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Archive - Jasper National Park newsletters

Caribou
Newsletter date Details
September 22, 2023

External link: Caribou Recovery Program Snapshot: Fall Newsletter

Plain text version

Caribou Recovery Program Snapshot: Fall Newsletter

Follow caribou recovery in Jasper National Park! Join our mailing list to receive the newsletters each season. Share with caribou-loving friends!

In this newsletter:
  • Fieldwork with Kelly Lake Cree Nation and Mountain Cree
  • Visit to the Klinse-Za maternity penning project
  • Whistlers Campground summer speaker series
  • Caribou population monitoring update
  • Deer density monitoring
  • Conservation breeding centre construction progress
  • Indigenous awareness training and plant harvesting
  • Geraldine Road information

Collaboration and engagement

Over the summer, Parks Canada met with interested Indigenous partner communities to discuss opportunities for collaboration on the conservation breeding program. Throughout the fall, there are plans for partners to come to the park for collaboration, knowledge-sharing and ceremony.

Fieldwork with Kelly Lake Cree Nation and Mountain Cree

In July, Shelley of Kelly Lake Cree Nation and Frank of Mountain Cree joined Parks Canada caribou technician Madeline to move and install wildlife cameras as part of ongoing wolf monitoring in the park.

Shelley and Frank shared stories about wildlife and plants in the area and their work to support caribou recovery in their territories. Madeline shared information about the remote camera monitoring work Parks Canada is doing.

“Working with the caribou team at Jasper National Park recognizes the need for continued collaborative efforts. We look forward to sharing recovery work measures for southern mountain caribou that our nations are doing independently with the Jasper caribou team.” - Shelley

It was a great day spent together on the land. We are excited to continue working with these nations and others on other fieldwork and learning together.

Visit to the Klinse-Za maternity penning project

The Caribou Recovery Team visited the Klinse-Za caribou maternity pen near Mackenzie, B.C. in July. The maternity pen is a partnership between the West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations and Wildlife Infometrics to reverse declines in the Klinse-Za caribou population. Maternity pens protect cows and calves from predators during calving season. The team learned about fence design, daily management of caribou and collaboration with partners. The two programs will continue to exchange information and lessons learned in the future.

Whistlers Campground summer speaker series

The Whistlers Campground summer speaker series featured caribou technician Madeline in August. An audience of around 50 visitors attended to learn about the state of caribou in the park and how biologists keep track of animals in the field. Adults and children alike had the chance to come up afterwards to test out monitoring equipment and take a closer look at photos and antlers.

Research and monitoring

Autumn is rutting season

In fall, mountain caribou gather together in larger groups for the rutting (or mating) season. Mature males round up groups of females above the tree line where it is easier to keep watch. A dominant bull spends a lot of time and energy chasing away younger competitors – these big guys barely have any time to eat or rest. When nobody backs down, they will battle it out to see who is strongest.

The rut is also an important time for Parks Canada’s monitoring program. It is easier to spot caribou when they are gathered in larger groups and with snow on the ground. Biologists take to the skies by helicopter to conduct an annual aerial survey and collect scat.

Caribou population monitoring

A new monitoring and research web page is now published on the Jasper National Park website. It features updated population estimates and information about caribou monitoring methods and research in Jasper National Park.

Despite poor survey conditions during the first round of scat collection in the fall of 2022 (no snow on the ground), we were successful in finding samples from which usable DNA could be extracted. Over the summer, we received DNA data from those samples from our partnering laboratory and analyzed the information to estimate population size.

Tonquin population estimate

A minimum of 44 individual caribou were identified by both scat DNA and the visual survey in 2022. Further analyses using all available data to estimate the Tonquin population’s size indicate there are 50 caribou (47 to 54), including an estimated 11 reproductive females (8 to 14), with a 95% confidence interval.

We collected DNA from 15 females (and observed another known female but did not get a sample of her scat). Although used primarily to inform population size, DNA findings inevitably provide other interesting results!

  • In 2022, we collected DNA from female Caribou 178 after three years of finding no samples of her scat.
  • We collected DNA from female Caribou 235 for the ninth year in a row.
  • We can estimate the minimum ages of these females because we have been collecting scat DNA for so many years. Six females are 2 to 3 years old, five are between the ages of 6 and 8, and three long-lived females are 12, 14 and 16 years old (at minimum)!

The Tonquin population has had a stable-to-increasing trend since 2015, indicating good ecological conditions within the range during these years. This is also reflected in annual average survival rates of 93% for adult females based on monitoring data. However, due in part to a high number of male calves born in 2022 (eight of ten total calves), we expect slower population growth in the coming years.

Brazeau population estimate

The Brazeau population is too small to use statistical modelling. During aerial surveys in October 2022, monitoring staff counted a minimum of two individuals as well as tracks from additional caribou. The minimum count from scat DNA for the Brazeau is four individuals, of which three are male.

Deer density monitoring

The density of deer near caribou habitat can significantly affect predator population growth. Landscape changes such as prescribed fires and wildfires create favourable habitat for species like deer, which in turn provide food for predators such as wolves and cougars.

A pilot study to monitor deer density surrounding the Jasper townsite was conducted from November 2017 to May 2018 using 36 remote cameras in random, off-trail locations in the valley. The study estimated 124 white-tailed deer and 75 mule deer in the study area. Additional remote cameras were added (for a total of 84) in winter deer ranges around Jasper townsite in 2021 to get more refined population estimates and monitor changes in deer density.

Images from the remote cameras were collected in late 2022. The cameras recorded over 1.4 million photos including more than 15,000 photos of white-tailed deer and 11,000 photos of mule deer. The images are being reviewed throughout the fall and a density estimate is expected to be available in early 2024.

Conservation breeding centre construction

Construction progress

The conservation breeding centre is starting to take shape. Concrete foundations and underground utilities for the three buildings are nearly complete. Throughout the summer, crews installed potable water reservoirs, water mains and service lines to the eventual buildings.

One of the challenges encountered this summer was finding shallow bedrock in several areas. The bedrock must be broken and excavated to ensure the water lines are buried deep enough to protect them from freezing in winter.

In September and October, the contractor will begin framing the buildings and continue to install water mains, water service lines and underground power lines. Landmark Solutions will also restart vegetation thinning and woody debris clean-up activities now that the migratory bird nesting period has closed for the year. Later in the fall, ATCO plans to begin installing a buried power line on Wabasso Road (93A) towards the breeding centre.

Indigenous awareness training

Parks Canada provided Indigenous awareness training to roughly 20 employees and contractors of Landmark Solutions and Greyback Construction working on the breeding centre construction. The training aimed to broaden their understanding of Indigenous connections to the lands that are now Jasper National Park and the importance of caribou recovery to the Indigenous partners. Several of the employees and contractors commented on how meaningful this job was to them because of the conservation purpose of the project.

Plant harvesting

During consultations in 2022, Indigenous partners requested an opportunity to harvest plants at the construction site. It is a common practice to facilitate harvesting culturally important plants before they are destroyed or disturbed by construction projects. Parks Canada and Landmark Solutions are facilitating safe access to the site so Indigenous partners from five different communities can harvest plants in September 2023.

Balancing visitor experiences

Access to the Fryatt and Geraldine Lakes trailheads was maintained throughout the summer. Trail users were safely escorted through the construction site by Landmark Solutions.

Geraldine Road closes to the public on October 1 for the winter season. The road reopens in May 2024.

For more information visit Jasper National Park’s important bulletins.

Contact us

Do you have a question or comment? Email us at caribou@pc.gc.ca.

Parks Canada is working with Indigenous partners to identify and initiate opportunities for collaboration on this exciting program! Are you an Indigenous partner with a story to share? We can work with you to include your story in an upcoming newsletter. Email us at caribou@pc.gc.ca.

July 6, 2023

External link: Caribou Recovery Program Snapshot: Summer Newsletter

Plain text version

Follow caribou recovery in Jasper National Park! This summer newsletter is the first of Parks Canada's new quarterly updates about all things caribou in Jasper National Park. Join our mailing list to receive the newsletters each season. Share with caribou-loving friends!

Collaboration and engagement

Ceremony

Bighorn Chiniki Stoney Nation conducted a pipe ceremony in March to guide the conservation breeding centre construction. We are grateful to the pipe holders for ensuring construction began in a good way.

Conversations with Indigenous partners about how they would like to collaborate on the conservation breeding program took place during the Jasper Indigenous Forum in April and will continue throughout the program.

Knowledge exchange

In May, Jasper National Park caribou biologist Lalenia Neufeld and caribou recovery program manager Jean-François Bisaillon presented at the North American Caribou Workshop in Anchorage, Alaska. They were able to share with and learn from an international group of people working together to protect and conserve caribou and other arctic ungulates.

In May and June they also visited and exchanged knowledge with colleagues from the R.G. White Large Animal Research Station at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Wildlife Service Finland’s MetsäpeuraLIFE (Wild Forest Reindeer) Program. The Large Animal Research Station is a 130-acre research facility primarily studying musk oxen and reindeer. MetsäpeuraLIFE is a program reintroducing wild forest reindeer to their native habitat in southern Finland.

Research and monitoring

Caribou population estimate

Parks Canada uses a statistical model (developed with the University of Montana) to calculate an annual population estimate for the Tonquin herd. The model combines all the data we collect to generate more accurate population information than any one method alone. Based on data in 2021, the Tonquin population is estimated to be 45 to 50 individuals. During aerial surveys in October 2022, monitoring staff counted a minimum of 44 individuals in the Tonquin caribou range, with 8 to 13 reproductive females.

The Brazeau population is too small to use statistical modelling, but we can use aerial surveys and scat DNA analysis to estimate the minimum number of animals. The Brazeau population is estimated to have fewer than 10 individuals. During aerial surveys in October 2022, monitoring staff counted a minimum of 2 individuals as well as tracks from additional caribou.

Caribou scat DNA analysis

Investigating animal scat is a great way to get useful information without bothering the animals too much. Scat was collected in the Tonquin and Brazeau caribou ranges in October 2022 and in the À la Pêche caribou range in February and March 2023.

Almost 400 scat samples were swabbed for DNA and are currently at a laboratory for analysis. The lab can identify individual caribou by analyzing their genetic makeup. Results from DNA samples collected this past fall and winter are expected back in the fall of 2023. The genetic data will then be put into statistical models to update population estimates.

Caribou mortality

Ten adult female caribou in the Tonquin population were fitted with satellite-based GPS collars in March 2021 and 2022. Newer technologies can provide quick notifications about mortalities and movements. When a caribou dies, the collar sends an instant notification to a cell phone. Monitoring staff can then go to the site to determine the cause of death.

Since deploying the GPS collars, two caribou have died. One collared female was preyed on by a cougar in August 2022. Another mortality notification was received in early May 2023. Monitoring staff quickly flew to the location, but sighting conditions were poor, and it was unsafe to land. The team returned to the carcass on foot a couple of weeks later to find clear evidence that a grizzly bear ate the caribou and cached the remains. It is uncertain but likely that the bear killed the caribou.

Wolf population density

The density of wolves near caribou habitat can have a significant effect on caribou population growth. Wolves in Jasper National Park are primarily monitored using remote cameras. Individual wolves can be identified by the colours and markings on their fur. This past winter the monitoring team reviewed images of wolves (taken between July 2021 and July 2022) from more than 110 remote cameras. Using this information, the estimated wolf density for 2021-2022 is 1.9 wolves in a 1 000 km2 area.

Over the 2022–2023 winter, there were likely eight main wolf packs using habitat in and around Jasper National Park. One female wolf in a pack close to the Brazeau caribou range was fitted with a GPS collar in January 2023. The monitoring team attempts to collar wolves each winter, but many factors make tracking and capturing wolves challenging.

Conservation breeding centre construction

Construction progress

Construction of the caribou conservation breeding centre in Jasper National Park is well underway. The majority of the centre’s 65 hectares will be forested pens for different combinations of males (bulls), females (cows), and newborns (calves).

In the spring, most of the work involved selectively removing and thinning trees and vegetation.

This will protect caribou from injury in the pens and reduce wildfire risk. About 10 hectares were cleared to prepare the areas where buildings, utilities, access roads and fences are being built.

Throughout the summer, the contractor is installing underground utilities including water, sewer and electricity. They are also beginning to construct buildings—starting with soil excavation and concrete foundations.

Indigenous participation

This spring, Indigenous businesses completed a substantial portion of the log-hauling and vegetation clean-up work on the construction project. Later in the project Indigenous businesses and community members will provide services in fence construction, carpentry and the work camp.

Parks Canada and Landmark Solutions are committed to providing subcontracting, labour and training opportunities to Indigenous partners. Progress on these commitments will be reported on in the fall newsletter.

Balancing visitor experiences

Geraldine Road has been graded and compacted to make the surface safe for public and construction traffic. Parks Canada and Landmark Solutions are working together to ensure safe access to backcountry hiking and camping at Geraldine Lakes and Fryatt Valley. A kiosk with a radio is available for motorists to request an escort through the construction zone during work hours.

For more information visit Jasper National Park’s important bulletins.

Contact us

Do you have a question or comment? Email us at caribou@pc.gc.ca.

Parks Canada is working with Indigenous partners to identify and initiate opportunities for collaboration on this exciting program! Are you an Indigenous partner with a story to share? We can work with you to include your story in an upcoming newsletter. Email us at caribou@pc.gc.ca.

May 31, 2023

External link: Caribou conservation breeding centre: Construction update

Plain text version

Caribou conservation breeding centre: Construction update

Construction of the Jasper National Park caribou conservation breeding centre began in March 2023 and is expected to be completed as early as 2025.

The groundwork for the future facility is in preliminary stages. Topsoil has been stripped from areas where utilities will be installed, and the contractor is preparing excavations to build concrete footings for the three buildings on site. Framing of the buildings will begin once foundations are completed.

Geraldine Road has been graded and compacted to fortify the surface and make it safe for public and construction traffic. Installation of deep utilities has begun, including the trenching and installation of the water supply main next to Geraldine Road, and construction of a septic field next to the future buildings. Progress on these activities will continue through the summer months.

Safety

Safety is a shared responsibility and a top priority for Parks Canada. To protect the safety of the public and workers, there is an area closure at the construction site, and public access to Geraldine Road is limited. Potential hazards include falling trees, as well as heavy equipment and vehicle traffic in the area

Construction vehicles and equipment on the Icefields Parkway (93N) and Wabasso Road (93A)

Travelers on 93N and 93A may encounter construction vehicles and equipment and are advised to drive and bike with care.

Limited access to Geraldine Road

Geraldine Road is an unpaved road used to access Fryatt and Geraldine Lakes trailheads in summer. It is typically open from mid-June to late September. High-clearance vehicles are recommended. Trailers and RVs are not permitted.

  • From June 9 to September 30, 2023, public access to Geraldine Road will be open to vehicle traffic only during working hours (typically 7 am to 7 pm). Vehicle access will be subject to restrictions and managed by the construction contractor to maintain safety. Delays are expected and work schedules are subject to change without notice. All vehicles are required to follow direction given by traffic control personnel.
  • For public safety, no pedestrian, bike, e-bike or equestrian access will be permitted on Geraldine Road during working hours (typically 7 am to 7 pm).
  • During non-working hours, Geraldine Road will be open to all users. Extra caution is required as there will be roadside hazards such as steep slopes and open excavations.
  • The Geraldine Road access restriction will occur again in 2024, from mid-June to late September.
  • A Restricted Activity Order and Area Closure Order are in place to ensure the safety of the public in areas where crews and equipment are operating.

All work is weather-dependent and construction timelines are subject to change. Always check 511.alberta.ca or dial 511 for the latest road conditions and closures.

Updates

As construction proceeds, updates will be shared to the Jasper National Park subscription mailing list and on the Jasper National Park website.

Plan ahead

Road conditions, traffic information and updates:

  • 511.alberta.ca or dial 511 (Alberta)
  • Seasonal road updates (Parks Canada)

Jasper National Park trail conditions, warnings and closures:

  • Trail conditions
  • Important bulletins
Learn more about Jasper National Park’s caribou recovery program

Parks Canada, in collaboration with partners, is working to protect and recover caribou in Jasper National Park. The Government of Canada’s investment in Parks Canada’s caribou conservation breeding program aims to restore caribou populations in Jasper National Park and support Canada’s biodiversity goals.

Media Relations

Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

March 9, 2023

External link: Caribou conservation breeding centre update - Construction along Geraldine Road to begin soon in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Caribou conservation breeding centre update - Construction along Geraldine Road to begin soon in Jasper National Park

Parks Canada recently announced plans to build a conservation breeding centre for caribou in Jasper National Park. Following a public tendering process, Landmark Solutions has been awarded the contract to construct the 65-hectare conservation breeding centre over the next several years.

