Banff National Park of Canada – 2015-2020 Priorities

Parks Canada’s vision is captured in a few powerful words: “Canada’s treasured and historic places will be a living legacy, connecting hearts and minds to a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada.” Parks Canada’s specific efforts towards achieving this vision for each national park are reflected through Park Management Plans.

 

This version of the Banff National Park Year in Review report outlines progress made toward implementing the 2010 Park Management Plan from April 1, 2014 to February 1, 2016. This is not intended to be a comprehensive list of every action that Parks Canada undertook in that period, but rather a reporting on activities and accomplishments specific to the goals and objectives of the Park Management Plan.

This document also outlines priorities for attention during the last 5 years of the Park Management Plan’s lifespan.

Selected Highlights

CONSERVATION LEADERSHIP

  • Bow Valley Parkway : Implementation of the Bow Valley Parkway Five-Year Action Plan continued. This plan, resulting from the work of the Bow Valley Parkway Area Advisory Committee, identifies a number of actions relating to education, visitor experience and ecological integrity. Parks Canada has made substantial progress on the planned short and medium term actions including: implementation of a mandatory travel restriction for the protection of wildlife from March 1 to June 25. While overall traffic to the Parkway increased from previous years, compliance with the travel restriction ranged from 95% to 99%. Wildlife monitoring has begun but it is expected that a few more years will be required to enable wildlife to adapt to changing traffic patterns and evaluate the results. Wildlife surveys have confirmed that wary species, such as cougar and wolves, are using this valuable montane habitat during the travel restriction period.

  • Prescribed Fire:
    • In October 2014 Parks Canada completed a 676 hectare – an area 1.5 times the size of the Banff townsite – prescribed fire in the Sawback Range along the Bow Valley Parkway, 10 kilometres west of the Town of Banff. The Sawback Prescribed Fire plays an important role in supporting the continued use of prescribed fire to improve habitat, a key element of the Bow Valley Parkway Action Plan. This will contribute to the achievement of the future best vision for the area and support broader landscape ecological efforts. This fire also serves to improve opportunities for wildlife viewing along the Bow Valley Parkway and will help provide attractive habitat for grizzly bears away from the Canadian Pacific Railway right of way. Parks staff will produce a final report on this restoration effort in 2016.

    • In the fall of 2015, Parks Canada completed prescribed fires in the remote Panther (820 ha) and Dormer (540 ha) Valleys in the northeast portion of Banff Park. These fires were designed to renew and restore montane habitats (open grasslands) to support increased biodiversity in these watersheds. Restoring these areas, through the use of fire, will improve habitat quality for various ungulates including bighorn sheep, elk, goats, and potentially bison. A larger (6,800 ha), stand replacing, prescribed fire is planned for the Dormer valley with a goal of renewing forested areas within this watershed – weather permitting this fire will occur in 2016.

  • Managing Wildfires for Ecological Benefits and Public Safety:    
    • Spreading Creek Wildfire: Started by a lightning strike on July 3, 2014, the Spreading Creek wildfire burned on Alberta provincial lands and within Banff National Park adjacent to the Icefields Parkway (Highway 93N) and the David Thompson Highway (Highway 11). In total, 9,000 hectares burned, including 2,300 hectares within the park. Parks Canada fire management personnel successfully contained the fire and reduced the threat to the Icefields Parkway, Saskatchewan Crossing Warden Station, and the Saskatchewan Crossing Resort. The Spreading Creek wildfire is an excellent example of Parks Canada demonstrating world-class fire management strategies in challenging operations. Staff minimised impact to the travelling public and local stakeholders while respecting the role of fire on the landscape. The wildfire provided opportunities to reach Canadians through on-site visitor education, a proactive media tour, and multiple social media, web and digital media posts. Also of note, near the time of the Spreading Creek wildfire, Parks Canada, successfully suppressed 5 lightning-started wildfires in the Bow Valley in a span of only two days, before any of them exceeded the park’s initial attack capacity.

    • Snarl Creek Wildfire : This fire was likely started by a lightning strike on July 11, 2015 and detected by Parks Canada staff on July 14, 2015 at five hectares. This fire was located in the Clearwater valley, approximately 80 km northeast of the Town of Banff, 2 km from the Banff National Park boundary with the Province of Alberta. Parks Canada fire management personnel successfully managed this fire using indirect fire management methods (burning off of established control lines and natural features) and contained the fire to within Banff National Park. Parks Canada used established fire management zoning principles to manage the wildfire to protect the public, infrastructure and neighbouring lands, while allowing fire to play its natural role in the ecosystem. Parks Canada worked very closely with the Government of Alberta in the sharing of facilities and resources to work effectively and efficiently in a very remote valley of the park. As such this wildfire contributed 900 hectares of managed wildfire to the Banff National Park landscape.

  • Re-introducing Bison : In 2015 Parks Canada continued to work to restore a small herd of free-roaming plains bison in the Panther Valley area of Banff National Park. Key activities focussed on installing and testing small sections of fence, which will play a role in encouraging the bison to remain inside Banff Park, to ensure they are permeable to other target wildlife species such as elk, deer and bighorn sheep. Researchers also worked to collect baseline data on vegetation, songbirds, and aquatic indicator species so we can better understand the ecological effects of restoring bison to this ecosystem. Work is currently underway to complete an environmental assessment and develop various contingency plans, in cooperation with key partners, to ensure we are adequately prepared for to manage issues should they arise (e.g. excursion and disease management). Prescribed fire was applied in the Panther and Dormer valleys to improve forage inside the park, as another key approach for encouraging bison to remain on park lands.

  • “FireSmart” and Forest Thinning at Mount Norquay: This project is intended to improve the ability for wildlife to move through this important wildlife corridor. Over the last 3 years, Parks Canada has completed 37 hectares of thinning (primarily the removal of downed timber) along the lower slopes on the south side of Mt. Norquay. Parks Canada also completed 12 hectares of FireSmart work directly adjacent to the leasehold. This work was identified as part of a series of mitigations to offset impacts of increased human use with the approval of various summer operations that the ski hill (e.g. tea house, gondola and via ferrata). In 2016, parks staff will produce a final report on this forest management project.

  • Monitoring Grizzly Bears: In 2014 and 2015, Parks Canada completed the final two seasons of grizzly bear capture and collaring as part of the cooperative Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR)/Parks Canada Grizzly Bear Research Project. Over the past four years, Parks Canada wildlife specialists safely captured and handled grizzly bears on 44 occasions without incident. This project has provided unprecedented GPS collar data describing the behaviour and habitat use of 26 individual grizzly bears in the Bow Valley during this time period. Work continues, with various research partners including the University of Alberta, to analyze how bears are using this complex landscape and is providing insights into how best to reduce risks of grizzly bear mortality along the railway. Results from these initiatives will inform short-term and long-term solutions for reducing grizzly bear-train collisions.

  • Testing Electrified Mats for Fence Exclusion: Parks Canada specialists completed a third and final season of the off-site electrified mat trials for potential application on the CPR. These two test plots were designed and managed to test the effectiveness of new electrified mat technologies at keeping bears and other wildlife from entering into fenced areas. This approach appears to have good potential for excluding grizzly bears and other wildlife from some of the higher risk sections of the CPR right-of-way. Results from this testing have also helped inform the implementation of electrified mats to augment, and perhaps eventually replace, Texas gates (cattle guards) that are used to deter wildlife from accessing the fenced TransCanada Highway (TCH). Parks staff will produce a final report on this research in 2016.

Aquatic Restoration:

  • Establishing a new population of Westslope Cutthroat Trout in Rainbow Lake - In July 2015, Parks Canada worked with volunteers from Trout Unlimited Canada to complete this project by capturing just over 100 pure westslope cutthroat trout, a species at risk, from Sawback Lake and transplant these native fish into Rainbow Lake. The bulk of this project involved three seasons of netting and electrofishing by PC staff to remove non-native rainbow from Rainbow Lake. As a result, Rainbow Lake is home to a population of genetically pure cutthroat trout. The final component in the Upper Cascade restoration will be to remove non-native brook trout from Badger Lake – this work will begin in 2016.

  • Establishing a new core population of Westslope Cutthroat Trout in Sawback Creek - Over the past 3 years, Parks Canada successfully removed non-native Rainbow trout from Rainbow Lake, a small alpine lake in the Upper Cascade Watershed of Banff National Park. Downstream movement of these rainbow trout had impacted the native population of Westslope Cutthroat Trout in Sawback Creek. Parks Canada staff also used mark and recapture techniques, combined with genetic testing to remove hybridized trout from Sawback Creek. This project was so successful, that this stream population now meets COSEWIC criteria necessary to qualify as Banff’s 11th “core” population of westslope cutthroat trout. This represents the first new core population established anywhere in Canada since westslope cutthroat trout were listed as threatened under the federal Species at Risk Act in 2013. Parks staff will produce a final report on this research in 2016.
  • Restoring Connectivity in 40 Mile Creek - In 2014, the Town of Banff and Parks Canada cooperated to safely and effectively remove a portion of the 40 Mile Dam on Forty Mile Creek behind Mt. Norquay in Banff National Park. This 20m high concrete structure has prevented native fish, such as bull trout from accessing spawning habitat for almost 100 years. A short film, documenting this effort, debuted at the Banff Film Festival as the opener for Yvon Chouinards’ full-length feature film “Damnation” and is now available on the Town of Banff website. Parks Canada aquatics specialists are currently working with telemetry specialists from Carleton University in Ottawa to use telemetry techniques to properly assess the actual permeability of the remaining dam structure, for bull trout during low fall flows that occur during their spawning season.
  • Restoring Connectivity in Bath Creek - In May 2014, Parks Canada staff collected Bull trout DNA samples to test for restoration of habitat connectivity as part of the Bath Creek culvert work. Four species of fish were caught: Bull, Westslope Cutthroat and Brook trout, and Mountain Whitefish. This indicates successful restoration of habitat connectivity as there are now three native fish – Bull and Westslope Cutthroat trout (a species at risk), and Mountain Whitefish – above the replaced culvert.
  • Improving Cascade Creek Connectivity In 2014, Parks Canada made significant progress toward the restoration of aquatic habitat in Cascade Creek, below the Minnewanka Reservoir. Progress included installing a large capacity box culvert under the Minnewanka Loop road, establishing an overflow channel through the partially reclaimed Cascade Gravel Pits, restoring the control weir (riffle) at the lower end of Cascade Ponds and restoring sections of the stream adjacent to the Legacy Trail. Parks Canada is now working with CPR to restore the most downstream section between the Legacy Trail and the TransAlta tailrace, and is also working with Trans Alta to support their upgrades to the riparian valve, near the Minnewanka dam, to eventually allow for increased flow rates in the restored stream.

  • Restoring Westslope Cutthroat Trout to Hidden Lake – The goal of this project is to remove non-native Brook trout from this lake and reintroduce threatened Westslope Cutthroat trout. During the 2014 field season, 4728 Brook trout were removed from the lake and tributaries and in 2015, 7270 fish were removed. A two year grant from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise provided additional funding for a student who worked at Hidden Lake as well as providing additional education and outreach about fish conservation issues.
  • Planning and Preparing for Caribou Recovery: As part of the Conservation Strategy for Southern Mountain Caribou, Parks Canada continued to monitor changes in predator-prey dynamics to inform future caribou reintroduction efforts. Twenty-four remote cameras distributed throughout historic caribou range north of Lake Louise helped estimate wolf abundance, overlap with caribou range, and changes in the relative abundance of elk, deer, and moose, which all influence caribou predation risk. Continued monitoring of wolves and other wildlife species in caribou range will provide Parks Canada with information required to prioritize where caribou translocations will have the greatest likelihood of success and conservation value.

  • Wolf Monitoring: Parks Canada captured and radio collared 6 wolves (representing 3 different wolf packs throughout Banff Park), to support several key research projects. These include monitoring the response of wolves to the spring travel restriction on the Bow Valley Parkway (no vehicles between dusk and dawn – see above), understanding the potential effects of wolf density on caribou habitat viability in BNP, and understanding year round effectiveness of wildlife corridors which are monitored for multi-species through the winter corridor tracking program. These data will also provide insight into alternate prey selection (e.g deer, sheep, goats) by wolves as we continue to manage their primary prey (elk) in the Bow Valley.

  • Restoring Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin National Historic Site: A collaboration between the Alpine Club of Canada and Parks Canada saw the 92-year old Swiss-designed refuge hut get a much deserved face lift in August 2014. Masons from the Parks Canada Heritage Restoration Workshop repointed cracked and weathered mortar with the help of the Alpine Club of Canada facility maintenance team. This project received high public interest, with over 22,000 people introduced to the project on Facebook and Twitter.

  • Restoring Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site: Parks Canada collaborated with the Lake Louise Ski Area to do restoration work on the Honeymoon Cabin at Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site in June 2015. Parks Canada’s Heritage Restoration Workshop Team completed stone mason work and ensured that the rustic characteristics and commemorative integrity of the building were maintained. Working off old photographs, the original 1936 stone fireplace was restored, along with new foundation piers and stonework, repairs to log chinking and restoration of the front deck.

BRINGING PARKS CANADA PLACES TO CANADIANS

  • Reaching Out in Calgary: From mid-June to Labour Day in September 2015, Parks Canada engaged more than 65,600 young families through the “Get into the Wild Program” at the Calgary Zoo - an increase of almost 50% over 2014. The program encourages understanding, support and visitation to Canada’s National Parks and features threatened species from Wood Buffalo (Whooping Crane), Grasslands (Black-Tailed Prairie Dog), Jasper/Banff (Caribou), Elk Island (Wood Bison) and the Mountain Parks (Grizzly Bear).

  • Reaching Out in Toronto:
    • Banff National Park was featured in a Parks Canada outreach initiative at the Toronto Zoo and Canadian National Exhibition which engaged over 129,000 persons. The program encourages understanding, support and visitation to Canada’s National Parks. It featured multiple national parks and species including Banff National Park (Grizzlies).

    • Banff National Park’s wildlife crossings were highlighted at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto in March 2015. For seven days, Parks Canada staff engaged young families (2,000 contacts) with an interactive activity about the role of Banff’s wildlife crossing structures. Other Parks Canada activities (including spray-on tattoos, a green screen postcard activity, and build-a-wildlife-crossing postcard), social media posts and news media coverage ensured this Banff National Park story and visitor information reached additional Toronto audiences.

  • Reaching out in Vancouver:
    • Banff National Park stories, including woodland caribou and fire management, were highlighted as part of Parks Canada’s Vancouver urban outreach program. In addition to 16,119 contacts made at Science World, 17,065 contacts were made at special events where potential visitors from throughout the Vancouver area were introduced to Parks Canada places, including Banff National Park.

  • Connecting with Canadians Online: Banff National Park continues to connect with Canadians through popular social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The BanffNP Facebook Page has grown 13% to date this year from 15,181 to 17,105 fans. The @BanffNP Twitter channel has grown 25% and continues to be one of the largest channels in the national park system. The single YouTube video published in 2015 saw more than 49,000 views. A second video produced with time lapse footage provided by Parks Canada was screened to an audience of 1,000 at the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Travel Alberta also created 2 new video’s in their “Remember to Breathe” series featuring the Cave and Basin NHS (37,000 views) and the Wildlife Guardians (62,000 views).

CONNECTING VISITORS WITH THEIR NATIONAL PARK AND HISTORIC SITES

  • Federal Infrastructure Investments in Banff National Park : In July 2015, project funding of $117 million was announced for highway infrastructure in Banff National Park. . An additional $44 million of Federal Infrastructure Investment was provided for extensive rehabilitation work on other park roads and parking lots. This important work is an investment in the national park legacy – it will improve visitor safety and experience, protect built assets, and support conservation of natural or historical resources. Projects completed this year include: 12 kms of the Trans-Canada highway re-paved, re-paving of the golf course road, and flood repairs at Cascade Pond day use area and the Cascade Valley trail system. Projects underway include: Johnston Canyon rock scaling work and railing replacement, improvements to the wildlife fence at the east end of the park; replacement of the Spray River Bridge, replacement of the underground utilities in Tunnel Mountain Village II Campground, replacement of the Banff East Gate gantry sign, repairs to Banff Visitor Centre and park septic systems, installation of new privies at Redearth Creek, Valleyview and Bourgeau Lake, and repairs to the Cascade of Time gardens and ponds.

  • Interpretation:
    • During the summer of 2015, Parks Canada delivered a very robust program offer which included: evening theatre programs in three campgrounds, informal talks at eight popular day-use areas, four programmed activities, and provided roadside wildlife viewing education along the Bow Valley Parkway and Highway 93 N. A new Day-Use Area program was added to our offer on the Minnewanka Loop providing education on wildlife attractants and the importance of properly disposing garbage. Together these programs provided the opportunity for Parks Canada to connect directly with over 83,000 visitors (an increase of 60% from 2014) about the ecology and history of Banff National Park.


      Interpretive programs are offered year round at the Cave and Basin NHS with guided tours running every day the site is open and a range of enhanced and after hours interpretive programs also available as ticketed events. The Cave and Basin was awarded Interpretation Canada’s Bronze Award in September 2014 for the Cave Lantern Tour in the Personal Interpretation category.

    • In collaboration with Brewster Travel Canada, an interpretive plan for Sulphur Mountain was implemented, focusing on renewal of all interpretive media along the Sulphur Mountain boardwalk, at the Cosmic Ray Station National Historic Site and the Sulphur Mountain Weather Observatory.

    • A new Xplorers booklet for the Icefields Parkway was developed in conjunction with Jasper National Park to share the Icefields Parkway 75th anniversary with visitors.

  • Sharing Our Science – Wildlife Crossings Exhibit: The exhibit on the Trans-Canada Highway near Castle Junction opened in July 2015.

  • Increasing Visitor Convenience – Camping Reservations: With a fully operational Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court campground in 2014, and the addition of the 76-site Two Jack Lakeside campground to the reservation system in 2014, Banff National Park added over 300 campsites into the national campground reservation system inventory for summer of 2014. The summer of 2015 saw the addition of Johnston Canyon campground and 22 Equipped Campsites at Two Jack Main added to the national reservation inventory. The availability of these additional campsites contributed to an overall increase in camping of 10% in 2015/16. Visitors continue to increase their use of the reservation system for more convenient and easier planning of the national park visits. The oTENTik program has continued to be successful in 2014, and 2015 with a 88% occupancy rate in 2015, a 14% increase over 2014.

  • Increasing Visitor Convenience – Park Pass Sales: Entering the park and acquiring a park pass was made easier through several new national park entry pass sales arrangements with third party retailers such as Tourism Calgary and Tourism Canmore, along with the continuation of existing arrangements with Mountain Equipment Co-op, Alberta Motor Association and Husky. This has increased efficiency at the Banff East Gate through reduced lineups. This, along with additional (2014) signage, a new drive-through lane and a more stable Point of Sale System and gate attendant team together have made it easier and more convenient for visitors to enter and begin their national park experience.

  • Equipped campsites: No gear? No problem! Piloted during summer 2014 and expanded to 22 reservable sites in 2015, equipped campsites at Two Jack Main campground gave a broad range of visitors a chance to experience camping without bringing along all of the gear. The equipped sites were popular, (73% occupancy) with high satisfaction indicated from visitors.

  • Visitation to Banff National Park: A record number of visitors seized the opportunity to experience and connect with Banff National Park during 2014-2015, yielding an increase of 10.4% for a total of 3.6 million visitors. In 2015-2016, through the end of November 2015, there has been a 7.6% increase over the same period last year.

  • Visitation to the Cave and Basin National Historic Site: Increasing numbers of visitors are learning about the story of the Birthplace of Canada’s National Parks at the Cave and Basin NHS. Visitation is increasingly steadily month after month. As of January 1, 2016 the site has welcomed 127,000 visitors making it one of the most visited National Historic Sites in the Parks Canada system with paid visits up by 55% compared to 2014/15.

  • A New Experience - Red Chairs: In fall of 2014, installed and promoted 12 sets of red chairs at high visitation day-use areas and along park trails, in support of the national Parks Canada Red Chair Experience - #Sharethechair. The Red Chair Experience Program provides opportunities for visitors to connect with nature and to experience the most unique and treasured places within Canada. Visitors are encouraged to seek out the “red chairs” to enjoy these special places and to share their experience through social media and other communication channels. In Banff there has been very positive reception from visitors with many special memories shared via social media.

  • Connecting to Our History and Culture: L eading up to our 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017, Parks Canada is sharing the stories of Canada. Over the past 2 years, a series of special events and activities have commemorated milestones in Canada’s history including: the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag, interpretive programs about Sir John A MacDonald and special after hours programs such as World War I Tavern nights. These special events and enhanced interpretive programs provide diverse and accessible opportunities for visitors to engage in Canada’s history.

  • WonderFall Shuttle to Moraine Lake: For the third year in a row Parks Canada offered shuttle service between Moraine Lake and Lake Louise Overflow to provide larch viewing access to visitors during the annual fall festival. In 2015 a total of 12 days of service were provided to approximately 7000 passengers, almost doubling the program from the previous year.

  • Engaging Experiences – ‘Learn To’ Programs: Building on the programming piloted in 2014- Learn to Snowshoe was provided to visitors during late January and early February 2015. The program was expanded to capture interested morning and afternoon visitors over 3 weekends. Visitors could register and pay for the program through the visitor centre or on location. Thanks in part to some television promotion, the program had 67 participants (up from 15 the previous year).

  • Lake Louise Ski Area Site Guidelines: The Lake Louise Ski Area Site Guidelines for Development and Use were approved in July 2015. These Site Guidelines contribute to ensuring ecological integrity is maintained or restored, while encouraging enhanced visitor experiences and learning opportunities consistent with our mandate. Under the Site Guidelines, the footprint for commercial use at the Lake Louise Ski Area will shrink. An area 1.5 times the size of the Town of Banff will be will be added to the 95 percent plus of Banff National Park that is already designated wilderness. The Guidelines set permanent limits to growth and outline conditions that must be met for Parks Canada to consider proposed changes. They do not constitute approval of specific proposals within them. Under this framework, the ski area can develop Long-Range Plans that are subject to a detailed impact analysis and further public consultation.

  • Enhancing Public Safety: In 2014/2015, Parks Canada developed and implemented a suite of communications strategies ranging from social media posts, media stories, updated trail guides, and web pages with specialized messaging around avalanche safety in the Lake Louise area.



2010 - 2014 Priority Actions by Program Activity
(Chapter 10 of the 2010 Park Management Plan)

Program

In Support of (Indicator):

Priority Action

Progress in the Reporting Period

Heritage Resource Conservation

Native Biodiversity: Species at Risk

Complete investigation of the feasibility of restoring a breeding population of woodland caribou.

(Jasper National Park is the lead on this mountain park team project.)

  • In progress.
  • Continued to monitor wolves and assess how wolf range overlaps with important caribou habitat.
 

Native Biodiversity: Grizzly Bears

Develop evidence-based estimates of grizzly bear population numbers.

Safely use high quality habitat

  • In progress.
  • Comparing estimates derived from hair snagging (DNA) with those obtained from occupancy estimates based on remote camera monitoring. With the overlap of the PC/CP bear study we are able to improve the accuracy of density estimates by comparing the frequency of marked and unmarked animals. Excellent results thus far, appear consistent with previous estimates and have enabled the saving of resources, and deferred extensive hair snagging efforts to approximately 2019/20.
  • Concluded year 5 of the 5 year Joint Action Plan to study grizzly bear use of the lower valley bottoms near CPR right-of-way. Capture and collaring efforts kept approximately 10 bears satellite-collared, and provided data to various research teams. Successfully collared grizzly bears without incident. Research results of Joint Action Plan (CP/Parks Canada Grizzly Bear Project) will be presented in fall 2016.

Heritage Resource Conservation

Aquatic Ecosystems: Eliminating non-native fish populations

Complete the restoration of Devon Lakes’ ecosystem.

  • Completed (2012).
  • Monitoring indicated that restoration of Devon Lakes is still 100% successful and that restoration of this ecosystem has been entirely sustained over time.
  • Parks Canada’s innovative approach is now being used to complete similar projects.

Heritage Resource Conservation

Aquatic Ecosystems: Ensuring Connectivity

Restore aquatic connectivity in at least three tributary streams to the Bow River.

  • Ongoing.
  • Removed barrier at 40 Mile Dam and installed crude fish ladder. Conducting empirical testing of connectivity for fall spawning bull trout.
  • Replaced culvert at Bath Creek with new structure that is completely permeable for fish.
  • Conducting habitat work at Cascade Creek (including Cascade Pits, Cascade Ponds, Legacy section and Lower King-George section). Working in cooperation with TransAlta, who is upgrading infrastructure, to ensure flows will be restored.

Heritage Resource Conservation

Aquatic Ecosystems: Eliminating non-native fish populations

Reduce non-native fish populations to ecologically insignificant levels by 2013-2014 in two sub-alpine watersheds.

  • In progress.
  • Completed work at Rainbow Lake that included re-stocking the lake with over 100 native Westslope Cutthroat Trout. Translocation effort supported by volunteers from Trout Unlimited.
  • Continued to work on Hidden Lake Restoration Project to increase population of self-sustaining native Westslope Cutthroat Trout.
  • Conducting ongoing systematic review of fish removal methods with Carleton University. This will include examination of a wide range of techniques and experiences to determine common patterns of success and failure.

Heritage Resource Conservation

Native Biodiversity: Species at Risk

Ensure that the integrity of thermal springs is maintained or improved.

  • Ongoing.
  • For many years now the Banff Springs Snail populations have thrived and by reintroducing snails to two new sites (kidney spring and upper middle spring; years ago) BS Snails now occupy every viable habitat in BNP.
  • Through the Cave & Basin renewal project we established a hot spring water font at the entrance to allow visitors to “test the waters” without any risk of disturbing snails.

Heritage Resource Conservation

Native Biodiversity

Initiate planning for reintroduction of plains bison.

  • Implementation of 5 year project to complete planning, conduct pre-bison preparations and begin bison reintroduction.
  • Provided project updates to stakeholders and public.
  • Began pre-bison fence testing to evaluate permeability for other wildlife, and monitored this by remote cameras and winter snow tracking.
  • Began ecological monitoring to document pre-bison environmental conditions (e.g. large mammals, songbirds, vegetation, aquatic invertebrates and fish assemblages).
  • Continued application of prescribed fire to restore meadow habitat for bison and other wildlife in the proposed reintroduction area.
  • Establishing bison familiarization program at Ya Ha Tinda to introduce Parks Canada and private horses to docile captive bison in preparation for bison reintroductions.
  • Developing detailed project plan to address feedback from stakeholders and neighboring jurisdictions.

Heritage Resource Conservation

Terrestrial Ecosystems: Restoration of Vegetation Patterns, Structure and Health

Terrestrial Ecosystems: Ungulate Browsing

Native Biodiversity

Public Awareness: Building Understanding and Support for Conservation Initiatives

Continue implementation of the prescribed fire program.

  • Ongoing.
  • In 2014, successfully completed Sawback Prescribed Burn. Excellent results and minimal smoke /disturbance. Excellent visitor experience opportunities to observe fire in a front country setting. This fire improved wildlife viewing opportunities along Bow Valley Parkway and may help reduce the time bears spend on the railway tracks by providing improved forage on these open slopes.
  • In spring 2014, implemented Dormer prescribed fire guards (approximately 300 hectares). This will facilitate the implementation of the main unit (6800 ha) prescribed fire in future.
  • In 2015, successfully completed Panther and Dormer grassland burns. Covering approximately 700 hectares, these remote fires improve habitat quality for ungulates, and support successful bison re-introduction.
  • Gained public appreciation and understanding for the prescribed fire program through use of traditional and new media.
  • Planning underway for future prescribed fires including Cascade Valley, Baker Creek, Moose Meadows, Dormer Valley, Fairholme II, Indian Grounds /Airstrip, and Palliser.


Heritage Resource Conservation

Terrestrial Ecosystems: Restoration of Vegetation Patterns, Structure and Health

Native Biodiversity: Species at Risk

Continue active management measures aimed at restoring and understanding interactions between prescribed fire, forest health, ungulates, predators and people.

  • Ongoing
  • Conducted field work associated with projects examining the interactions between fire, grazing and fish habitat
  • Continued wildlife camera monitoring work.
  • Completed field work, in collaboration with the University of Alberta, for a project aimed at understanding how bears use burned and thinned habitats over time (post treatment).
  • Collected seed from Whitebark pine trees in the Mount Hector area to test for resistance to the Whitepine blister rust.

Heritage Resource Conservation

Awareness: Building Understanding and Support for Conservation Initiatives

Integrate protection and education measures for the endangered Banff Springs snail into a renewed visitor experience at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site.

  • Completed (2013).


Heritage Resource Conservation

Native Biodiversity

Awareness: Building Understanding and Support for Conservation Initiatives

Design a citizen science program around core ecological monitoring programs and other ecosystem studies. Share the stories of citizen scientists widely through the Internet & new media.

  • Ongoing.
  • Currently have 9 Citizen Science projects underway in Banff National Park.

- Hidden Lake Fish Restoration (Volunteers logged a total of 225 hours in 2014.)

- Harlequin Duck Monitoring

- Aquatic Invertebrate Monitoring - Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN)

- Breeding Bird Surveys

- Avian Survivorship - Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survivorship (MAPS)

- Pika Monitoring

- Winter snow tracking Occupancy

- Grizzly Trends from DNA

- Grizzly Cub Index

  • Presented “Citizen Science in Banff” to “Under Western Sky” Conference, Sept 2014 at Mt Royal University. The Banff National Park (BNP) program stood out for being both effective and diverse.

Heritage Resource Conservation

Public Awareness: Building Understanding and Support for Conservation Initiatives

Begin implementation of the management plan for National Historic Sites, notably renewal of the Cave and Basin NHS.

  • Completed 2013
  • Completed commemorative integrity evaluation of the Cave and Basin National Historic Site (CBNHS) in October 2015.
  • Completed assessment and planning for restoration work on Honeymoon Cabin, Skoki Ski Lodge National Historic Site.
  • Trail remediation at Lower Bankhead to protect the cultural resources in that area.
  • Major rehabilitation of the ponds in the historic Cascades of Time Garden. Work completed as of Feb 1, 2016: completion of the Cambrian and Devonian ponds. Completion of the Tree and Shrub vegetation plan for the garden.
  • Reroofed the Visitor Information Centre, which is a FHBRO heritage building
  • 2015 started repointing of all the historic masonry of the 1914 Bathing Pavilion at the Cave and Basin

Public Appreciation and Understanding

Engagement with First Nations

Invite strengthened involvement of Aboriginal people in the park and develop a working protocol on consultation with elders.

  • Ongoing
  • Facilitated First Nation access to BNP for harvesting and gathering of plants and natural objects for ceremonial and cultural purposes.
  • Stoney First Nation: Continued implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding with the SNFN; hosted annual Family Camp at the Banff Indian Grounds in August; facilitated frequent tours of the Cave & Basin NHS of SNFN students from the Exshaw School supported Hostelling International in hosting a Stoney Elder traditional knowledge speaker series at the Lake Louise Hostel; and continued discussion of Bison Reintroduction project in Banff National Park.
  • Siksika First Nation – continued to collaborate on annual Siksika summer camps, ceremonies and teepee pole harvesting; continued negotiations on the Castle Mountain Specific Land Claim.

Public Appreciation and Understanding

Increasing Visitor Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Create a user-friendly website that incorporates enhanced trip planning information.

  • Ongoing.
  • Worked with Google Streetview to capture imagery of roads and trails throughout BNP and Cave and Basin NHS interior and exterior.
  • Prepared Weekly Bear Updates for bear awareness and visitor safety.
  • Updated trip planning and activities section according to national standards.
  • Completed redevelopment of Trans-Canada-Highway pages about twinning construction and wildlife crossing structures.
  • Completed redevelopment of Bear Management pages.
  • Amended and increased avalanche awareness information on the web particularly for snowshoers, winter walkers and cross-country skiers.


Public Appreciation and Understanding

Increasing Visitor Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Fostering Learning and Engagement

Develop and implement an outreach program for new target audiences.

  • Ongoing.
  • Continued to use social media as a means to share important information and stories with key target markets. Highlights included: images from remote wildlife cameras; visitor safety messages and tips; new visitor opportunities; and opportunistic feature stories, e.g., bears feeding on fish at Vermilion Lakes.
  • In summer 2015, the Mountain WIT troupe supported Parks Canada priorities of reaching young urban audiences where they live by personally contacting over 28,500 people via outreach education programs at regional festivals, and special events. This included a Learn to Camp Program at the Calgary Zoo and expanded participation at the Calgary Children’s Festival.
  • In 2015, Parks Canada engaged more than 65,600 young families through the “Get into the Wild Program” at the Calgary Zoo featuring stories related to grizzly bears and woodland caribou.
  • Updated content and added new videos to the wildlife crossings exhibit in Cequel Lodge at the Calgary Zoo. The lodge receives an estimated 60,000 visitors per year
  • Parks Canada Youtube videos featuring Mountain WIT had over 35,000 views.
  • The BNP volunteer program engaged over 1,000 volunteers (individuals and groups) contributing 15,000+ hours to various projects including; trail reports, events, campground host, invasive plant removal, planting natives, litter picks. Highlights included:

- Trail Signage Inventory Project where volunteers hiked over 600 kms and inventoried 1,000 signs in 2 months.

