JASPER, Alta. — Parks Canada has declined a proposal by the Jasper, Alta.-based Maligne Tours Ltd. to construct a 66-room heritage-themed hotel on the shores of Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. The proposed hotel would have sat in the habitat of several threatened species, including grizzly bears, harlequin ducks and mountain caribou.
“Parks Canada supports the National Conservation Plan by conserving and protecting Canada’s special places and connecting Canadians to nature,” said Greg Fenton, field unit superintendent at Jasper National Park. “Today’s decision reflects our pledge to ensure our protected natural and cultural heritage remain unimpaired for future generations, while facilitating ways for people to meaningfully connect with and learn about nature.”
The Alberta Wilderness Association applauds this decision. “It is reassuring to see that Parks Canada has listened to Canadians who have clearly said they do not support large-scale developments in critical wildlife habitat,” said Sean Nichols, a conservation specialist with the Alberta Wilderness Association in Calgary.
Though the hotel proposal was rejected, Parks Canada did approve 13 of the 14 elements of the Maligne Tours’ concept for redevelopment for further consideration, including tent cabins, expanded retail and concession outlets in the existing day-use lodge, themed exhibits, an exploratory maze and water taxi service. Each element will be subject to an environmental impact assessment and public and Aboriginal review prior to final approval.
Maligne Tours has offered visitor services at Maligne Lake since 1953, including island cruises, fishing excursions, whitewater rafting, hiking and snowshoeing.