The future conservation breeding centre will be located about 30 km south of the Jasper townsite. It is being constructed along Geraldine Road, a seasonal road used by people visiting the Fryatt Valley and Geraldine Lakes area, which is accessible from Wabasso Road (93A). Athabasca Falls is located a few kilometres south of the site.

The next steps in the construction project include staking out the building plans at the site, clearing vegetation and removing hazardous trees. Removing dead and dying pine trees, most of which were affected by mountain pine beetle, is critical to protecting caribou from injury within the pens and from the risk of wildfire.

What to expect

Safety is a shared responsibility and a top priority for Parks Canada. To protect the safety of the public and workers, an area closure at the construction site will be in place and public access to Geraldine Road will be limited. Potential hazards include falling trees, heavy equipment and vehicle traffic in the area.

Limited access to Geraldine Road

Geraldine Road is an unpaved road used to access Fryatt and Geraldine Lakes trailheads in summer. It is typically open from mid-June to late September. High-clearance vehicles are recommended. Trailers and RVs are not permitted.

  • Construction activities could start as early as March 13, 2023. Once construction starts, Geraldine Road will be closed to all public access until mid-June 2023.
  • From mid-June to late September in 2023 and 2024, public access to Geraldine Road will be open to vehicle traffic only. Vehicle access will be subject to restrictions and managed by the construction contractor to maintain safety. Delays are expected. For public safety, no pedestrian or bike access will be permitted on the road during this period.
  • Fryatt Trail is accessible from Athabasca Falls using snowshoes or skis on the user-set Athabasca River winter route until the ground thaws in spring. Fryatt and Geraldine Lakes trailheads will be accessible by vehicle from mid-June to late September.

Construction vehicles and equipment on the Icefields Parkway (93N) and Wabasso Road (93A)

Travelers on 93N and 93A may encounter construction vehicles and equipment and are advised to drive and bike with care.

Visible smoke along Wabasso Road (93A) and near Athabasca Falls

Contractors will be clearing and selectively removing trees from the construction site. The resulting debris piles will be burned. Controlled burning will only be permitted on days when conditions are safe. There is no need to call 911 or emergency services to report smoke.

Regular updates

Updates will be shared to the Jasper National Park subscription mailing list and on the Jasper National Park website as more information becomes available.

All work is weather-dependent and construction timelines are subject to change. Always check 511.alberta.ca or dial 511 for the latest road conditions and closures. Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

Plan ahead

Road conditions, traffic information and updates:

  • 511.alberta.ca or dial 511 (Alberta)
  • Seasonal road updates (Parks Canada)

Jasper National Park trail conditions, warnings and closures:

  • Trail conditions
  • Important bulletins
Learn more about Jasper National Park’s caribou recovery program

Parks Canada, in collaboration with partners, is working to protect and recover caribou in Jasper National Park. The Government of Canada’s investment in Parks Canada’s caribou conservation breeding program aims to restore caribou populations in Jasper National Park and support Canada’s biodiversity goals.

Media Relations

Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

February 27, 2023

External link: Government of Canada invests in reversing biodiversity loss through conservation breeding program for caribou in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Government of Canada invests in reversing biodiversity loss through conservation breeding program for caribou in Jasper National Park

First-in-Canada caribou breeding program in Jasper National Park has the potential to restore caribou populations and support Canada’s biodiversity goals

The protection and recovery of species at risk across the country is an important part of our shared natural and cultural heritage. At COP15 last December in Montreal, the Government of Canada joined the world in recommitting to halting and reversing biodiversity loss.

Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced plans to move forward on a new caribou conservation breeding program to support southern mountain caribou recovery in Jasper National Park. The program’s goal is to rebuild dwindling caribou populations in Jasper National Park that are too small to recover on their own.

As a result of today’s announcement, Parks Canada is taking the first steps toward implementing this first-of-its-kind caribou conservation breeding program. Steps include constructing a breeding facility in Jasper National Park, establishing collaboration agreements with Indigenous partners, continuing discussions with federal and provincial partners to determine the best approach to source additional caribou from other populations, and developing more detailed operational plans to ensure the health and wellbeing of animals involved in the program. Each aspect of the program strives to work collaboratively with Indigenous peoples. Indigenous partners have been and will continue to be involved in this conservation effort.

Parks Canada considered comprehensive research and consultation before deciding to move forward with the conservation breeding program. Guidance from experts in caribou ecology and conservation breeding, discussions with provincial jurisdictions, feedback from Indigenous partners, stakeholder and public consultations and a detailed impact assessment informed this decision.

Efforts to protect caribou and critical habitat for caribou in Jasper National Park are part of a broader effort by federal and provincial governments and Indigenous partners, peoples and communities to support the recovery of caribou across Canada.

Quotes

“Every child in Canada can recognize a caribou from the iconic image engraved on our 25-cent coins. Preserving this species is an important aspect of our shared cultural and natural heritage in Canada. Moving forward with the next steps on the caribou breeding program in Jasper National Park will include the construction of a breeding facility and further collaboration with Indigenous partners and other federal and provincial partners. This initiative supports the Government of Canada’s commitments to halting and reversing biodiversity loss, protecting species at risk and supporting a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples. It is critical in the protection and recovery of this beloved and culturally significant species at risk.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

“This investment in the protection of the Caribou is not only critical to the ecological integrity of Jasper National Park, but also for future visitors to our national parks across Canada. Restoring the caribou herds to Canada’s mountain landscapes will create opportunities for Canadians and visitors from around the world to learn and experience the ecological and cultural importance of this species at risk.”

The Honourable Randy Boissonnault
Minister of Tourism, Associate Minister of Finance and Member of Parliament for Edmonton Centre

“The Government of Canada is committed to fighting biodiversity loss and without intervention, the Brazeau and Tonquin caribou will disappear. We can only achieve this goal by working together, and it’s why our government supports on-the-ground initiatives for species at risk protection across the country.”

Terry Duguid
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Information

News release: Government of Canada invests in reversing biodiversity loss through conservation breeding program for caribou in Jasper National Park - Canada.ca

Jasper National Park: parks.canada.ca/caribou-jasper

Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environme
nt and Climate Change
819-230-1557 kaitlin.power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Parks Canada
1-855-862-1812
pc.media@pc.gc.ca

December 21, 2022

External link: Coming soon: What we heard during consultation on Jasper National Park’s proposed conservation breeding program and a decision in early 2023

Plain text version

Coming soon: What we heard during consultation on Jasper National Park’s proposed conservation breeding program and a decision in early 2023

Parks Canada is proposing a conservation breeding strategy to rebuild caribou populations in Jasper National Park. This proposed program is supported through the Government of Canada’s Nature Legacy investment.

In the spring and summer of 2022, Parks Canada formally consulted on the proposed conservation breeding program and a draft detailed impact assessment of the proposal. Indigenous and government partners, stakeholders and the public were invited to learn about the proposed program and to share their feedback through meetings (both virtual and in-person), in writing, online and through the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry. Parks Canada received a significant amount of feedback on the draft proposal and detailed impact assessment.

The questions, concerns and recommendations received during consultations have been summarized, analyzed and used to revise and strengthen the program proposal and detailed impact assessment. Whether an idea was expressed once or multiple times, Parks Canada considered each piece of feedback on an individual basis.

Combined with previous research and analysis, all feedback from consultations and a revised impact assessment will be used as the basis for Parks Canada’s decision on whether or not to proceed with the proposed conservation breeding program in Jasper National Park.

Although formal consultations on the proposed conservation breeding program and impact assessment have ended, Parks Canada will continue to engage and work together with Indigenous and government partners, stakeholders and the public on caribou recovery in Jasper National Park.

Parks Canada thanks all those who took the time to share their comments, concerns, ideas and connection to caribou in Jasper National Park.

Coming in 2023

A “what we heard” report summarizing all consultation feedback will be published online in January 2023. Information regarding whether or not Parks Canada will proceed with the caribou conservation breeding program will be made public in early 2023.

Visit parkscanada.gc.ca/caribou-jasper to learn the reasons caribou have declined in the national park, the steps Parks Canada has taken to reduce threats to caribou, and the proposal Parks Canada has for supporting caribou recovery.

Contact

Caribou Recovery Program
Jasper National Park
Email: caribou@pc.gc.ca

October 26, 2022

External link: Reminder: Seasonal closures for caribou conservation take effect November 1

Plain text version

Reminder: Seasonal closures for caribou conservation take effect November 1

Seasonal closures in the Tonquin, Brazeau, and À la Pêche caribou ranges of Jasper National Park take effect from November 1, 2022, through to May 15, 2023.

In Jasper National Park, caribou and their habitat are protected under Canada’s National Parks Act and Species at Risk Act.

Closing critical habitat for caribou in winter prevents the creation of packed snow trails from the valley bottom to high-elevation areas. In winter, caribou are protected from predators by their high-elevation habitat, where the snow is too deep for wolves to move around without sinking. Research shows that trails packed by snowmobiles, backcountry skiers, snowboarders and snowshoers can lead wolves to prey on caribou in the very places caribou go to avoid predators.

For maps of the seasonal closure areas, visit our website at parkscanada.ca/caribou-winter-access.

The Tonquin, Brazeau, and North Boundary areas reopen to backcountry recreation between May 16 and October 31.

Parks Canada, in collaboration with partners, is working to protect and recover caribou in Jasper National Park

The number of caribou in the Tonquin and Brazeau herds is very low. Although their population has stabilized since 2015 and is no longer in a steep decline, their ongoing survival is precarious and could change quickly. When caribou herds get too small, the herds become more vulnerable to natural threats such as predators, disease, and accidents.

Parks Canada is currently assessing comments received from Indigenous partners, stakeholders and the public on a proposed conservation breeding strategy to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park. A final decision on proceeding with the caribou conservation breeding proposal is expected in 2022.

Seasonal closures in winter caribou habitat will remain in place whether or not the proposed conservation breeding program moves forward. While no new long-term closures related to caribou conservation are planned, there may be occasional, temporary or short-term closures.

For more information about Parks Canada’s conservation breeding proposal, visit our website at parkscanada.gc.ca/caribou-jasper.

Contact

Caribou Recovery Program
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-883-0391
Email: caribou@pc.gc.ca

October 20, 2022

External link: Your input matters: Comment on caribou recovery in Jasper – now online

Plain text version

Your input matters: Comment on caribou recovery in Jasper – now online

Parks Canada is currently seeking feedback from all Canadians on a proposed conservation breeding strategy to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park.

A final decision on whether to proceed with a caribou conservation breeding program is expected in fall 2022.

Visit parkscanada.gc.ca/caribou-jasper to learn the reasons caribou have declined in the national park, the steps Parks Canada has taken to reduce threats to caribou, and the proposal Parks Canada has for supporting caribou recovery.

Parks Canada wants to hear from you!

After reviewing information about the proposed caribou conservation breeding program, send questions, comments and concerns by:

  • filling out the feedback form online or
  • emailing caribou@pc.gc.ca.
  • Parks Canada will accept public comments on the proposal until September 2, 2022.
Information

Website: parkscanada.gc.ca/caribou-jasper
Email: caribou@pc.gc.ca

Media inquiries

Public Relations and Communications
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca
Telephone: 780-852-6109

October 8, 2022

External link: Changes to seasonal closures in the Tonquin Valley and other caribou ranges in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Changes to seasonal closures in the Tonquin Valley and other caribou ranges in Jasper National Park

October 8, 2021

Parks Canada is a recognized leader in conservation and takes actions to protect and contribute to the recovery of southern mountain caribou.

Without action, the only two caribou herds remaining entirely within Jasper will disappear. Parks Canada is focusing our efforts where they can make the most difference – in the Tonquin and Brazeau herds.

It is important to increase our efforts to protect caribou in the Tonquin and Brazeau caribou ranges and to maintain the ecological conditions needed to support a potential conservation breeding program. New conservation actions include extending the seasonal closure in the Tonquin Valley from November 1 to May 15 and discontinuing private horse use in the Tonquin Valley.

Changes to seasonal closures in the Tonquin Valley and other caribou ranges

This year, seasonal closures in the Tonquin, Brazeau, and À La Pêche caribou ranges of Jasper National Park again take effect on November 1 but will remain in place later than previous years. Access to these backcountry areas in critical habitat for caribou will be prohibited between November 1, 2021, and May 15, 2022.

