Skip to content

The people have spoken...

Often in this space, we have commented on how clarity and public consultation in relation to official goings-on has many benefits.

Often in this space, we have commented on how clarity and public consultation in relation to official goings-on has many benefits.

With clarity and consultation, various groups can find themselves on the same page, approaching a difficult decision with all information made equally available to all parties. With clarity and consultation, there typically are no surprises as discussions move in and around a topic of debate.

The thing is, once a public body, for example, has embraced clarity and consultation, then ideas, policies and pros and cons raised must be acted upon.

In Tuesday night’s (April 12) federal election televised debate, even Stephen Harper, the man who would rule a majority government, claimed his Conservative party has gone to great lengths with the public consultation process.

Which is all well and good.

However, as with a recent move by Parks Canada in relation to new and improved special events being unleashed on the touring public, unless a public consultation process is acted upon, the process doesn’t mean much. There has to be follow through.

After the federal government announced national policy direction that would allow new recreational activities in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas in an effort to increase visitation, public input was gathered as to Banff’s management plan.

Refreshingly, thanks to an internal letter coming to light from Superintendent Kevin Van Tighem to his superiors, it appears what Canadians love most about Banff National Park is its wildlife, breathtaking beauty, history and wilderness.

What Canadians are less thrilled about, it turns out, and also according to Van Tighem’s letter, is the possiblity of thrill-seeker additions like ziplines, via ferrata, hang-gliding, etc., becoming fixtures of the BNP landscape.

Alternatively, as Van Tighem pointed out in his letter to higher ups, including head man Alan Latourelle, Canadians are concerned about crowding and commercialization and that these sorts of initiatives risk pushing some of our ecological integrity accomplishments backwards.

Fortunately, those concerns, despite being largely ignored by Parks, fall nicely within Parks’ own mandate as posted on their website ( and in promotional materials – National parks are among Canada’s – and the world’s – natural jewels. They represent the power of Canada’s natural environment – a compelling force – which has shaped not only the geography of this country, but also the course of its history and the experiences of the people who live and travel here.

Parks Canada is responsible for both protecting the ecosystems of these magnificent natural areas and managing them for visitors to understand, appreciate, and enjoy in a way that doesn’t compromise their integrity.

RMO would like to commend Van Tighem for stepping up in defence of his park’s natural wonders by pointing out to Latourelle et al., that, while there has been public outrage concerning the possibility of allowing man-made attractions to take hold, there is no support at all except by a few interested parties who could turn a buck with said attractions.

Being that there appears to be little to no support for man-made thrills, we support Van Tighem’s suggestion that perhaps what’s needed in the ‘The World’s Finest National Park’ (we’re still wondering what study/poll/competition resulted in that title) is more effective promotion of what BNP really offers.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

About the Author: Rocky Mountain Outlook

The Rocky Mountain Outlook is Bow Valley's No. 1 source for local news and events.
Read more


push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks