Jasper National Park of Canada Draft Management Plan, 2021
- Map 1: Regional setting of Jasper National Park of Canada
- Map 2: Jasper National Park site map
- Map 3: Community of Jasper and Tonquin Valley management areas
- Map 4: Jasper National Park zoning summary
- Map 5: Jasper National Park declared wilderness area
- Map 6: Grizzly bear management units in Jasper National Park
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Note to readers
The health and safety of visitors, employees and all Canadians are of the utmost importance. Parks Canada is following the advice and guidance of public health experts to limit the spread of COVID-19 while allowing Canadians to experience Canada’s natural and cultural heritage.
Parks Canada acknowledges that the COVID-19 pandemic may have unforeseeable impacts on the Jasper National Park of Canada Management Plan. Parks Canada will inform Indigenous partners, stakeholders and the public of any such impacts through its annual implementation update on the implementation of this plan.
For more information about the management plan or about Jasper National Park of Canada:
Parks Canada administers one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and historic places in the world. The Agency’s mandate is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Future-oriented, strategic management of each national park, national marine conservation area, heritage canal and those national historic sites administered by Parks Canada supports the Agency’s vision:
Canada’s treasured natural and historic places will be a living legacy, connecting hearts and minds to a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada.
The Canada National Parks Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act require Parks Canada to prepare a management plan for each national park. The Jasper National Park of Canada Management Plan, once approved by the Minister responsible for Parks Canada and tabled in Parliament, ensures Parks Canada’s accountability to Canadians, outlining how park management will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate.
Indigenous peoples are important partners in the stewardship of heritage places, with connections to the lands and waters since time immemorial. Indigenous peoples, stakeholders, partners and the Canadian public were involved in the preparation of the management plan, helping to shape the future direction of the national park. The plan sets clear, strategic direction for the management and operation of Jasper National Park by articulating a vision, key strategies and objectives. Parks Canada will report annually on progress toward achieving the plan objectives and will review the plan every ten years or sooner if required.
This plan is not an end in and of itself. Parks Canada will maintain an open dialogue on the implementation of the management plan, to ensure that it remains relevant and meaningful. The plan will serve as the focus for ongoing engagement, and where appropriate consultation, on the management of Jasper National Park in years to come.
Map 1: Regional setting of Jasper National Park of Canada — Text version
A map of the mountain parks centered on the Alberta and British Columbia border. The map shows Jasper in the north, with Mount Robson and Hamber provincial parks to the west in British Columbia. Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay national parks are to the south along with Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park. Together these parks make up the UNESCO Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks World Heritage Site.
Further west in BC are Glacier and Mount Revelstoke national parks.
Map 2: Jasper National Park site map — Text version
A map showing Jasper National Park in Alberta on the border with British Columbia.
To the north is Wilmore Wilderness Park, with Rock Lake – Solomon Creek Wildland and William A. Switzer provincial parks to the northeast.
East of Jasper is Whitehorse Wildland Provincial Park.
South of Jasper is Banff National Park and White Goat Wilderness Area.
West of Jasper in British Columbia are Hamber and Mount Robson provincial parks.
2.0 Significance of Jasper National Park
Established in 1907, Jasper National Park is the largest and most northerly Canadian national park in the Rocky Mountains, spanning 11,228 square kilometres of broad valleys, rugged mountains, glaciers, forests, alpine meadows and wild rivers along the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains. A core protected area in the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor of wild lands and waters, Jasper’s importance extends well beyond the park boundary.
A diversity of Indigenous peoples have lived on these lands since time immemorial. The knowledge of these peoples allowed European explorers and fur traders to move through the area in the 19th century, creating an important transportation corridor that later included two transnational railways. Shortly after the park was created, Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed and excluded from park boundaries as early wilderness conservation policies considered Indigenous uses of park resources to be incompatible with nature preservation and tourism.
Today Jasper National Park is the second most visited national park in the Parks Canada system, supporting a diverse array of sightseeing and recreational opportunities, while maintaining 97 percent of the park as wilderness with little or no development. Where they were once excluded, Jasper National Park now works together with Indigenous partners to facilitate reconnection to their traditional lands in a spirit of reconciliation.
Jasper National Park includes the following distinctive natural and cultural values:
- Stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountains natural region shaped by the ancient geological processes of mountain building and the power of water and ice.
- Fast-flowing braided rivers and glacier-fed lakes that form three major river systems: the Athabasca, North Saskatchewan and Peace watersheds.
- Expansive subalpine forests, alpine meadows and a diversity of montane habitats, including aspen stands, montane grasslands and open Douglas fir forests.
- Many of North America’s largest land mammals and icons of the Canadian west like the grizzly bear and elk.
- Natural processes, such as wildfires and avalanches, that help to create and maintain the range of terrestrial and aquatic habitats that support a diversity of life.
- A landscape home to Indigenous peoples since time immemorial that continues to be a place of cultural and spiritual importance.
- Tangible evidence of Indigenous presence, European exploration and nation-building, early tourism development and evolving conservation management.
Jasper’s national and international recognitions and designations include:
- In 1990, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee inscribed Jasper, Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks, and Mt. Robson, Hamber and Assiniboine provincial parks as the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site for their exceptional natural beauty and classic representation of significant and ongoing geological processes.
- Five national historic sites associated with the fur trade, national transportation corridors and the early development of tourism are part of the park’s unique story:
- Athabasca Pass National Historic Site
- Jasper House National Historic Site
- Jasper Park Information Centre National Historic Site
- Maligne Lake Chalet and Guest House National Historic Site
- Yellowhead Pass National Historic Site
- The Athabasca River was designated a Canadian Heritage River in 1989 for its outstanding natural, cultural and recreational values.
- Jasper National Park was designated a Dark Sky Preserve in 2011.
3.0 Planning context
This plan provides strategic direction for Jasper National Park, building on the foundation of previous management plans, approved in 1988, 2000 and 2010. The condition of many of Jasper National Park’s natural and cultural resources and program activities was reported in the 2018 Jasper National Park State of the Park Assessment.
Parks Canada’s ecological integrity monitoring program assesses the condition of ecosystem components and processes, and the effectiveness of management actions. Monitoring of vulnerable species, like amphibians, can also help to identify new stressors or threats. Data from Parks Canada’s monitoring programs is available to the public through the federal government’s Open Data portal.
Nine species at risk occurring in Jasper National Park have been listed since 2010 on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act. Recovery strategies and action plans for species at risk identify conservation measures necessary for recovery of the species, from habitat restoration to construction mitigations.
Southern woodland caribou is an iconic species at risk, which despite conservation actions to address threats to its survival, has continued to decline in the park. The Tonquin and Brazeau herds in southern Jasper are at imminent risk of dying out due to their small numbers. The Maligne herd had ten or less animals for nearly 15 years and was determined extirpated in 2020. The À La Pêche herd in northern Jasper is stable.
Climate change is exacerbating the spread of invasive species and diseases and the impacts are expected to worsen in coming years. A mountain pine beetle infestation has brought significant change to forests in Alberta, including Jasper National Park, with consequences for wildfire risk, public safety and long-term forest succession. White pine blister rust and invasive plants are already threatening terrestrial species and ecosystems in the park; new threats, such as whirling disease, zebra and quagga mussels, and chronic wasting disease are expanding their ranges towards the park.
Climatic changes are expected to be most visible in Jasper through glacial retreat, change in the composition and structure of high elevation forests, reduction in alpine meadow habitat, and changes in vegetation and wildlife species distribution and composition including the expansion of invasive species. Many species are likely to be affected by climate change, including grizzly bears, caribou, birds and fish.
Jasper National Park protects a wide array of cultural resources comprising 700 archaeological sites covering both the pre-contact and post-contact periods, sites of cultural and spiritual significance to Indigenous peoples, and 37 federally-listed heritage buildings, the majority of which are in stable condition. Most of the 35,000 artifacts linked to the park are held in Parks Canada collections outside the park. The Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Archives also maintains an important collection and welcomes the public to its permanent and temporary exhibits. Jasper National Park recognizes and respects there are also archaeological, cultural and spiritual sites within park boundaries known only to local Indigenous partners.
Cultural resources are protected through national park regulations, a national policy framework and the impact assessment process. A park Cultural Resource Management Strategy (2017) sets priorities for Parks Canada’s work to manage these resources. Each of the park’s five national historic sites has its own management statement, which provides guidance for the management of that site.
Parks Canada is currently working with more than 20 First Nation, Métis and non-status Indigenous communities and organizations with connections to Jasper National Park. The park is located in Treaty 6 and 8 territories, as well as the traditional territories of the Beaver, Cree, Ojibway, Secwepemc, Stoney and Métis. The main park mechanism for engagement with Indigenous communities is through the interest-based Jasper Indigenous Forum, which has met bi-annually since 2006.
Indigenous partners rated Parks Canada’s progress in strengthening relationships for the 2018 State of the Park Assessment. Partners identified the Jasper Indigenous Forum and working groups as good models of collaboration and partnership. Access to traditional lands and activities has improved with the development of a designated area for traditional activities, free park entry for partner communities and cultural use permits for harvesting. Going forward, Indigenous partners would like to see greater involvement in park management and operations, weaving Indigenous knowledge and languages into park initiatives, and more employment and economic opportunities for local Indigenous communities.
Jasper National Park receives around 2.5 million visitors each year. In 2018, 33 percent of park visitors were Canadian, 16 percent were American and 51 percent were international. Visitation has grown steadily by 30 percent over the past decade. May through September are the peak months for visitation.
Both Parks Canada and the private sector offer a broad range of visitor facilities, activities, services and information that cater to many different interests and abilities. This is reflected in the consistently high levels of visitor satisfaction and enjoyment reported in visitor surveys.
Recent capital investment by the government’s Federal Infrastructure Initiative allocated $312 million from 2015 to 2022 to upgrade facilities throughout Jasper National Park. The funds enabled Parks Canada to address deferred work on park roadways, modernize the eastern entrance to the park and increase the capacities of several parking lots, improving safety, access and circulation. Whistlers Campground, the largest campground in Parks Canada’s national network, was significantly upgraded to provide new infrastructure and visitor services.
One of Parks Canada’s main challenges in delivering quality visitor services and programs is the aging condition of its over 1000 assets and the volume of visitor use during peak periods. Despite recent investment, maintenance and recapitalisation is an ongoing need.
There are various visitor facilities, programs and services offered by third-party operators in the park. These include the Jasper Park Lodge Golf Course, the Marmot Basin ski hill, the Jasper SkyTram, facilities at the Columbia Icefield area, Maligne Lake, Maligne Canyon and diverse outlying commercial accommodations. Parks Canada regulates operators under leases and licenses of occupation, and business licensee activities, to ensure visitor offers are compatible with Parks Canada policies and legislation.
Learning opportunities in the park take many forms. Frontline services to visitors, informative publications, innovative interpretation programs in campgrounds and the Jasper townsite, roving interpreters at popular visitor areas and interpretation exhibits and panels all engage visitors in appreciating the park’s nationally-significant resources and fostering a sense of stewardship. Over the next decade, work with Indigenous partners will strengthen visitor learning opportunities on Indigenous cultures.
Despite high levels of visitor satisfaction, increasing congestion at popular sites, demand for campground reservations and increasing human-wildlife conflicts suggest that new tools are needed to keep visitation from affecting other aspects of Parks Canada’s mandate. Data on visitor patterns of use and visitor perceptions is needed to develop visitor management strategies.
Public appreciation and understanding
Parks Canada reaches audiences where they live with park information through various outreach, partnering and stakeholder engagement initiatives, media relations, and web and social media presence.
The Palisades Stewardship Education Centre brings youth to the park for experiential education programs that blend mountain recreation with environmental stewardship. Currently, the programming focus is on youth, Indigenous groups and key audiences from Edmonton, Calgary and other communities closer to the park.
Many different organizations and individuals contribute to and support Parks Canada’s work in Jasper National Park, assisting with ecosystem monitoring, raising awareness of caribou conservation, maintaining trails and other park stewardship initiatives. The Friends of Jasper and the Jasper Yellowhead Museum and Historical Society provide a range of educational programs, events, services and self-guided opportunities. Partnerships with Grande Yellowhead School Division, Ski Marmot Basin and others help youth understand, care for and shape the future of their park.
Community of Jasper
The community of Jasper is the park’s main visitor hub and home to 4600 residents. The Municipality of Jasper provides community services such as utilities, social services and bylaw in the townsite while Parks Canada remains responsible for land use planning, development and environmental matters. Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper work together on issues of mutual importance, including emergency preparedness, Fire Smart wildfire prevention and environmental stewardship.
Tourism Jasper, the Jasper Park Chamber of Commerce, the Municipality of Jasper and tourism operators collaborate to support the delivery of visitor facilities and services, promote the park as a destination, and distribute information to visitors and residents.
4.0 Development of the management plan
Parks Canada engaged with Canadians to develop the Jasper National Park Management Plan, and the management plans for all mountain national parks - Banff, Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier and Waterton Lakes. Through in person and online engagement, stakeholder groups, Indigenous partners and the general public were invited to share ideas, issues and opportunities to shape the future of Jasper National Park.
Indigenous, public and stakeholder engagement on management plans ensures the plan reflects the interests of Canadians on the future direction of heritage places. Indigenous engagement provides an opportunity to increase the Indigenous voice in all aspects of park management. Parks Canada consults on management plans with Indigenous peoples who may be affected by decisions or activities arising from the management of the park. The objective of this engagement is to ensure that management planning is open and transparent, reflects sound financial management, contributes to Government of Canada and Parks Canada Agency’s priorities, and is results-based to allow for assessment and inform future decision-making.
Engagement with Indigenous partners, the public and stakeholders ran in parallel and used different approaches based on the different needs, interests and rights of diverse groups. Engagement activities for Phase 1 of the management plan review for Jasper National Park were held in early 2019. Parks Canada asked respondents to identify topics for consideration during development of the draft plan and to identify how they preferred to participate in engagement opportunities. A summary of the feedback received is available at: https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/ab/jasper/info/plan/involved/entendu-heard.
Engagement activities for Phase 2 focuses on the public release of the Draft Management Plan. Although initially planned for 2020, Phase 2 engagement activities were paused at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic until meaningful engagement with Indigenous partners, stakeholders and the general public could be held. Phase 2 engagement, delivered in parallel with the other mountain national parks, encourages local, regional and national dialogue on the new management plan for each national park.
Parks Canada reports annually on the implementation of the park management plan through public meetings and an annual report for Jasper National Park. Parks Canada will continue to engage Indigenous partners, local communities, stakeholders and the general public in discussions about the implementation of this plan, on an ongoing basis, following its approval.
The vision provides a picture of the desired future state of Jasper National Park looking ahead 15 to 20 years.
The awe-inspiring peaks of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and our friendly small-town hospitality welcome Canadians and international guests of all ages, identities, abilities and interests to Jasper National Park. The park’s big wild spaces and diverse visitor activities and facilities offer immersive experiences in nature, in all seasons.
The landscape bears witness to ancient and ongoing physical changes. This living landscape is shaped by mountain building and erosion, the retreat of glaciers and fast-moving headwaters feeding three river basins. Iconic wildlife like grizzly bears, caribou, wolverines and mountain goats roam widely within and across park boundaries. Wilderness areas, including open valley grasslands, and montane and sub-alpine forests, are shaped by fire and other natural ecological processes. Freshwater ecosystems such as glacial lakes, wetlands and rivers are connected and resilient in the face of climate change, invasive species, disease and other disturbance.
The stories of the past come alive through Indigenous voices, old trails and transportation corridors, historic buildings and rustic mountain architecture. The park is a legacy of the evolution and impact of a conservation ethic in Canada’s national park system.
Local Indigenous cultures are honoured and respected and Indigenous stories and languages are alive on the landscape. Diverse Indigenous partner communities collaborate in park management, reflecting their connection to these lands since time immemorial. Indigenous knowledge is braided into ecosystem management and conservation by using fire and other Indigenous stewardship practices in the park.
Visitors enjoy authentic, quality experiences while limiting their impact to protect the natural and cultural heritage of the park. Immersive experiences in nature benefits visitor’s physical health and mental wellbeing, and revitalises their connection with the broader environment.
The park is also a home and a place to earn a livelihood. The community of Jasper continues to embrace and exemplify its vision of a small, friendly and sustainable community. Business operators contribute to park stewardship through sustainable tourism products, services and business practices.
A diversity of ways of knowing, from the wisdom of the ancestors to the results of research and monitoring, guide park management, the maintenance of ecological and commemorative integrity and the stewardship of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Parks Canada collaborates with Indigenous partners, visitors, community residents and local businesses, who all have a shared responsibility as stewards of Jasper National Park. Together we act with common purpose to protect this place for future generations.
6.0 Key Strategies
Six key strategies outline the broad approaches that Parks Canada will use to achieve the vision presented in Section 5.0. These strategies will guide the management of Jasper National Park consistent with the mandate of Parks Canada and the commitment to stewardship of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Each key strategy contains detailed objectives and targets to guide park management and decision-making over the next ten years. The objectives describe desired outcomes following implementation of program activities. Targets offer tangible ways of measuring progress toward achieving each objective. In some cases, the targets are derived from indicators or thresholds related to Parks Canada monitoring programs. In other cases, they reflect the desired outputs, or shorter-term results, of park management activities.
The approaches listed in this section take into account Jasper National Park’s capacity and available resources. Nevertheless, some undertakings may require additional funding or rely on partnership agreements with external collaborators. Where feasible, time frames for reaching certain targets have been provided. Where no dates have been referenced, the target will be achievable during the lifetime of the plan based on opportunities, agency priorities and the park’s capacity.
In many cases, direction for park management activities is integrated into several different key strategies. For example, elements of collaborative work with Indigenous partners are captured in Strategy 1: Conserving natural and cultural heritage for future generations, Strategy 2: Experiences true to place, Strategy 3: Strengthening Indigenous relations, Strategy 5: Managing development and Strategy 6: Climate change and adaptive management.
Policy documents are referenced with their date of approval with the understanding that they are updated from time to time and newer versions supersede the older versions referenced in this plan.
Strategy 1: Conserving natural and cultural heritage for future generations
The protection of natural and cultural resources and park landscapes are core to the reason for the park’s existence, and maintaining and restoring ecological integrity is the first priority in park management. Parks Canada’s approach to conserving these important aspects is guided by an understanding of and respect for significance of place and natural and heritage values. Knowing that uncertainties exist, Parks Canada’s ecosystem management, conservation and restoration initiatives will be built on the best available science and Indigenous knowledge in support of a precautionary, adaptive approach that provides for evolution of management policies and practices based on the monitoring of outcomes.
Historic activities and developments have had a strong influence on park ecosystems. Wildfire suppression for much of the 20th century has resulted in forests that are more uniform in age and less diverse. Construction of roads, railways, trails, visitor facilities and a townsite has fragmented montane terrestrial and aquatic habitats.
Parks Canada has been working to address historical effects by, for example, restoring fire to the landscape and improving terrestrial and aquatic connectivity where it was constrained. The integrity of wildlife movement corridors around the community of Jasper has improved and many stream-crossing structures in the Athabasca Valley have been adjusted to increase aquatic connectivity.
New challenges are emerging: climate change is influencing mountain ecosystems, an increasing number of native species are at risk, and the threat of new invasive species is growing. This strategy establishes priorities and identifies approaches to ensure Jasper National Park’s biodiversity is resilient and ecological processes continue to be the main agents of change as global and regional changes affect park ecosystems over the next decade.
Large areas of the park are managed as wilderness, where minimal facilities and low levels of human use contribute to providing the habitat requirements of wide-ranging species like wolverine, mountain goats, caribou and grizzly bears.
- The multi-species mammal occupancy measure is rated in good condition with a stable trend in the next State of the Park Assessment.
- Grizzly bear habitat security is maintained or improved in each bear management unit (see Appendix A).
- Wolf and elk densities are maintained at levels at which caribou herds are more likely to be self-sustaining and montane vegetation communities’ natural dynamics are maintained.
- Recreational trail connections between neighbouring provincial jurisdictions along the North boundary are managed to maintain the integrity and character of large tracts of wilderness and secure wildlife habitat, while providing a rustic visitor service offer.
The establishment of new invasive species and diseases is prevented or minimized and existing invasive species are controlled where feasible to protect the park’s biodiversity.
- Outreach and education programs reduce the risk of spreading invasive species in coordination with mountain national parks and provincial agencies.
- An invasive plant and integrated pest management strategy is implemented annually, focusing on species which are the most invasive and the most likely to have lasting negative effects on terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems.
- New and isolated invasive non-native plant infestations are identified and eliminated where possible.
- Prevention programs and capacity for inspection and decontamination of watercraft and aquatic equipment are evaluated and improved.
The conservation status of local species at risk populations is improved and biodiversity is maintained through conservation measures that contribute to species recovery as outlined in the Multi-species Action Plan for Jasper National Park (2017).
- Develop site-specific recovery targets and conservation measures for species at risk that are added to Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act during the lifetime of this management plan.
- A minimum of 50,000 rust-resistant five needle pine seedlings are planted through regional collaboration by 2030.
- Joint recovery planning and implementation for species at risk such as bull trout and whitebark pine is underway by 2023.
- Threats to caribou persistence are mitigated to support caribou populations and recovery as outlined in the Multi-species Action Plan for Jasper National Park (2017) and the Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada (2014).
- A decision is made by 2025 about developing a caribou conservation breeding program and related facilities.
- Backcountry visitation patterns for North Jasper are assessed by 2025, to identify and implement operational adjustments to protect the À La Pêche caribou herd and maintain habitat security for caribou and bears.
- Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are braided into actions to conserve species at risk.
Ecological processes shape native vegetation communities to the extent possible; where public safety is a concern, techniques that best emulate natural processes will be used to maintain or restore vegetation communities.
- The Jasper National Park Fire Management Plan (2007) is updated, including targets for fire restoration, wildfire management and the reduction of wildfire risk for the community of Jasper and other valued assets within the park.
- Area burned through both prescribed fire and managed wildfire is at least 20 percent of the long-term fire cycle, taking into account climate change impacts and increasing fire frequency and severity. An average of 1000 ha per year of fire occurrence is achieved over any 20-year continuous period.
- Wildfire risk reduction measures around the Jasper townsite are implemented and maintained; where feasible, prescribed fire is used to maintain thinned areas and restore open forests.
- The Jasper National Park Vegetation Management Strategy is completed, including restoration targets for priority habitats, such as montane grasslands, Douglas fir and aspen stands, dune ecosystems and riparian vegetation, by 2024.
- Vegetation mapping is enhanced and a vegetation resource inventory is developed by 2024.
- Forest ecological integrity, including insect and disease prevalence, is monitored to inform forest management.
- Indigenous knowledge and perspectives are included in fire management planning.
Maintain or restore natural wildlife distribution, abundance and behaviour, with a focus on human-wildlife coexistence.
- Annual railway mortality and highway mortality of black bear and elk is monitored with a goal to reduce to impact no more than five percent of their population sizes.
- A targeted implementation plan for visitor-wildlife coexistence, covering communications and outreach, staff training and compliance strategies is in place by 2025.
- New opportunities are investigated and implemented over time, to exclude elk from areas with high incidence of human-wildlife conflict.
- Innovative strategies and tools reduce wildlife habituation and more effectively manage visitor-wildlife interactions.
- The number of human-wildlife conflicts involving elk and bears are reduced over the five-year average of 2016 to 2020.
- Impacts on wildlife from park users and domestic animals are reviewed and appropriate mitigations are implemented to minimise disturbance.
- Conservation practices based on Indigenous knowledge are considered in wildlife management, including opportunities to harvest fauna.
Maintain or restore aquatic ecosystems for factors such as native biodiversity, water quality, connectivity and flow regimes.
- The ecological integrity condition measures for aquatic ecosystems have stable or increasing trends in the next State of the Park Assessment.
- Barriers to fish passage on streams are eliminated as opportunities arise with road improvement or utility projects.
Cultural resources are identified, documented, protected and communicated in ways that respect their diverse origins and their past and present significance.
- Jasper National Park’s Cultural Resource Management Strategy (2017) is updated in the context of the Framework for History and Commemoration (2019).
- Indigenous cultural sites and values in the park are protected and communicated where appropriate by working with Indigenous partners to manage the sites, while respecting sites known only to Indigenous partners.
- Inventories and record management is updated for archaeological sites, built heritage, objects and collections to align with the Government of Canada Open Data policy and Parks Canada policies.
- The condition of high-priority archaeological sites, Federal Heritage Building Review Office (FHBRO) listed structures and national historic sites is monitored through asset inspection and other park programs.
Strategy 2: True to place experiences
National parks provide exceptional opportunities for Canadians to develop a sense of connection to their natural and cultural heritage. The opportunity to be immersed in nature, history and diverse cultures while surrounded by wilderness and mountain landscapes is truly distinctive. Maintaining the authenticity and quality of this experience while ensuring that visitors understand its uniqueness is central to Parks Canada’s mandate. Visitor opportunities will be characterized by sustainability and responsiveness to diverse visitor needs and expectations. Activities and communications will be designed to advance understanding and stewardship of natural and cultural resources, encouraging all to share the responsibility of conserving these special places.
Much of Jasper National Park’s authenticity rests in its vast, protected wilderness. Roughly 97 percent or a little over 10,000 km2 is maintained in a natural state with limited infrastructure to provide wilderness experiences that are true to place. Over 500,000 visitors annually enjoy a variety of camping experiences at one of the nearly one hundred campgrounds in the frontcountry and backcountry areas of the park.
Jasper National Park immerses visitors in exceptional and distinctive natural and cultural values, many of which are recognised through national and international designations. The contributions and cultures of Indigenous groups connected to this special place are honoured and celebrated. The stories of other diverse cultural communities are also shared by incorporating multiple narratives to showcase the experiences and history of the many different people who have shaped the park.
Authentic experiences are meaningful to visitors and fosters the respectful and responsible use of the park and the long-term support of undisturbed natural settings. Visitor understanding of stewardship behaviours are reinforced during trip planning, upon arrival and during the visit.
Parks Canada and tourism partners welcome, include and accommodate people of different social identities and abilities, backgrounds and interests. Future opportunities are informed by improved understanding of visitor patterns of park use and ecological impacts, the physical capacity, condition and characteristics of facilities and infrastructure, and any potential safety issues.
The magic of winter in the Rocky Mountains is an experience like no other. Parks Canada will continue to focus on the winter experience for visitors and will work with the tourism industry and operators to provide quality and consistent winter services, activities and attractions.
Jasper’s visitor experiences are rooted in its distinctive culture and nature and supported by core service offers including entry gates, scenic drives, day use areas and trails that are maintained and renewed.
- Visitors select from a range of opportunities offered by Parks Canada and not-for-profit and commercial operators that are grounded in authenticity, park stewardship and a shared responsibility to create their own ‘True to Place’ experience.
- Scenic roadways, including the Icefields Parkway, Maligne Road, Pyramid Road, Miette Road and Cavell Road, are operated and maintained as scenic heritage corridors with an emphasis on visitor experience and safety, including active transportation.
- An accessibility and inclusivity audit identifies priority improvements, with a focus on road-accessible areas and visitor information services.
- Park infrastructure is managed for established maintenance standards to minimise risks and to ensure visitor asset infrastructure supports management plan objectives.
- The visitor enjoyment indicator remains in good condition with a stable trend in the next State of the Park Assessment.
Visitor use management tools are applied to maintain a safe and quality visitor experience that protects the park’s ecological and cultural resources.
- A visitor use management framework and tools are developed to manage visitor congestion, demand issues, while respecting physical capacity and mitigating ecological impacts through changes to transportation, parking and commercial operations.
- Park planning and decision making to guide visitor use is informed by data on visitor demographics, patterns of use and promoting visitor understanding of stewardship behaviour.