- Corporate Group Volunteer Pilot Program which involved a Wildlife Fence Check with a corporate group, including pre and post trip learning.

  • Banff National Park achieved extensive national and regional media coverage for Parks Canada stories:
    • March 2015: Bear 122 article “DNA research illustrates, if you're a grizzly bear around these parts, 122 is your Daddy” went national as well as international (e.g. United States).
    • Full page article including photo of the Cave and Basin NHS in August edition of Maclean's magazine reviewing the #UncleJohn opera hosted at the NHS in partnership with The Banff Centre, reached 2.6 million readers in August 2014)
    • Six weeks of traditional and social media coverage related to bears in and around the Town of Banff (approx. 30 interviews on this subject, April-June, approx. 1 million readers and viewers)
    • Scoop and run footage of staff picking up elk calves and placing them out of high public use areas (estimated 800,000 readers and viewers through traditional and social media)
    • Bear # 122 in Maclean's Magazine (reached 2.6 million readers as of March 2015)
    • A Banff National Park Facebook album on AbbotPass Refuge Hut restoration was picked up by The North Face social media, considerably expanding the reach of the story.
  • Incorporated stories related to Banff National Park’s wildlife crossings into school programs offered by Earth Rangers, a Parks Canada national partner, and reached approximately 100,000 urban students in the 2014/15 school year and 200,000 for 2015/16 school year to date.
  • Highlighted stories related to woodland caribou and fire management through the Vancouver urban outreach program and resulted in 16,119 contacts at the Science World. An additional 17,065 contacts were made at outreach activities at special events in the Vancouver area where potential visitors were introduced to Parks Canada places, including Banff National Park.
  • Highlighted Banff National Park’s wildlife crossings in Toronto at the Royal Ontario Museum during March Break. For seven days, Parks Canada staff engaged young families (2,000 contacts) with an interactive activity about the role of Banff’s wildlife crossing structures. Other Parks Canada activities (including spray-on tattoos, a green screen postcard activity, and build-a-wildlife-crossing postcard), social media posts and news media coverage reached audiences beyond the museum and helped reinforce messages and provide visitor information on Banff National Park.
  • Reached approximately 400 researchers, post-secondary students and journalists through Parks Canada specialists’ presentations on road ecology and wild trout management.
  • Through on-site visitor education, a proactive media tour, and multiple digital media posts, local, regional and national audiences learned about Parks Canada’s fire management program.
  • Highlighted Woodland caribou, fire restoration, and Whitebark pine at a staffed booth during the final weekend of the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Approximately 715 contacts were made.
  • Produced numerous social media updates and public presentations on the work of our aquatics team. Information tables were set up throughout the summer, giving the public increased knowledge and appreciation for Westslope Cutthroat trout conservation actions in the park. This summer position was hired under a grant from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise to help support Westslope Cutthroat trout conservation.

Public Awareness and Appreciation

Engagement

Link the work of all park advisory groups more closely to the round table and the park management plan.

  • Ongoing.
  • Diversified the Annual Planning Forum to include an open house featuring visitor experience, external relations and resource conservation stories. A total of 96 people were reached at the open house, 23 participated in the Round Table discussion and 54 members of the public attended the Year-in-Review presentation.
  • Solicited Round Table views on the next set of 5-Year Management Plan Priorities – the results are to be presented at the Annual Planning Forum in 2016.

Visitor Experience

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

With tourism and community partners, create a communications and learning strategy around the concept of welcome and employ it throughout the park.

  • Ongoing.
  • Continued to partner with Banff and Lake Louise Tourism to provide online pass sales. To date this program has contributed over $900 000 in new revenue and has helped to reduce congestion and wait times at the Banff East Gate, contributing to a better visitor arrival experience.
  • Continued to support Travel Alberta and Banff Lake Louise Tourism travel media visits (approximately 30 requests annually) to promote visitor experiences within Banff National Park.
  • Supported over 100 tourism industry site visits to the Cave and Basin NHS via a combination of: Corporate Business Development Trips; Travel Media visits and Travel Trade Familiarisation Tours.
  • In 2015, the Wildlife Guardians and Interpretation Coordinator provided content on BNP’s wildlife and crossing structures for a Florian Film production (Germany and France).
  • Contributed content on Parks Canada campgrounds and natural attractions for Travel Alberta’s consumer website www.travelalberta.com (over 2.5 million visitors annually).
  • In collaboration with Banff Heritage Tourism Corporation, educated industry staff through the Banff Ambassador Program which focuses on welcoming and orienting new industry staff to BNP. There was a total of 3202 Part One participants (up from 2900 in 2014) and 1346 Part Two participants (up from 1104 in 2014) for a total of 4548 participants in 2015 (up from 4004 in 2014). This was year over year growth of 13.6%.

Visitor Experience

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Refine and renew visitor facilities, information, and promotions, based on visitor experience planning and opportunity development that provides for five types of engagement.

  • Ongoing
  • Working to restore water levels in Cascade Ponds. Parks Canada rebuilt the control weir at downstream end (damaged by flood) into fish passable “riffle” design to maintain water levels. Working with Trans Alta to restore flows to provide year-round flows that can restore much impaired ecological integrity but also support summer and winter recreational use (e.g. pond skating).
  • Assessed and approved a total of 12 large scale special events including 10 road based events such as Subaru Triathlon, Gran Fondo and Melissa's Road Race through Banff’s Special Event Guidelines.
  • Collaborated with tourism industry in the review and development of new Parks Canada Special Event Guidelines aimed to clarify and strengthen the review process.
  • Completed the fifth edition of Performance in the Park in 2014, and sixth edition in 2015. There were 4,364 attendees in 2014 and 5,026 in 2015.
  • Provided interpretation-related activities such as roadside education, roving at popular day-use areas, evening programs and supported in-park special events. During summer 2014, personally connected with over 51 000 visitors. During the summer, 2015, the team personally connected with 83 500 visitors.
  • Through Parks Canada and Banff Lake Louise Tourism’s (BLLT) funding, Banff Heritage Tourism Corporation offered programming and supported local events aimed at connecting visitors to Banff’s unique natural and cultural heritage.
  • Red chairs installed at Silverhorn Campground and Glacier Lake trail. This project was implemented in connection with the national Red Chair program.
  • Parks Canada, Banff Lake Louise Tourism, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the community of Lake Louise and area businesses continued to promote and develop Nordic skiing opportunities in the Lake Louise area, providing some of the earliest and best cross-country skiing in the province. Interpretation programming was provided on six weekends during Snow Days.
  • Volunteers continue to support highly successful Citizen Science projects including Invertebrate Monitoring, Invasive Vegetation Inventory, Avian MAPS monitoring, Pika Monitoring, Winter Occupancy Studies, and Wold Density and Distribution Monitoring, as well as third party research and monitoring (e.g. Grizzly Bear Research Project).

