round and shoulder season demand and visitation; great marketing efforts from Banff and Lake Louise Tourism are doing a good job of smoothing out visitor volume across the entire year; important to incorporate management of the big picture over the whole year 

Does what you see spark any new questions? Responses:

  • Based on long cross-country ski experience at Lake Louise and extensive travel to many cross-country ski areas in western US and Canada, have a proposal to present to Parks Canada on improving educational opportunities for winter visitors at Lake Louise; ideas include winter nature trail and kid’s adventure trail, and most can be achieved with modest cost and creative thinking
Breakout Sessions – Guiding Principles

Management plans are strategic-level documents, and they are successful if they contain enough guiding principles to allow Parks Canada managers to make sound decisions with long-term consistency as they deal with the changes and unexpected events that will occur over the 10-year period of the plan.

Guiding principles can be thought of as the bottom lines that present and future park managers must remember when they are making decisions.

Participants returned to their small working groups to discuss the question: 

What principles should guide the next plan? Responses:

  • Sustainability – economic, environmental, social
  • Dedication clause as established in the Canada National Parks Act should be the leading principle against which all objectives are informed
  • Education and the messaging that Parks Canada conveys is critical in shaping the experience of visitors
  • Create value to remain relevant: referring to the values of people and society, ensuring that the park is valued by people who will then be encouraged to protect the park; retaining ecological integrity is a form of creating value; consciously using adaptive management, focusing on the future and our youth, and speaking to different users and different audiences are all ways we can create value; creating value by considering and protecting cultural spaces that have value to Indigenous groups; recognizes the importance of the human relationship with the place
  • Foster collaboration (across regions, across jurisdictions, intra-stakeholder) through focus and by reaching out to collaborate
  • Consider things from many angles (social, economic, environmental) to give the proper context for making informed decisions: e.g., applying principles of whole cost accounting to projects such as developing a balanced transportation plan
  • Maintain ecological integrity: should be the principle that overarches all decision-making; intact ecosystem in Banff is important to all who have an interest in the park
  • Reconciliation: in the context of Indigenous people and the larger national movement; also in the context of reconciliation with ecology and nature following human intervention, changes to the landscape and introduction of non-native species
  • Inclusivity: adapt to changing demographics and changes in how people use the national parks; e.g., families visiting day-use areas for picnics – a simple outing with simple food 20 years ago but now involves large groups with elaborate setups and menus
  • Have transparency and clarity in the decision-making process
  • Continual collaboration combined with adaptive management: looking ahead and anticipating changes and conditions will be better than just reacting during what will likely be a rapidly changing decade (e.g., increasing visitation expected); continue to engage with stakeholders to capture new ideas and better manage as we go along
  • Be open: to new or big ideas, going beyond what we have seen or done before; to learning from others and from our mistakes; to the need to adapt; to input; to making changes as we go along; be inclusive of a national population, of accessibility and of Indigenous people
  • Stop climate change: reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce energy use
  • Thoughtful and effective use of public funds
  • Community resilience: be inclusive of the park communities in our execution of the management plan
  • Clearly incorporate Traditional Knowledge and scientific data into decision-making
Your Future Involvement

Acting Superintendent Sheila Luey emphasized the importance of shaping the park’s future together and ensuring we have a healthy, well-managed park during the decade of the next management plan. Parks Canada uses many tools to collect input from people for the park management plan – online survey, planning forum, planning forum round table, working groups on specific topics, bilateral meetings with individual organizations, public forums, newsletters, community coffee klatch, speaker series, idea fairs – and they want to hear from all who want to be involved.

She noted the biggest complaint that Parks Canada hears coming out of any public meeting is that people feel they were not heard and that their voice wasn’t recognized in the process. The Round Table members and gallery members were asked to offer ideas on what Parks Canada could do differently in the future so that everyone will feel heard in the park management planning process.

How do you think we could better involve youth? Responses:

  • Go where they are and engage them by using the communication tools that they use – e.g., Snapchat, Instagram, chats in local bars; use the tool that will allow you to have a dialogue with them or trigger a response so they come back to you
  • Create a welcoming environment, invite them there and provide some free food; e.g., Avalanche Awareness Nights
  • Organize a mini version of this forum at high schools and universities – another version of going where the youth are
  • Connect with Parks Canada Club that exists at the University of Calgary; there may be other similar clubs
  • Reach out through the big employers in the communities; go to the work sites (e.g., mountain resorts, bars, hotels), talk with people who are coming here from all over the world to work and who have an interest in the future of the park
  • Create video content to capture their attention and explain ideas about the management plan

How do you think we could better involve new Canadians? Responses:

  • Meet directly with the organizations, societies and clubs of ethnic groups and ask them for their input on the management plan
  • Translate basic messaging into more languages to connect with new Canadians
  • Display Parks Canada messaging on buses, at outlets for the public transit system and at the waiting spots for transit
  • Use immigrant settlement services (e.g., Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association) to get access to ethnic groups en masse; rather than Parks Canada targeting the individual, the settlement services associations can facilitate the information and help disseminate the message
  • Offer remuneration to people who participate in a meeting during work time; this may make it easier for people working multiple or lower-paying jobs to take time off in order to participate; would be a relatively low-cost gesture that may elicit some new voices and concerns

How do you think we could better involve people from the local communities of Banff, Lake Louise and Canmore? Responses:

  • Use pop-up information booths to go out with targeted questions or targeted areas of information gathering; will connect with a good cross-section of locals, new Canadians and visitors; e.g., Lake Minnewanka shoreline location
  • For simple and targeted engagement, craft questions to prompt specific answers and use surveys – in the streets or using survey cards at front desks with messaging on a vertical banner
  • Seek feedback from the pool of people who participate in the wonderful volunteer and citizen science programs that Parks Canada runs
  • Advertise so organized opportunities for input are more generally searchable online; this forum did not show up when googled shortly before the event
  • Overcome the cynicism that some who have been involved in past feel with regard to the park management plan process

What helps people feel heard in this process? Responses:

  • People need to actually see that their voice has been heard; choose key action items taken from the forums, based on the collaboration and comments of everyone here, and create a format to demonstrate that you have done something with people’s input; this will reinforce that what has been contributed has been heard and is being acted upon
  • In longer processes where results may not be seen for a couple of years, rely on Parks Canada external relations and internal communications teams for expertise in mapping out the reporting process; collect data, distill results and report back periodically to show what has been collected; challenges and time lags do occur because reporting on the website must be done in both English and French
  • May build trust, make people feel heard and encourage more engagement in the future if people see some of the outcomes or the content from this forum in the final management plan; we are all here for the bigger picture, the next 10 years, the 2020 management plan
  • Provide a public-facing document that clearly describes the management planning process; our constituents want to have a better understanding of the sequence of events that occurs from where we are today until Parks Canada tenders the draft management plan to the Minister; in past, contributions made have not always been satisfactorily reflected in the final management plan; clarity up front about these complex processes would help
  • Adding a general timeline to the document that shows steps in the management planning process would help the public understand where we are in the process
  • Would like there to be checkpoints throughout the process where the group can meet again to engage with the management planning process and provide feedback before the final draft stage;
  • Normal pattern is for this group to meet once per year, but some issues require more discussion as a Round Table, so more meetings will be needed 
  • Clear objectives for particular meetings that allow advance preparation by Round Table members is important; members can go to their constituencies to gather input that focuses on those particular objectives; Round Table members become partners with Parks Canada in ensuring that their constituencies feel heard
  • Would like to talk as a group in detail about some very specific subjects related to implementation of the management plan and to contribute to developing possible courses of action; want to draw on the expertise of all at the Round Table to better inform the management plan and members’ response to it
  • People who don’t sit at the Round Table may want to be in a specific working group that shares expertise and develops ideas that are then taken back to the larger group at the Round Table
  • May be feasible to organize working groups around some of the indicators used in the State of the Park Assessment (ecological integrity, built assets, cultural resources, visitor experience) so the groups are tackling what has already been looked at
  • Use the idea of area concepts that are in the management plan; e.g., hold sessions in Lake Louise to discuss the Lake Louise area concept; bringing sessions to the particular areas would likely deliver a lot of good data and engage the community better

Is there a better way for us to convey information so you are able to stay in touch with what is going on? Responses:

  • Provide a sign-up list for the public; people indicate they would like to be contacted in future; list could be provided online or in hard copy at events
  • Encourage distance participation at meetings via video conferencing or calling in; would allow those who must travel to participate more often, particularly if the Round Table will be reconvening more frequently
  • Establish a mass email list that the public can join; notifications could be sent as a no-response email; no communication is offered other than an invitation to attend and the forum location, date and format
  • Use existing channels of communication such as the distribution lists of selected organizations at the Round Table; make sure the information is easily packaged for other partners at the Table to distribute
Closing

Acting Superintendent Rick Kubian reflected that he has again appreciated the environment of this annual planning forum. The venue is enjoyable, and he is thankful for the opportunity to reconnect with people who share a passion for Banff National Park and to talk about important issues affecting this special place.

He recalled Tracey LeBlanc’s opening words that outlined the rules of the game and observed that everyone here remained very present, attentive and respectful in their conversations throughout the forum. This has made it an enjoyable couple of days, and it has been a pleasure to be part of something where everyone dives right in, rolls up their sleeves and gets after it. Thanks go to everyone for contributing to this positive experience.

He expressed thanks to Lisa Edwards for the unique contribution her graphic illustration brings to the forum and observed that he sees people being truly engrossed as they look over the gallery boards. Tracey LeBlanc was thanked for her role in marshalling participants through the two days of the forum and for keeping everything on track and on time, which he observed is somewhat of a modern miracle. Thank yous were extended to Christie Thomson and the host of Parks Canada folks in green who worked tirelessly in the background to pull this event together and make it run smoothly.

He acknowledged the phenomenal amount of work done by the managers who developed and presented the State of the Park Assessment, noting that some of what was presented reflects years of work and that some of the managers in that group are considered world-leading experts on those topics, which he was proud to point out.

He thanked colleague Sheila Luey for bringing a sort of grace and intelligence to the proceedings that he really appreciated and that inspired and led the whole group through the two days and made the forum feel fairly special for him. 

Acting Superintendent Sheila Luey expressed her agreement with the thank yous already mentioned and particularly acknowledged all the hard work carried out by Parks Canada people who made the forum a reality. She extended her deep thanks to participants and observed that Round Table members and gallery members have all demonstrated a remarkable amount of thought, goodwill and willingness to help in what is sure to be a mammoth task. She mentioned several topics that had emerged from the discussion as good candidates for special interest working groups, and she looked forward to working together on those.

In her wrap-up, Facilitator Tracey LeBlanc inquired if there was any lingering feedback on the process of the annual planning forum. Response:

  • Important to look back and learn from experiences that the process has had over 5, 10 and 20 years; bring in institutional knowledge of what has worked well and what has not; beginning new processes at every meeting takes away from time that could be spent on dealing with difficult issues in the management plan
  • She thanked all for their participation and input on the scoping of the Banff National Park Management Plan, invited everyone to participate in further discussions and meetings about the plan, and asked Round Table members to complete evaluation forms.