- Commercial and business operators manage impacts on and off site associated with their operations and ensure any changes in operations have minimal impact on Parks Canada infrastructure or ecological integrity.
- Improved opportunities for bicycles and other active transportation offer safe, healthy, low carbon and low congestion options for touring park roads, including through seasonal road closures and designated priority campsites.
- Off-road bicycle use is restricted to the existing trail network; trails that permit bicycles may be adjusted to improve the sustainability of trail assets, user experiences and to achieve environmental gains.
- The use of e-bikes is reviewed and management actions are taken to minimise impacts on wildlife and other trail users.
- Responsible use of Jasper’s waterbodies is promoted, including by introducing limits on electric boat motor specifications and developing operating guidelines to manage impacts. Electric boat motor use will not be expanded beyond the current opportunities on Maligne, Medicine, Patricia, Pyramid and Talbot lakes.
The park’s diverse camping offer is maintained and enhanced to meet the needs, safety and comfort of campers.
- A variety of tools are used to address camper needs, including enhancing education and awareness programs, improving the reservation system, payment systems and addressing campground services and transportation.
- Increases to existing campground densities and footprints are subject to alignment with environmental and experiential objectives.
- A vegetation management plan is developed and implemented for frontcountry campgrounds to address natural hazards, invasive species, wildlife attractants, trail rehabilitation and restoration of the forest canopy.
Visitors act as park stewards and meaningfully connect to the natural and cultural values the park is protecting through a range of learning opportunities.
- Targeted activities and communications advance understanding and stewardship of natural and cultural resources in high-use, sensitive and impacted areas of the park.
- Targeted frontline training and programs increase the capacity of Parks Canada staff and tourism operators to present Jasper stories, information and stewardship messages and promote compliance with park regulations.
- An interpretive master plan is developed in collaboration with Indigenous partners to provide authentic Indigenous content and experiences in park interpretation.
- Storytelling offers an inclusive and engaging approach to public history by reflecting the diversity of Indigenous partners and other cultural communities with connections to the park and incorporating multiple narratives, guided by the Parks Canada Framework for History and Commemoration (2019).
- The number of surveyed visitors who say they learned about the natural and cultural heritage of Jasper National Park is in good condition with a sustained or increasing trend in the next State of the Park Assessment.
Visitor experiences in wilderness areas are consistent with wilderness character and protect the ecological integrity of the park environment.
- Wilderness recreation activities are supported by rudimentary facilities and levels of service.
- Asset maintenance and improvements in wilderness areas are guided by the Parks Canada trail and bridge priority matrices and trail and backcountry maintenance standards.
- Private and commercial horse use is reviewed to determine the level of use, reduce impacts and identify facilities and services that will be maintained into the future.
Strategy 3: Strengthening Indigenous relations
The Government of Canada has committed to deepen and strengthen relationships with Indigenous peoples. Accordingly, many places administered by Parks Canada are managed through cooperative management bodies or advisory relationships with local Indigenous communities. These structures recognize the important and ongoing roles and responsibilities of Indigenous peoples as stewards of heritage places. With approaches founded on renewed relationships, respect and cooperation, the mountain national parks will continue to recognize Indigenous connections and work with Indigenous peoples to advance priorities of mutual interest.
Jasper National Park is in a period of transition, from a past where Indigenous peoples were separated from their traditional lands, to the present, where Parks Canada and Indigenous communities with traditional connections to the park are working together. This strategy seeks to facilitate reconnection with traditional territories, create platforms for Indigenous voices to present their cultures and histories and share Indigenous knowledge, advance initiatives to protect and care for park lands, and participate in park management.
Parks Canada’s work with Indigenous communities in Jasper National Park also supports other broader Government of Canada initiatives, such as the implementation of recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and efforts toward the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
Build respectful relationships with Indigenous partners connected to Jasper National Park, honouring their role as traditional stewards of the land and increasing their involvement in park management.
- There is a strong, respectful relationship between Parks Canada and Indigenous partners, the hallmarks of which are listening, sharing perspectives and working together in the spirit of reconciliation.
- Programs and strategies are developed in collaboration with Indigenous partners to advance their interests and incorporate their ideas and perspectives into park management.
- The Jasper Indigenous Forum, and advisory and working groups, are engaged on programming of mutual interest.
- Relationship-building between local Indigenous partners, the community of Jasper and business operators is facilitated by Parks Canada.
- Indigenous recruitment attracts and retains Indigenous staff, particularly from Indigenous partner communities.
- Contracting, procurement and other business opportunities for Indigenous partners increases from a 2019 baseline.
The contributions, stories and languages of Indigenous partners are celebrated and honoured in Jasper National Park.
- Local Indigenous partners tell their own stories in their own voices in the park.
- Indigenous languages are incorporated into selected programs, signage and place names in the park.
- Indigenous partner-led training for Parks Canada staff increases awareness and understanding of Indigenous cultures, practices and histories, and is delivered regularly.
There is an enduring Indigenous presence in the park and Indigenous partners are able to reconnect to the land.
- A long-term strategy for the Indigenous Cultural Use Area is completed by 2025.
- Spaces are identified and created to support Indigenous reconnection.
- Indigenous partners’ cultural, traditional and spiritual practices are alive in the park.
Strategy 4: Connect, collaborate and learn together
Jasper’s mountain landscapes are connected across and beyond park boundaries. Parks Canada reaches Canadians where they live, work and play, with the stories of Jasper National Park, to connect them with their natural and cultural heritage. Through partnerships and collaborations that harness the skills and enthusiasm of others, Parks Canada provides programs, reaches diverse audiences, shares information and best practices, and acquires expertise to advance its mandate in Jasper National Park.
This strategy seeks to ensure that the perspectives and views of Canadians are reflected in how the park is managed. It also focuses on cross-boundary relationships and collaboration to increase our capacity to understand, address and monitor landscape-level issues and opportunities, such as ecological restoration, emergency preparedness, climate change adaptation, maintenance of wildlife corridors and tourism.
Jasper National Park contributes to the Government of Canada Open Data Policy to share natural and cultural resource data sets as available. By working with others, Parks Canada will acquire new knowledge and pilot new techniques and tools to enrich the experience and the heritage of generations now and to come.
A sense of shared stewardship links Canadians to the park’s natural and cultural heritage, through engaging and informative content and programs.
- Quality outreach programs target traditional and new audiences across Alberta and British Columbia.
- Investigate emerging opportunities to better communicate and connect the Jasper National Park experience with Canadians and the world.
- Canadians and international guests planning to visit the park are aware of the visitor offer, heritage designations, the visitor’s role in park stewardship and how best to prepare for a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Web analytics and other tools shape our understanding of how Canadians engage with web and social media content and platforms; a digital content strategy that responds to the expectations and information needs of Canadians is implemented by 2025.
- Volunteer opportunities and active collaborations with other organizations are in place.
Jasper National Park provides opportunities for youth, Indigenous partners and visitors to connect, collaborate and learn together.
- Jasper National Park provides on-site and virtual education programs and resources to youth and educators nationally, regionally and locally to spark passion and appreciation for national parks and national historic sites, and to foster the next generation of natural and cultural stewards.
- The role of the Palisades Centre in delivering education programs, Indigenous partner initiatives and visitor experiences is reviewed with respect to Parks Canada’s national priorities.
Parks Canada collaborates with a variety of organizations on lands adjacent to park boundaries to address shared goals for conservation, connectivity, tourism and cumulative effects management in the regional ecosystem.
- Management of natural resources, cumulative effects and ecological restoration is improved with regional partners.
- The interests of adjacent land managers are considered when developing responses to forest insects and diseases, and there is collaboration on complementary monitoring and management programs.
- Management approaches to increase connectivity within and across park boundaries where land use pressures and climate change may impact transboundary wildlife populations and natural processes are pursued with regional jurisdictions.
- A landscape-level connectivity monitoring program is developed with partners to support evidence-based conservation.
- Through work with regional partners, the À La Pêche caribou herd is maintained at sustainable levels.
- Cross-boundary visitor management is improved through work with adjacent parks and communities.
New information, research and tools are developed to inform park management and share knowledge with Canadians.
- Park research priorities are communicated and attract collaboration with academic institutions and other organizations on natural and social scientific research.
- Canadians are able to access up-to-date data and information about natural and cultural resource management on the Government of Canada Open Data Portal and Parks Canada website.
- New tools are developed and applied to measure and report on cumulative effects and landscape level changes.
Strategy 5: Managing development
Ecological integrity will be the first priority in park management, including in managing development. Parks Canada’s approach will be transparent and consistent, and will continue to respect limits, zoning and declared wilderness designations. Any development considered must demonstrably support the vision and objectives of each park as described in its Management Plan. Development will facilitate greater awareness and connection to natural and historical spaces, and aim to protect for future generations the qualities that make these places distinctive.
As the land manager in Jasper National Park, Parks Canada regulates development and land use activity in the park. In addition to protecting a large undeveloped land base, the national park includes various developments that support park operations, visitor uses and the community of Jasper. The park plays an important role in economic sustainability, and includes a national transportation corridor (the Yellowhead Trans-Canada Highway and the Canadian National Railway) and a trans-provincial oil pipeline.
A framework of federal laws and regulations, as well as national and mountain parks policies, provide the parameters within which new development and the maintenance and operation of existing development may take place. At the park level, zoning, environmental and cultural impact assessments and permitting are key tools for determining where and under what conditions facilities and activities can be approved. Parks Canada also manages licensing processes that allow commercial and not-for-profit groups to provide guiding services. A variety of third-party events, outside the peak season, provide opportunities for visitors and residents to enjoy the park.
