Seasonal closures for caribou conservation
Winter is the perfect time to explore Jasper National Park. Before you head out, take a moment to learn about what’s new this year for both winter recreation and woodland caribou conservation.
In winter, Jasper’s vast mountain landscape—more than 11,000 square kilometres—supports both diverse recreational opportunities and significant protection of critical caribou habitat.
Seasonal closures in the Tonquin, Maligne-Brazeau, and North Boundary areas of Jasper National Park take effect on November 1, 2017. All access to these backcountry areas is prohibited until the Tonquin area reopens for winter recreation on February 16, 2018 and all other areas reopen on March 1, 2018.
How does this affect you?
Backcountry access for winter recreation in these areas is delayed until later in the season - when days are longer and temperatures are generally warmer. Please help us protect Jasper’s threatened caribou by choosing other areas of the park for winter activities.
Jasper offers abundant opportunities to experience the park in winter. Highlights include: cross-country skiing along the Whirlpool River, exploring the Maligne Lake area on foot or with snowshoes, fat-biking on trails close to town, skating on frozen lakes, unique winter camping experiences, and stargazing under Jasper’s dark skies. You can also visit some of our most popular destinations during a less busy time of year – see Athabasca Falls frozen in time, or Pyramid Island surrounded by a white blanket of snow.
Parks Canada is taking action to protect caribou and the habitat that is critical to their survival. Our priority is to reduce or eliminate all five threats identified as affecting caribou survival in the mountain national parks.
Woodland caribou can be found at high elevations during the winter in Jasper National Park. Their habitat is made up of open slopes and deep powder snow. Caribou are well adapted to life in deep snow which gives them a distinct advantage over their natural predators.
Seasonal closures in important winter caribou habitat were implemented in 2009 to protect declining caribou herds. In winter, wolves travel more efficiently on packed ski and snowshoe trails or roads which increases their ability to access and hunt in caribou habitat. Later in the winter when the snowpack typically begins to harden, packed trails no longer offer as big an advantage to wolves. By delaying backcountry access for winter recreation in these key areas, we can reduce the risk of predation on caribou. This is one of many actions that Parks Canada is taking to aid in caribou recovery.
The following actions have been implemented to protect caribou and their winter habitat in Jasper National Park. For area details please reference the maps bellow.
1. Tonquin caribou range
All access is prohibited from November 1 through February 15 inclusive to important winter habitat of the Tonquin caribou herd. This includes Cavell Road, Astoria Trail, Portal Creek Trail and Whistlers Creek Valley.
2. Maligne-Brazeau caribou range
From November 1 through February 28 inclusive, all access is prohibited to important winter habitat of the Maligne and Brazeau caribou herds. This includes the subalpine and alpine areas of the Maligne Range from Signal Mountain south, east of Highway 93 and west of the Maligne River; the slopes to the west of Highway 93 between Bubbling Springs and Beauty Creek Hostel, Poboktan Creek Trail and the Brazeau Loop.
3. À La Pêche caribou range
From November 1 through February 28 inclusive, all access is prohibited to important winter habitat of the À La Pêche caribou herd. This includes Rock Creek Trail from the park boundary to Willow Creek and most of the North Boundary Trail.
For further information
Mountain National Park Caribou Conservation Program