Visitor Experience

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Learning and Engagement

Develop and promote new programs and services that facilitate “virtual experience” and “drive through awareness” experiences.

  • Ongoing.
  • Team of interpreters actively roved at popular day-use areas and delivered roadside education targeted to the “drive through awareness” visitor segment.
  • Completed the design and installation of a Wildlife Crossings Structure exhibit at the TCH pull off near Castle Junction.

Visitor Experience

Engagement

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Increase knowledge of the park’s visitors and target markets.

  • Ongoing.
  • Conducted a market analysis on the Calgary area to inform the selection of outreach opportunities that optimize Parks Canada’s connection with Canadians in this urban market. Results of the analysis will be applied to a strategic, cohesive approach to expand outreach efforts by the mountain national parks.

Visitor Experience

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Complete components of a long distance cycle route from Canmore to Jasper.

  • Completed (2013).

Visitor Experience

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Review and revitalize the park’s camping offer.

  • Ongoing.
  • Offered multi-evening interpretive education programs at Tunnel Mountain Campgrounds, Two Jack Lakeside, and Johnson Canyon during summer of 2014.
  • Implemented national Parks Canada Reservation Service with site specific bookings available for 90% of all sites in campgrounds on the system.
  • Expanded the Equipped Campsite offer to 22 sites in 2015 and had a 73% occupancy rate. This will be further expanded to 32 sites in 2016.
  • The Learn to Camp program at Rocky Mountain House
  • The oTENTik program has continued to be successful in 2014, and 2015 with an 88% occupancy rate in 2015, a 14% increase over 2014. An additional 20 units are planned for Tunnel Mountain in 2017.
  • Installed way finding and educational signage at campgrounds including wildlife panels, and table top bear plaques.
  • Completed vegetation management to improve recreational vehicle access and upgraded water stand pipes in Waterfowl Lakes Campground

Visitor Experience

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Develop a strategy for enhancing winter opportunities in addition to downhill skiing.

  • In progress.
  • A cross country ski offer was initiated in 2014 at the Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court campground in partnership with the Town of Banff and the Banff Nordic Ski and Track Setter Society. Initially the program has three rows of the campground groomed for skiing, this was expanded to two additional loops in Village 1 in 2014-2015 and it now has 4 loops in Village 1 for 2015-2016. This is the only lit cross country skiing opportunity in Banff National Park.
  • 2015 Snow Days initiatives and programs included:

- Providing 6 weekend interpretation programs, and supported BLLT Ice Climbing Wall located in Banff Avenue Square during January and February;

- Partnering with BLLT to host an ice sculpture event in Central Park from January to March that focused on outdoor winter activities and the 50th anniversary of the Canadian flag;

- Partnering with Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise and Baker Creek stakeholders to develop and promote new cross country and snowshoeing trails in the Lake Louise area; Developed a new winter offer at the Cave and Basin with skating and curling on the synthetic ice rink

· Initiated development of a cross-country skiing experience on the Bow Valley Parkway with Baker Creek Chalets and Castle Mountain Chalets.

Visitor Experience

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Establish site guidelines and growth limits for the three ski areas in support of their importance as cornerstones of winter tourism.

  • In progress.
  • Mt. Norquay Long Range Plan completed in 2012. Assisted Mount Norquay staff in completing their Heritage Tourism Strategy and Interpretive Plan, a key component of their Long Range Plan.
  • Completed Lake Louise Ski Area Site Guidelines for Development and Use which sets limits to growth for the Lake Louise Ski Area and provides the blueprint for future development.

6.1 Lower Bow Valley

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Initiate a phased approach to revitalize the arrival experience at the East Gate.

  • Ongoing.
  • 2013 – second through-traffic lane, new Point of Sale system, staff parking area paved.
  • 2014 installed through-traffic /valid pass signs, purchase park pass sign, sidewalks between kiosks, gantry indicator lights upgraded, outdoor street lighting enhanced.
  • 2015 – Lane 1 building renovations, Lane 4 kiosk roof re-oriented
 

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Design and install improved directional signage.

  • Ongoing.
  • Installed way-finding signage to the Banff Visitor Centre locations including the Train Station
 

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Complete the Banff Legacy Trail and register it as part of the Trans-Canada Trail.

  • Completed (2010).

6.2 The Montane Heart of the Park

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Learning and Engagement

Town of Banff

Renew the Cave and Basin National Historic Site as the birthplace of Canada’s national parks.

  • Completed (2013).
 

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

With the Town, develop integrated trail connections and way-finding media to adjacent areas.

  • Ongoing.
  • Worked with the Town of Banff on implementing a trial bike trail extension (summer 2015) from the Town of Banff to the Legacy Trail.
 

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

With the Town, develop a sustainability strategy in advance of commercial build-out.

  • In progress.
 

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Lands Adjacent to the Town of Banff (LATB)

Continue implementation of the LATB Strategy.

  • In progress.
  • Completed Vermilion Lakes revitalization project.
  • Investigating need to reduce winter water loss at Cascade Ponds to improve connectivity of Cascade Creek, and to allow for improved winter experiences (e.g. pond skating).
  • Worked with the Fairmont to install new signage and picnic tables on the Spray connector trail.
  • Installed new interpretive panels on the Sulphur Mountain Boardwalk.
 
 

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Support development of a regional transit system.

  • In progress.
 

Native Biodiversity

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration

Visitor Experience: Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Restore the Cascade Pit.

  • In progress.
  • Continued seeding and planting.
  • Working to re-link diversionary channel and improve connectivity.
  • Investigating need to reduce winter water loss at Cascade Ponds to improve connectivity of Cascade Creek, and to allow for improved winter experiences (e.g. pond skating).
 

Visitor Safety

Re-list the airstrip.

  • Completed (2013).

Area Concept

In Support of (Indicator):

Priority Action

Progress in the Reporting Period

6.3 Spray river

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Remove or relocate the Bryant shelter.

  • In progress.
  • Reassessment under way

6.4 East Slopes

Visitor Experience:

Enjoyment and Satisfaction

Habitat Effectiveness

Begin reducing the Cascade Trail to a single track north of Stoney Creek.

  • Completed.
 

Terrestrial Ecosystem Resoration

Habitat Effectiveness

Implement at least four large-scale prescribed burns.

  • In progress.
  • Completed large burn in Red Deer (2012).
  • Completed Panther and Dormer meadows prescribed burn in 2015.
 