Key commercial staging areas in Jasper National Park include road accessible outlying commercial accommodation facilities (lodges or bungalow camps), backcountry lodges, facility based tour services, stables and associated trail head facilities, a golf course, and a ski area, among others. Not-for-profit staging areas include alpine huts and cabins and hostels outside the townsite.
Environmental sustainability is linked to managing development; the redevelopment of facilities and infrastructure can offer opportunities to make environmental gains by improving environmental management. Decision-making takes into account the complete life cycle of a proposed change and not just the short-term results or impacts.
This strategy encourages creative approaches that foster park stewardship, incorporate sound sustainability practices and cultivate a strong sense of place through sensitive design, redevelopment and management of activities.
Specific guidance for managing development, business activities and events outside the community of Jasper
- Changes to commercial accommodations outside the community of Jasper are guided by the Redevelopment Guidelines for Outlying Commercial Accommodations (OCAs) in the Rocky Mountain National Parks (2007). No land will be released for new road-accessible for-profit commercial accommodation outside the townsite boundary; however, Parks Canada may consider adjustments to boundaries of an existing license of occupation where opportunities arise to improve environmental performance of utilities, such as facilitating green energy or improving wastewater treatment.
- The Marmot Basin Ski Area Site Guidelines for Development and Use (2008), Parks Canada’s Ski Area Management Guidelines (2006) and any approved Long Range Plan for the Marmot Basin Ski Area are applied. Proposals that are consistent with the growth limits and parameters identified in these documents will be considered in the development review process.
- Parks Canada will work with other commercial lessees who advance new development or redevelopment proposals to set development and use limits within their leasehold agreements that meet environmental and visitor experience objectives.
- Parks Canada may consider a proposal from the Jasper SkyTram to redevelop ageing infrastructure within the current alignment, or subject to conditions, an alternative alignment involving a leasehold re-configuration and related adjustments to zoning and declared wilderness area boundaries. The conditions for considering an alternative alignment include maintaining public safety, achieving environmental gains, and subject to decision-making through Parks Canada’s impact assessment and development review processes, with Indigenous and public consultation.
- Adjustments to the operating parameters for existing overnight backcountry facilities may be considered to support ecological gains, such as caribou recovery objectives, and visitor experience and learning opportunities.
- Minor modifications or expansion of existing alpine huts to improve visitor experience and learning opportunities will be considered, subject to alignment with ecological objectives.
- Parks Canada may choose to solicit a third party to convert and operate one or more patrol cabins for public access, on a not-for-profit basis.
- Parks Canada may choose to solicit a third party to convert and operate a road-accessible out-of-service warden station as a public access hostel, on a not-for-profit basis.
- The Lake Edith cottage subdivision will continue to be managed as a seasonal subdivision (occupied from April 1 to October 31), recognizing that several leases allow for year-round occupancy. No seasonal leases at Lake Edith will be allowed to expand in duration. Additional lands will not be made available for private cottages.
- The Lake Edith shoreline is managed as a natural landscape and a multi-use trail facilitates public access.
- Commercial activities are managed through the Parks Canada business licensing process.
- New recreational activities and events are assessed using Parks Canada Management Directive 2.6.10 Recreational Activity and Special Event Assessments.
- The Guidelines for New Recreational Activities in Jasper National Park (2015) guide the management of mountain biking, paragliding and several other recreational activities in Jasper National Park.
- The Jasper National Park Guidelines for River Use Management (1999) guide the activities on the Sunwapta, Athabasca, Maligne, Miette and Whirlpool rivers.
- The Backcountry Operational Guidelines for Jasper National Park (in preparation) guide the management of wilderness activities, such as random camping and horse use.
- Filming is managed as per Parks Canada’s National Multimedia Guidelines (2005).
Commercial development and redevelopment proposals are evaluated openly and transparently, and are consistent with Parks Canada’s mandate and policies.
- Established limits to development and park zoning are respected.
- Environmental impact assessment and aesthetic guidelines are applied, and the full life cycle impacts and benefits are considered.
- Other heritage designations are considered, including UNESCO World Heritage, Dark Sky Preserve and Canadian Heritage River.
- Opportunities are provided for public and Indigenous input for major commercial development proposals outside the Jasper townsite.
- Development and redevelopment proposals include a park stewardship component that supports conservation.
New and existing recreational and commercial activities, services and events are managed to ensure ecological integrity, quality visitor experiences and equitable access to business opportunities.
- The business licensing processes for guided recreational activities and road-based vehicular tours is reviewed by 2025, in collaboration with other field units.
- Guided business opportunities in the park are regularly reviewed, with special attention to high use areas to ensure a balance between visitor experience objectives and ecological impacts.
- There is equitable access to guiding and business opportunities through Requests for Proposals, with improved opportunities for participation from local Indigenous partners.
- Tourism operators participate in third party employee training or education about park stewardship.
- Tourism partners and operators collaborate with Parks Canada to develop and share wildlife safety and other stewardship messages.
- Businesses, events and activities demonstrate authenticity and respect for place, and align with the Jasper National Park vision.
- Existing commercial tourism lessees outside the townsite, who do not have long-range plans or other development guidelines prepare multi-year frameworks for operations, environmental management, visitor and staff transportation systems and development parameters for approval by Parks Canada.
Work with companies that manage linear infrastructure corridors to reduce the environmental, aesthetic and visitor impacts of their operations.
- Standardized mitigation measures for routine operations and maintenance are updated and implemented.
- Opportunities to consolidate and reduce the footprint of corridors and designated access routes are explored to make conservation gains wherever possible.
- Provisions are included in infrastructure projects and proposals to contribute to Parks Canada’s assessment, regulatory oversight and environmental monitoring costs.
- Continue to work with operators to improve and implement environmental best practices and to share information for emergency management and incident response situations. Spill prevention, clean-up and contaminated site remediation is in accordance with applicable legislation.
- Work with Canadian National (CN) Railway to improve water management practices and remediate soil and groundwater contamination, reduce grain spills, manage invasive species and wildlife mortality along the rail line. Ensure use of CN lands aligns with legislation and policy guidelines.
Parks Canada and third party projects incorporate provisions to minimize the footprint of disturbance, restore disturbed areas to a natural state and protect aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.
- New lighting meets dark sky guidelines and operators are encouraged to replace existing lighting that is not dark sky compliant.
- Wastewater effluent meets Parks Canada standards and/or applicable provincial standards. Effluent does not impact the ecological integrity of the receiving environment.
- Parks Canada and third party operators continue to comply with applicable environmental legislation to prevent contamination and to assess, restore or manage risks associated with contaminated sites.
- Adjustments to leases and licenses of occupation boundaries for infrastructure or utility footprint expansions that would result in improvements to environmental management or ecosystem protection are considered.
- Encroachments on park lands and waters are reviewed to improve compliance with the terms of leases and licences of occupation.
- Where impacts cannot be reasonably mitigated, third parties provide compensation for environmental restoration and monitoring.
- The Whistlers Hostel facilities are decommissioned and the area is restored.
- An operational review is conducted to consider decommissioning Parks Canada’s Decoigne station, Snaring station and Cavell station, taking into consideration any heritage requirements and benefits to ecological integrity.
Park assets, including highways, scenic roadways and day use areas, are well maintained and support Parks Canada’s mandate and management plan objectives.
- Safety and environmental improvements to Highway 16 take into account its dual role as the main access route to the park and a national transportation route.
- Review ecological, asset maintenance and aviation safety concerns for the Jasper Airstrip to determine if the asset continues to be an appropriate use in the montane grassland ecosystem. As long as the airstrip remains open, the airstrip is maintained as a grass runway with minimal maintenance and facilities for private, recreational aviation and emergency and diversionary landings.
- No commercial flights are permitted.
- There is no increase in the current (2020) footprint of the airstrip.
- Aggregate extraction for roadway improvements and maintenance is guided by the Mountain Parks Aggregate Management Strategy (2019) and the Parks Canada Management Directive 2.4.7—Sand, Gravel and other Earth Material: Excavation and Site Rehabilitation. Gravel pits are restored at a rate equal to new footprint expansion for aggregate withdrawal.
- An asset management and maintenance plan is developed to identify strategies, resources and actions to optimize asset performance and sustainability, to minimize risks and to ensure assets effectively contribute to the objectives in this management plan.
- Asset indicators have improving trends in the next State of the Park Assessment.
Strategy 6: Climate change and adaptive management
The mountain national parks were established to protect and represent specific features of Canada’s natural heritage. They include some of Canada’s most significant landscapes and natural and cultural resources, which are already affected by climate change. As such, these parks offer excellent opportunities to contribute to an understanding of climate change and its impacts over time. Parks Canada is committed to protecting park ecosystems for future generations by demonstrating leadership in sustainable operations and adaptive management in response to climate change impacts. The mountain national parks will continue to collaborate with others on climate change research, monitoring and education.
The effects of a changing climate are highly visible in Jasper National Park. At the Athabasca Glacier, one of the world’s most accessible glaciers, millions of visitors can witness firsthand evidence of the rapid retreat of a glacier over the past century. Updated interpretation at the Columbia Icefield is helping to tell the story of climate change, but there are many other opportunities to increase visitor awareness and link local challenges to this global issue.
Climate change is also affecting other aspects of Parks Canada’s work, such as the longevity of built assets and cultural resources, in the face of more extreme weather events, more frequent and intense wildfire seasons, and changing visitation patterns. This strategy seeks to expand collaboration and monitoring to anticipate and understand the effects of a changing climate and take action to reduce our carbon footprint and increase sustainability.
Improve our understanding of the impact of climate change on park ecosystems, cultural resources, built assets and visitor facilities, and implement appropriate management responses and adaptation strategies.
- Strengthen the park’s networking with institutions and organizations with climate change expertise and undertake collaborative analyses and communications on the effects of climate change.
- The ecological integrity monitoring program is reviewed by 2024 to identify data gaps, including understanding the effects of climate change on the park’s ecosystems and to braid in Indigenous knowledge.
- Ecological components and cultural resources are assessed for vulnerability to climate change impacts.
- Management actions aimed at addressing the effects of climate change are developed to enhance ecosystem resilience.
- Risk assessments are completed, mitigations are implemented where appropriate, and emergency preparedness plans are in place for built assets, visitor facilities and access routes that may be vulnerable to damage from extreme weather events, ecological processes and climate changes.
Investigate and employ technologies and systems that improve building design and construction, energy and water conservation, solid waste and wastewater management, and fleet management.
- A transition strategy for greening operations is developed and launched. It includes transitioning the fleet to a higher percentage of zero-emission vehicles or hybrids, increasing the energy efficiency of existing facilities, improving waste reduction and diversion practices, and constructing all new buildings to be low carbon.
- Site management of the Waste Transfer Station is improved and cost-recovery is pursued.
7.0 Management areas
Area management focuses on specific areas of the national parks that have complex management challenges including important natural and/or cultural values, high visitation, public interest, significant infrastructure and multiple visitor experience opportunities. These areas often require greater consideration for maintenance of ecological integrity and to ensure quality visitor experiences. Two areas have been identified that require specific management objectives and targets in this management plan: the community of Jasper and the Tonquin Valley.
Map 3: Community of Jasper and Tonquin Valley management areas — Text version
A map showing the Tonquin Valley Management Area to the south west of the Community of Jasper Management Area. The Tonquin area’s east boundary is near the Marmot Basin Ski Area and Wabasso Campground. The Tonquin Valley Trail is shown traversing the Tonquin Valley Management Area.
Amethyst Lakes is identified near the centre of the Tonquin Valley Management Area.
7.1 Community of Jasper
Nestled near the confluence of the Athabasca, Miette and Maligne rivers, the community of Jasper is true to the vision of its community plan—a small, friendly and sustainable community set in the natural splendor of Jasper National Park.
Parks Canada’s land use planning and development authorities for the community of Jasper are set out in the Canada National Parks Act and other applicable regulations and policies. The Canada National Parks Act designates Jasper as a park community and contains several important provisions in relation to the community’s future development:
- The townsite boundary is fixed.
- The amount of commercial floor area is capped at 118,222 m2.
- The size and configuration of the area zoned for commercial development is set.
The Town of Jasper Zoning Regulations (1968), which are currently under review, and the draft Town of Jasper Land Use Policy (2005) contain provisions for zoning and permitting and process requirements.
The Jasper Community Sustainability Plan (2011), prepared jointly by the Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada, provides a vision for the community and policy direction for achieving that vision. All residents of Jasper must meet the eligible residency requirements under the National Parks Lease and License of Occupation Regulations.
With the majority of park visitors spending time in the townsite and surrounding area, there are excellent opportunities to reach them with park messages and engaging programming, and to showcase a community that embraces park stewardship and environmental sustainability. However, care is required to ensure that the community and its guests do not have a negative effect on park ecological and cultural resources.
The direction outlined in this management area approach will ensure that the community vision is achieved, while continuing to welcome park visitors, sustain the community’s quality of life and enhance the role of the community as a platform from which visitors experience and learn about the park and contribute to its stewardship.
Decisions about development, operation and management of the community are guided by the approved community plan for Jasper, which must be consistent with this park management plan and other applicable policies and legislation.
- The Jasper Community Sustainability Plan is reviewed and updated by 2025.
- The local policy framework for townsite land use zoning is reviewed and updated.
- The development of new Land Use Planning Regulations and policies are supported to update the planning permit process and community zoning regulations.
New affordable housing is developed that is suitable for all stages of life and takes into account Jasper’s socio-economic characteristics
- Parks Canada and the Jasper Community Housing Corporation collaborate to release residential reserve lands to the Municipality of Jasper for affordable housing projects.
- All new commercial developments provide staff accommodation units as specified in applicable land use policies and regulations; reduced parking may be considered where active transportation options are available.
- The long-term housing strategy continues to be implemented to address the housing shortage for Parks Canada staff.
New community development and redevelopment respect existing limits to development, preserve Jasper’s small mountain community and distinctive built heritage, contribute to environmental sustainability and provide for local participation.
- Residents are involved in community planning initiatives and there is transparency and openness in the development review process.
- Parks Canada works with lessees to resolve non-conforming uses.
Residents, community organizations and businesses are stewards to protect the park environment at work and at home.
- Parks Canada community outreach programs target Jasper residents and the local tourism industry.
- Parks Canada encourages and facilitates the removal of wildlife attractants from residential and commercial properties, and promotes management of domestic animals to minimize their effects on wildlife.
- New lighting meets dark sky guidelines, and residents and businesses are encouraged to replace existing lighting that is not dark sky compliant.
- Residents and businesses are aware of and act to limit the spread of invasive species and work to protect species at risk in construction projects and other activities.
- As active users of the trail network surrounding the community, Jasper residents are partners in addressing and preventing damage caused by unofficial trails and ensuring appropriate use of the existing trail network to reduce impacts on ecological integrity and wildlife disturbance.
The Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada collaborate on issues of mutual importance and share information regularly about individual areas of responsibility.
- The effects of visitation on the community are better understood, and a plan to manage visitation growth and visitor events and activities staged from the townsite is developed collaboratively.
- Environmental sustainability measures are promoted and implemented by the municipality with support from Parks Canada.
- Parks Canada and the municipality collaborate on emergency preparedness for the townsite.
- Fire smart program activities in and adjacent to the townsite continue to be completed collaboratively.
- Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper continue to monitor storm water quality and adopt best practices to improve storm water management, where feasible.
7.2 Tonquin Valley
The Tonquin Valley has long been a popular wilderness destination in Jasper National Park. The area provides an abundance of alpine vistas and secure habitat for grizzly bears, and is home to one of Jasper’s remaining herds of southern mountain caribou.
Historical records indicate the Tonquin caribou herd was once much larger, but today this herd has declined to the point where it is facing imminent extinction. Caribou in the Tonquin Valley numbered over 180 in the early 1960s, and over 100 as recently as 2008, but today Parks Canada estimates there are fewer than 45 animals and only 10 adult females.
A suite of actions to protect the herd was initiated more than 10 years ago, but has not been successful in stopping the decline. Actions that have been implemented more recently include delayed winter access from November 1 until February 15, flight guidelines for fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, and a reduction in Parks Canada winter operations.
Given the declining trend, recovering the Tonquin caribou herd will be challenging and is not likely to occur naturally on its own. The herd is part of a complex ecological system with many factors combining to impact the population. The biggest issues facing caribou in the park have been predation levels, which are now at a level which could favour the recovery of the caribou, if conservation breeding is implemented.
In addition to seven backcountry campgrounds in the valley, there are two commercial lodges (Tonquin Valley Adventures on the east side of Amethyst Lake and Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge on the north end of the lake), the Wates-Gibson Alpine Club of Canada Hut on the shore of Outpost Lake, and a Parks Canada patrol cabin. The majority of visitor use in the valley is concentrated in the Amethyst Lake area, with a total overnight capacity of 150 visitors per night in the summer.
Wet conditions in the Tonquin’s alpine meadows and frequent rock slides on Astoria Mountain have made trail maintenance a challenge. However, significant investment in trails over the past several years has resulted in improvements, as have changes to the way horse use is managed in the valley.
Actions are taken to improve the conservation status of the Tonquin caribou herd, while maintaining a basic visitor service and maintaining or restoring other important components of the valley’s ecological integrity.
- In alignment with the Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada (2014), review efficacy of current mitigations and consider additional measures to be taken.
- The impacts of recreational use, especially horse use, on vegetation, species at risk, visitor experience and assets in the Tonquin Valley and associated trails is reviewed and measures taken as needed to address concerns.
8.0 Zoning and declared wilderness area
Parks Canada’s national park zoning system is an integrated approach to the classification of land and water areas in a national park and designates where particular activities can occur on land or water based on the ability to support those uses. The zoning system has five categories:
- Zone I - Special preservation;
- Zone II - Wilderness;
- Zone III - Natural environment;
- Zone IV - Outdoor recreation; and
- Zone V - Park services.
8.1.1 Zoning amendments
This plan incorporates minor adjustments to improve the zoning from the 2010 Jasper National Park Management Plan. The zoning changes ensure consistency in how zoning is applied throughout the park and resolve minor geospatial inaccuracies in previous mapping layers. Map 4 illustrates the zoning changes. The overall percentage of the park occupied by each zone has not changed.
- The boundaries of the old Ancient Forest Zone I area are adjusted to more accurately reflect several scientifically-important study sites and locations of very old trees in the Columbia Icefield area.
