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New plan for Parks dollars

Editor: The Jan.


The Jan. 5 letter ‘Development like a bad movie’ by Alan MacFayden contains many interesting future commercial concepts (did he find the master plan?) for entertainment companies like Arizona’s VIAD/Brewster to chew on while they plan their next conquest in the Parks after successfully cashing in with that amazing ‘Glacier Discovery Walk’ project now underway in their minds.

Believe it, this project, in due time, will be recognized as one of the most glamorous schemes ever dreamt up to beautify a perfectly ugly natural bunch of elephantine rocks in a national park. It will be so striking no one will blink an eye when the slick cunning dudes behind it all charge their clients to gawk out over Sunwapta Valley – something presently available free of charge. Don’t worry, buses will be ATM equipped, and at least one of the armoured cars will have a portable teller on a trailer near the entrance.

Closer to headquarters, imagine dual gleaming skid resistant stainless steel ramps tonguing out over Bow Falls minimizing risk to life or limb while positioning for that unique shot of the foamy devil below for the merry folks back in ancient Britain or the land of the Rising Sun.

Or the paved toll road with solar stop lights on the Athabasca Icefield accessing the Calatrava-designed suspension bridge spanning the glacier. Or the multitudes of brown steel towers c/w toilets, and wi-fi built in, eventually rising like giant iron leaches along the shores of Hector, Bow, Peyto, Chephren,and Waterfowl lakes, providing the wide-eyed, camera-laden hoard with that one of a kind shot of these wonders of the Rockies as the blood red sun peeps over surounding icy peaks soon to be a routine knock-off (thanks via ferrata) for folks in their 90s.

Even the rows and rows of Brewster buses lined up so smartly polished (would not ol’ Jimmy be proud?) could be seen as a pretty keen photo opportunity in itself, with normally dozed off drivers charging a teeny propina to have their picture taken in front of their stinky rigs, topping up the jar by the steps.

Opportunities are limitless.

Recently, while sitting around waiting to get a picture of the first of the bulldozers and cranes to start smoking trees over at Sunwapta I had a vision, which quite likely could trump everything else ever concocted to squeeze a buck out of Parks’ natural vista. It will positively be the largest moneymaker ever to assail these terribly neglected and underdeveloped areas and I vow all funds (after I pay off the cliff house in Portugal) raised by my plan will be ‘dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment...’ I guarantee this unequivocally.

First: The benefit (and this is big). Starting on the home front, Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper will no longer have to fret over hair brained schemes to raise revenues that will scare off the last of the domestics arriving on their shores by charging for things like docking the sloop while shopping for trinkets they can buy back home, at the dollar store, for half the price.

My clever scheme (dare I say) will fix all these woes. The education part will be contained in a letter, addressed to the household vehicle owner, seven to 10 days after the weaving and bobbing through the park gates occurred. The enjoyment part – the race from place to place and all those fantastic pictures and memories – will come flooding back, with the opening of the brown envelope.

If my plan takes off, and my market study and observations are on target, visitors using their smarts while planning their visit could probably scoot over my proposed ‘Circletour’ route in one day, maybe quadrupling the cost of the photo radar tickets (contained in that brown envelope) which is their contribution to the cause for travelling 20, 30 and 40km/h over the speed limit in the park.

Unbeknownst to most folks, Canada’s national parks are fragile, under-funded and special places where the speed limit is set at 90 km/h (which almost no one pays any attention to) for the ‘protection and enjoyment’ of all the stuff old hippies like me treasure so much, and which is being commercialized, abused and burned up quicker than a few of us like.

If you enjoyed your blast through the park, please tell all your friends – your patronage is appreciated and priceless.

Alvin Shier


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