Visitor Experience: Enjoyment and Satisfaction

License outfitters for day-rides.

  • Completed (2012).
 

Habitat Effectiveness

Visitor Experience: Enjoyment and Satisfaction

With the Province of Alberta, restrict vehicle access east of Lake Minnewanka.

  • In progress.
  • Continued discussion with the Province of Alberta including addition of communication materials regarding restriction of motorized vehicles to provincial website and publications.

6.5 Middle Bow Valley

Habitat Effectiveness

Visitor Experience: Enjoyment and Satisfaction

With an advisory group, complete an action plan for the Bow Valley Parkway.

  • Completed (2011).
  • Continued implementation of years 1 and 2 of the Bow Valley Parkway (BVP) Area Action Plan. This included the mandatory travel restriction from March 1 to June 25 on the section of the BVP east of Johnston Canyon, from 8 pm to 8 am.
  • Continued to install improved wayfinding and regulatory signage on the BVP.
  • Continued the monitoring and evaluation programs for both vehicular and wildlife usage.
  • Completed Sawback Prescribed Burn in 2014, in part, to improve wildlife viewing opportunities along this scenic drive.
 

Visitor Learning and Engagement

Implement a “drive-through awareness” product focused on interpretation of the TCH wildlife crossings.

  • Completed.

6.6 Main Ranges

Visitor Experience and Satisfaction

Investigate options to replace the Egypt Lake shelter.

  • In progress.
  • Reassessment under way
 

Visitor Experience and Satisfaction

Develop at least 5 kilometers of new trail.

  • Completed (2012).

6.7 The Subalpine Heart of the Park

Visitor Experience and Satisfaction

Park community of Lake Louise

Continue implementation of the community plan.

  • Ongoing.
  • Through funding from Improvement District #9, a roof was added to the skating rink in Lake Louise.
 

Visitor Safety

Habitat Effectiveness

Native Biodiversity

Lake Louise area

Continue implementation of the Lake Louise Area Strategy.

  • Ongoing.
  • Continued to implement proven management approaches, such as Group of Four hiking requirement and temporary area closures, to reduce bear-human conflict and support healthy bear populations.
  • Continued collaborative research with CPR aimed at reducing bear mortality on the railway.
 

Habitat Effectiveness

Native Biodiversity

Complete the twinning, fencing and provision of wildlife highway crossing structures for the TCH.

  • Completed 2013-14.
 

Visitor Experience and Satisfaction

Support development of a regional transit system.

  • In progress.
  • Operated shuttle between Lake Louise and Moraine Lake during the Fall Festival for 6 days in 2014.
  • Continued to investigate and plan the development of a transit system for the Lake Louise area in cooperation with the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission.
 

Visitor Experience and Satisfaction

Visitor Safety

Provide 2-kilometers of bike trail between Bow Valley Parkway and Icefields Parkway.

  • Completed (2012).

6.8 Icefields Parkway

Visitor Experience and Satisfaction

Visitor Safety

Begin implementation of the 2009 Action Plan.

  • In progress.
  • Numerous infrastructure improvements made on the Icefields Parkway including:

- Installing new “welcome" signs at picnic areas and campgrounds.

- Replacing picnic tables replaced at all campgrounds and picnic areas, and new fire rings in campgrounds.

- Removing trees to improve the alignment and sight lines within campgrounds on loop roads to improve maneuverability of larger vehicles.


 

Banff National Park of Canada – 2015-2020 Priorities

Based on outstanding commitments from the 2010 Park Management Plan and feedback from stakeholders, a number of priorities have been identified for the last five years of the current plan. They include:

1. Conserving Natural and Cultural Heritage

Objective: To maintain Banff’s role as a protected area leader by restoring and improving ecological conditions in key areas of the park. Actions include (but are not limited to):

  • Implementing bison re-introduction
  • Continuing to investigate the feasibility of re-introducing woodland caribou; implement actions if feasible
  • Preparing and implementing action plans for Species-At-Risk
  • Developing more accurate estimates of grizzly populations and more robust methods of evaluating habitat security
  • Continuing fire restoration and maintaining restored landscapes through periodic burning
  • Developing long-term aggregate plans that respect valued ecosystem and cultural components
  • Expanding the use of environmental technologies and green building in park facilities to improve environmental performance

Objective: To support Canada’s reputation for environmental leadership by sharing the results of our science and engaging others in science and stewardship related activities. Actions include (but are not limited to):

  • Sharing ongoing research and monitoring findings in the park and around the world through the use of new technologies.
  • Developing new Citizen Science opportunities, and investigating the feasibility of Field Schools
  • Under the Citizen Science program, explore the potential to host a bio-blitz with expert and novice naturalists to capture a biodiversity snapshot. A bio-blitz is an intensive survey of all living things in a given area within a set time, usually within the span of 24 hours. An outdoor, family-friendly and hands-on learning experience, it contributes to the park’s monitoring program.

2. Strengthening Relationships with Indigenous Peoples

Objective : To renew and strengthen connections between Indigenous People and the national park. Actions include (but are not limited to):

  • Continuing consultation with First Nations on matters that may impact their interests.
  • Collaborating with First Nations on interpretation of First Nations heritage and culture within the park and at national historic sites.

3. Fostering exceptional visitor experiences and opportunities

Objective : Support the needs of visitors by upgrading services, programs and assets. Actions include (but are not limited to):

  • Collaborating with partners on programs that make visiting the park more convenient and accessible.
  • Planning programs and services informed by an improved understanding of park visitor needs and expectations.
  • Working with ski areas to complete the planning processes for Site Guidelines and Long Range Plans.
  • Refreshing the Icefields Parkway experience through upgraded campground and day-use infrastructure.
  • Revitalizing services at the Lake Minnewanka area
  • Implementing a user-friendly, effective transit system at Moraine Lake and Lake Louise
  • Completing repairs to park infrastructure

Objective : To revitalize backcountry opportunities. Actions include (but are not limited to):

  • Upgrading backcountry shelters into modern huts that are suitable and affordable to families and youth groups.
  • Working with stakeholders and the Government of Alberta to create a seamless, high quality experience for those entering the park wilderness areas through the province.
  • Planning for upgrade of Big Horn Campground.
  • Renewing the park trail system with the emphasis on heavily used trails in the Bow watershed, and adjusting / re-routing loop trail systems to remove certain trails from high quality grizzly habitat.

4. Connecting Canadians to their natural and cultural heritage

Objective : To encourage learning and appreciation of the environment by bringing the park to the people where they are. Actions (include but are not limited to):

  • Bringing seldom seen landscapes and wildlife of the park into town through the use of remote camera technology, interpretation, special events and interactive technology in the visitor centre.
  • Developing new ‘Learn To’ opportunities
  • Building programs that increase our presence in Toronto and Calgary
  • Continuing to renew content on the website and on social media.