- The upper branch of the Pyramid Mountain Access Road is rezoned from Zone III to Zone II to reflect the removal of a microwave tower and rehabilitation of the access corridor.
- Pyramid Lake is rezoned from Zone IV to Zone III, similar to other road-accessible lakes in the park.
- Beauty Creek and Ranger Creek North gravel pits are rezoned from Zone IV to Zone II as they are no longer used operationally.
- Mile 9 gravel pit is rezoned from Zone III to Zone IV to better reflect its current operational use for gravel extraction and planned expansion within the next 10 years.
- The zoning is adjusted for part of Marmot gravel pit from Zone III to Zone IV to reflect the current extent of the pit and provide flexibility for future expansion, if required.
- The Snow Dump site north of Whistlers Campground is rezoned from Zone III to Zone IV to better reflect its current use as a snow disposal area by the Municipality of Jasper.
- The lower portion of Bald Hills Fire Road is rezoned from Zone IV to Zone III. The fire road is not a public road and is used primarily as a public hiking trail, although it receives periodic motorized use to maintain water supply infrastructure operated by the commercial lessee at Maligne Lake.
- The zoning at Marmot Basin Ski Area is updated to reflect regulatory amendments to Schedule 5 of the Canada National Parks Act in 2013 and Schedule 1 of the National Parks of Canada Wilderness Area Declaration Regulations in 2017.
- The Astoria powerhouse is rezoned from Zone III to Zone IV to reflect the nature and extent of its facilities and workspaces.
- The boundaries of the Zone III area that encompasses the snowcoach road on the Athabasca Glacier are adjusted to better reflect the current location of the road and potential for future road alignment changes.
- The zoning is adjusted along a section of easement corridor in the Celestine Road and Jasper Lake area to allow for a 25 m buffer of Zone III in accordance with declared wilderness area provisions for utility corridors.
- A number of smaller changes reflect the correct location of facilities and land uses that have been in place since before 2000 (for example, ensuring utility lines are accurately captured as Zone III and ensuring road-accessible campgrounds are accurately captured as Zone IV), as well as changes in leases and licences of occupation.
8.1.2 Other Zoning Considerations
Parks Canada may consider adjustments to zoning and declared wilderness area boundaries in conjunction with the conceptual proposal for the redevelopment of the Jasper SkyTram.
Suitable land in Zone II (and within the Declared Wilderness Area) may be used for caribou captive breeding and release facilities, provided it can be returned to a wilderness condition following the project (see Objective 1.3).
Map 4: Jasper National Park zoning summary — Text version
A map of Jasper National Park showing the composition of different zoning areas.
- Zone 1 – “Special Preservation” is less than 1% of the area of Jasper National Park
- Zone 2 – “Wilderness” is 97% of the park
- Zone 3 – “Natural Environment” is 1% of the park, and is located mostly along the transportation and utility corridors, road accessible lakes, and parts of the Pyramid Bench area
- Zone 4 – “Outdoor Recreation” is 1% of the park and overlays the transportation corridors as well as trails in the three valley confluence, the campgrounds, and Marmot Basin Ski Area
- Zone 5 – “Park Services” is less than 1% of the park; it is the Community of Jasper area
Map 5: Jasper National Park declared wilderness area — Text version
A map of Jasper National Park showing the “Declared Wilderness Area” and the area which is “Not Declared Wilderness”. The area which is “Not Declared Wilderness” surrounds the Community of Jasper, transportation and utility corridors, road accessible lakes (like Maligne Lake), and the trail to Amethyst Lake via Astoria Creek in the Tonquin Valley area.
Zone I lands deserve special preservation because they contain or support unique, threatened or endangered natural or cultural features, or are among the best examples of the features that represent a natural region. Preservation is the key consideration. Motorized access and circulation are not permitted.
- Ancient forest and other climate study sites
- This Zone I area is comprised of several study sites that have contributed to scientific understanding of past climates and glacier retreat at the Columbia Icefield specifically and in the Rocky Mountains more generally. The forested stands within the zone contain very old—in some cases 500- or 600-year old—living specimens of Engelmann spruce (Picea engelmannii). Dead timbers in the area mark two Little Ice Age maximum advances of the Athabasca Glacier, at approximately 1714 and 1841/43. Old trees and dead wood at these sites have been used to produce a 1000-year long summer temperature record. Due to the scientific value of these sites, the park will not encourage access to the area and will interpret its resources off-site.
- Surprise Valley
- Surprise Valley is part of the Maligne karst system, one of the largest underground river systems in North America, and is designated as a Zone I area for some of the best examples of surface karst features in the park. The valley, located above the Maligne River, is drained entirely underground through limestone of the Upper Devonian Palliser Formation. The valley contains deep sinkholes in glacier drift, sink lakes and some of the finest examples of rillenkarren in North America. An unmaintained trail provides access to the valley; no restrictions on access are required at the present time.
- Archaeological cave site
- In Jasper National Park, there is one cave site that contains pictographs and other culturally and archaeologically significant material. Due to its cultural sensitivity and the importance of not disturbing the archaeological material, the area is not identified on the zoning map and access to the cave will be strictly controlled.
- Jasper House
- Jasper House, a national historic site because of its significant role in the fur trade, is rich in architectural features, artifacts and faunal remains. Archaeological remains are intact and are very important in understanding the history of the site. Off-site interpretation of the site’s heritage values is provided at the Jasper House trail and platform along Highway 16.
Zone II contains extensive areas that are good representations of a natural region and are conserved in a wilderness state. Much of this land consists of steep mountain slopes, glaciers and alpine meadows. The perpetuation of ecosystems with minimal human interference is the key consideration. Zone II areas offer opportunities for visitors to experience, first-hand, the park’s ecosystems and require few, if any, rudimentary services and facilities. In much of Zone II, visitors experience remoteness and solitude. Motorized access and circulation are not permitted. Facilities are restricted to trails, backcountry campgrounds, alpine huts, trail shelters and patrol cabins. Most of Zone II will continue to have no facilities.
In Zone III areas, visitors experience the park’s natural and cultural heritage through outdoor recreational activities that require minimal services and facilities of a rustic nature. Zone III applies to areas where visitor use requires facilities that exceed the acceptable standards for Zone II. For example, snowmobile access routes and land associated with commercial backcountry lodges are zoned as Natural Environment. Utility corridors may also be located in Zone III. Motorized access and circulation in Zone III are permitted in limited circumstances and controlled through regulatory permitting and realty instruments (for example, leases, licences and easement agreements), including:
- snowmobile or helicopter use to service backcountry facilities;
- off-highway vehicle use to maintain and operate linear infrastructure, such as power lines and pipelines;
- motorized commercial tours on Maligne Lake and on the Athabasca Glacier as authorized through a valid lease; and
- seasonal use of signed Zone III or IV lakes by boats with electric motors, within established parameters.
Zone IV includes limited areas that are capable of accommodating a broad range of opportunities for understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of the park’s heritage values and related essential services and facilities, in ways that impact the ecological integrity of the park to the smallest extent possible, and whose defining feature is direct access by motorized vehicles. In Jasper National Park, Zone IV includes frontcountry facilities and infrastructure, such as park roadways, road-accessible campgrounds and overflows, day-use areas and visitor facilities like Miette Hot Springs. Commercial operations like Ski Marmot Basin, Jasper Park Lodge, bungalow camps and hostels outside the townsite are also located in Zone IV. Several more intensive land uses related to park operations, such as gravel pits, power generation facilities and the waste transfer station, are also located in Zone IV.
The community of Jasper, with its concentration of visitor service and support facilities, is the only Zone V area in the park. Specific activities, services and facilities in this zone will be defined and directed by the approved community plan.
8.2 Wilderness area declaration
The intent of legally designating a portion of a national park as wilderness is to maintain its wilderness character in perpetuity. Only activities that are unlikely to impair the wilderness character of the area may be authorized within the declared wilderness area of Jasper National Park.
Large tracts of protected wilderness are becoming a scarce and valuable resource in Canada and the world. From an ecological perspective, their importance lies in their ability to support natural processes and to serve as benchmarks. They are critical for animal species with large home ranges and for migrating wildlife.
Most of Jasper’s Zone II has been registered as Declared Wilderness under the National Parks of Canada Wilderness Area Declaration Regulations. The intent of legally designating a portion of a national park as wilderness is to maintain its character in perpetuity. Only limited development required for park administration, public safety and provision of basic visitor facilities, such as trails, backcountry campgrounds, alpine huts, trail shelters and patrol cabins, is allowed in designated wilderness.
Any revisions to Declared Wilderness Area boundaries must go through a formal regulatory process with public review. Parks Canada may consider minor adjustments to these boundaries and Zone II boundaries for infrastructure projects that would result in clear environmental gains (for example, water supply, waste water treatment, utilities and communications at outlying commercial accommodations, Ski Marmot Basin and other leases) that are consistent with the intent of the Canadian National Parks Act and Regulations.
8.3 Environmentally sensitive sites
This designation applies to areas with significant, sensitive features that require special protection, but do not fit the zoning described above. Their designation complements the zoning system and is important to the protection of the full range of valued resources.
- Edith Cavell Meadows
- Many significant plant species grow in the upper subalpine and alpine meadows near Mount Edith Cavell. The meadows are also an important caribou calving and rutting area.
Use of the meadows will be consolidated on the day use trail in the northeast corner of the meadows and climbing access along the east ridge of Mount Edith Cavell; visitors will be encouraged to stay on the formal trail.
- Pocahontas Ponds
- This area of small ponds and stream channels in the Athabasca floodplain near the junction of Highway 16 and the Miette Road is very important to wildlife. Critical winter range for elk and moose, the area is also important to small mammals. These prey species in turn attract carnivores. Numerous bird species occur in high densities, many of which are not found elsewhere in the parks. Raptors, such as osprey and bald eagle, nest here. The area also provides habitat for the river otter, a species that is rare in the park.
Any major construction in the area (for example, utilities and roads) could change patterns of sedimentation and erosion. Future development in the vicinity of the ponds will be managed to ensure that it does not have a negative impact on the area’s special resources.
- Maligne Lake Outlet
- Since the 2000 management plan, Parks Canada has managed the Maligne Lake outlet and mid-Maligne River to provide secure habitat for harlequin ducks. The outlet is particularly important for harlequin ducks during their pre-nesting period, and is also part of the mid-Maligne River movement corridor between Maligne and Medicine lakes for harlequin duck broods. Harlequin ducks have narrow ecological requirements, low reproductive potential and are sensitive to human-caused disturbance.
Human activity and development in the vicinity of the outlet will be managed, in conjunction with the seasonal closure of the mid-Maligne River to instream recreational activity, to protect harlequin ducks and their habitat.
9.0 Summary of strategic environmental assessment
All national park management plans are assessed through a strategic environmental assessment to understand the potential for cumulative effects. This understanding contributes to evidence-based decision-making that supports ecological integrity being maintained or restored over the life of the plan. The strategic environmental assessment for the Management Plan for Jasper National Park considered the potential impacts of climate change, local and regional activities around the park, expected increases in visitation and proposals within the management plan.
The strategic environmental assessment assessed the potential impacts on different valued components of the ecosystem, including, aquatic communities, forest vegetation, montane and alpine habitat, whitebark pine, terrestrial birds, carnivores, woodland caribou and mountain goats.
The management plan identifies objectives and targets including developing responses to climate change impacts, visitor use management tools to protect the park’s ecological resources, and allowing ecological processes to shape native vegetation communities, to address cumulative effects of climate change, visitation, invasive species and diseases, and impacts to regional connectivity. The strategic environmental assessment identifies further mitigations.
Glaciers, forest vegetation, montane grasslands and dunes, and woodland caribou are rated as poor in the 2018 State of the Park Assessment, and are likely to be further impacted by climate change, invasive species and disease, and regional activities outside the park. The management plan identifies objectives and targets to address these effects and the strategic environmental assessment identifies further mitigations.
The strategic environmental assessment identified the following expected impacts on valued ecosystem components:
- Climate change is the primary stressor impacting glaciers. Parks Canada is taking action to minimize the contributions of park operations to greenhouse gasses and seeking to understand the impacts of climate change and share this knowledge with visitors and Canadians. The management plan is not expected to contribute additional negative cumulative effects on glaciers.
- Climate change will impact hydrology over the next ten years. The management plan addresses the main threats to water connectivity and is not expected to contribute additional negative effects on water flows.
- Water quality
- Climate change could contribute to cumulative effects on water quality. The management plan indicates that wastewater in the park must meet Parks Canada standards and/or applicable provincial standards. The management plan is expected to maintain water quality in the park.
- Aquatic communities
- The management plan provides direction on managing aquatic communities by preventing or minimizing the establishment of new invasive species and diseases, and controlling existing invasive species where feasible. The management plan is expected to improve aquatic communities in Jasper National Park.
- Climate change and invasive species are the main sources of cumulative effects on wetlands. The management plan provides direction on reducing knowledge gaps and protecting sensitive habitats. The management plan is expected to maintain the condition of wetlands in Jasper National Park.
- Forest vegetation
- The main sources of cumulative effects on forests are fire suppression, insect and disease, and climate change. Building on existing tools and knowledge, a vegetation resource inventory will improve the understanding of the extent of landscape-level changes from the mountain pine beetle infestation and will also facilitate evidence-based management decisions. By using fire strategically to protect key habitat, forest vegetation can improve. Regular invasive and alien plant species monitoring will inform where efforts should be focused to achieve ecological integrity goals.
- Montane grasslands and dunes
- Could be further impacted by climate change and by maintenance and operations of existing highway and utility infrastructure. The management plan includes a suite of targets to limit new disturbance in the montane, including inventories, monitoring, finalizing the Jasper National Park Vegetation Management Strategy and identifying restoration targets for priority habitats Improved vegetation mapping will help ensure impacts on montane habitats are minimized during project-level impact assessments. The management plan directions are expected to maintain montane grassland and dunes in the park.
- Alpine habitat
- Climate change and visitation are the primary cumulative effects impacting alpine habitats. The management plan aims to promote visitor stewardship behaviour and is not expected to contribute additional negative cumulative effects on alpine habitats.
- Whitebark pine
- The main sources of cumulative effects on whitebark pine include white pine blister rust, climate change and wildfires. The management plan, the Recovery Strategy and Jasper’s Multi-Species Action Plan have collectively addressed the main threats to whitebark pine inside the park and provide the best efforts for recovery.
- Terrestrial birds
- Climate change is the primary stressor for terrestrial birds. Updating and implementing the Multi-Species Action Plan will improve resilience for bird species that are particularly susceptible to climate change. The management plan is expected to support the landscape conditions needed to maintain the status of terrestrial birds in the park.
- Human-wildlife conflict
- High levels of road and rail traffic, a variety of natural and artificial attractants, and increasing visitation have the potential to contribute to cumulative effects on carnivore mortality and human-wildlife conflict. The management plan provides direction to proactively and reactively manage these sources of wildlife stress and mortality, and aims to restore more natural wildlife behaviours and distributions.
- The main sources of cumulative effects on carnivore connectivity are the existing roads, highways and rail line, visitation, trails and infrastructure. Management plan objectives include approaches to increase connectivity within and across park boundaries where land use pressures and climate change may impact transboundary wildlife populations and natural processes.
- Carnivore habitat
- Increases in visitation and climate change will impact carnivore habitat security. The management plan provides direction for visitor use management which will ensure habitat security is maintained.
- Woodland caribou
- Two of the remaining three herds are facing extirpation in the park. Regional activities, activities within the park, predation and climate change all contribute to cumulative effects experienced by caribou. Following the direction provided by the Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population (Rangifer tarandus caribou) in Canada (Environment Canada 2014), the management plan includes a number of actions to address these effects. Parks Canada will make a decision about pursuing conservation breeding and herd augmentation. The management plan is not expected to cause important negative effects to caribou.
- Mountain goats
- The management plan is not expected to cause additional negative cumulative effects on mountain goats, which generally use well-defined ranges. Mitigation measures for mountain goats are best addressed through park operations and project-level impact assessments for future initiatives.
Jasper National Park is part of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage site. The world heritage values for which it was designated were evaluated to ensure the management plan adequately protects them.
The management plan will result in many positive impacts on the environment, including to maintain or restore natural wildlife distribution, abundance, and behaviour; ensuring visitor experience protects the parks ecological resource; and preventing the establishment of invasive species and diseases.
Indigenous partners, stakeholders and the public will be consulted on the draft management plan and summary of the draft strategic environmental assessment. Feedback will be considered and incorporated into the strategic environmental assessment and management plan as appropriate.
The strategic environmental assessment was conducted in accordance with The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals (2010) and facilitated an evaluation of how the management plan contributed to the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy. Individual projects undertaken to implement management plan objectives at the site will be evaluated to determine if an impact assessment is required under the Impact Assessment Act, or successor legislation. The management plan supports the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy goals of Greening Government, Sustainably Managed Lands and Forests, Healthy Wildlife Populations, Connecting Canadians with Nature, and Safe and Healthy Communities.
Many positive environmental effects are expected and there are no important negative environmental effects anticipated from implementation of the Jasper National Park Management Plan.
Appendix A: Grizzly bear management units
Grizzly bears are widely accepted as an indication of health and diversity of mountain ecosystems. They require large areas of secure habitat in order to thrive. Research has shown that wary grizzly bears will avoid areas within 500m of high use human trails or development. This distance is used to calculate ‘grizzly bear habitat security’. If the proportion of a grizzly bear management unit that is at least 500m from high human use is greater than 68%, then that unit is considered to be secure (management units are approximately the size of a female grizzly bear’s home range). Secure grizzly bear habitat is also used as a proxy for ensuring secure habitat for other wary wildlife, such as wolverine and caribou.
As outlined in Objective 1.1 of this management plan, Jasper National Park aims to maintain or improve grizzly bear habitat security within each bear management unit. The threshold for security is 68%. The Three Valley Confluence unit is below the accepted threshold of 68%, however the current level of development in this unit makes achieving 68% difficult. Each unit in the map below is labelled with the proportion by area that is secure.
Map 6: Grizzly bear management units in Jasper National Park — Text version
A map showing the park divided into 33 areas, with each labelled by the percentage of that area which is considered to be secure grizzly bear habitat.
26 areas of the park are over 78% secure, meaning they have high ecological integrity. Six areas of the park are between 68 and 78% secure and are listed as ‘of concern’. These areas are around the Tonquin and Fryatt Valleys, Highway 93 from Highway 16 to Athabasca Falls, Highway 16 East, along the Icefields Parkway near the Banff boundary, and the South Boundary trail area.
The Three Valley Confluence unit, encompassing the Community of Jasper, is the only impaired area at 54.1%.