In addition to extending the dates of the seasonal closures in all occupied caribou ranges, there are changes to the closure boundaries in the Maligne and Brazeau caribou ranges:

  • In the Brazeau caribou range, boundaries will be expanded on the west side of Highway 93 (in the Winston Churchill mountain range) to include areas where caribou have been observed in surveys and on remote cameras over the past five years.
  • The Maligne caribou range will have no access restrictions because there is no evidence that caribou remain in the Maligne herd. If caribou are observed in the Maligne caribou range in the future, the closure will be reassessed and reinstated if appropriate. Critical habitat for caribou in the Maligne range remains protected under the Canada National Parks Act and Species at Risk Act. The northern portion of the Brazeau caribou range that was historically used by both Maligne and Brazeau herds remains closed.

For a full description of the closure areas and to view detailed maps of the seasonal closures please visit: parkscanada.gc.ca/caribou-winter-access

These new measures represent stronger protection for the Tonquin and Brazeau herds and increase the likelihood of successfully rebuilding caribou herds in Jasper National Park.

This year’s changes to seasonal closures for caribou are based on ongoing research and monitoring by Parks Canada and recommendations from a scientific review of Parks Canada’s conservation breeding proposal in January 2021.

Budget 2021 made over $24 million available through the Nature Legacy program for caribou conservation in Jasper National Park. Following consultation and completion of an impact assessment, Parks Canada will decide whether or not to move forward with building a conservation breeding facility in Jasper National Park. If built, young animals born in the facility would be released into the wild Tonquin herd.

Background

Parks Canada has a responsibility to protect critical habitat for caribou under the Species at Risk Act. Seasonal closures and access restrictions are just one way that Parks Canada is protecting caribou.

Closing critical habitat for caribou in winter prevents the development of packed trails into high elevation caribou habitat.

Research shows that trails packed by backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers from the valley bottom to high elevation areas can lead wolves to prey on caribou in the very places caribou go to avoid predators.

Parks Canada continually reviews and evaluates conservation measures to adapt to changing conditions using the best available information and science.

While Parks Canada has taken steps to reduce many of the threats to caribou and create better conditions for their survival and recovery, populations are now so small that they cannot recover on their own. When caribou herds get too small, the herds become more vulnerable to natural threats such as predators, disease, and accidents.

The current predation risk to caribou from wolves is low, but wolf distribution can change quickly and have large impacts on small caribou herds in a very short time. For example, until this summer, Parks Canada had not documented wolves entering caribou habitat at high elevations at any time of year since 2016. However, GPS collars on the Sunwapta wolf pack showed the pack spending time in the Tonquin caribou range in August and September 2021.

Caribou numbers are low and their survival is precarious. Losing any of the few female caribou left in the Tonquin and Brazeau herds is one step closer to local extinction.

Current conditions in Jasper National Park support rebuilding caribou populations.

Jasper National Park has abundant habitat for caribou and ecological conditions are favourable to support caribou recovery. Using information gathered from sightings, surveys, and GPS collars, we have confirmed that there are at least 9 females in the Tonquin herd. We have also confirmed that three of these females are with calves born this spring, and there are likely four more pairings of cows and calves. This is a good indication that the Tonquin caribou are doing well despite their low numbers.

This fall, Parks Canada will continue to find out more about the Tonquin and Brazeau herds when we collect remote camera images from the last several months and conduct annual aerial surveys in October.

The long-term recovery of caribou in Jasper National Park requires a collaborative effort between Parks Canada, provincial governments, Indigenous peoples, and park users. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, nor is there one approach guaranteed to restore nature’s balance. Continued caribou monitoring and research will guide how Parks Canada adapts its conservation measures, based on changing ecological conditions and threats to caribou survival and recovery.

Information

To learn more about caribou in Jasper National Park:

Visit parkscanada.ca/caribou-jasper
Email caribou@pc.gc.ca
Join our mailing list to receive information about the caribou conservation program in Jasper National Park, including research, monitoring, conservation breeding, and consultation. Sign up on our website at parkscanada.gc.ca/jasper-mailing-list.

Media Inquiries

Neil McInnis
External Relations Manager
Tel: 780-883-0481
Email: neil.mcinnis@pc.gc.ca

August 10, 2021

External link: Government of Canada making additional investments to support the recovery of woodland caribou in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Government of Canada making additional investments to support the recovery of woodland caribou in Jasper National Park

News release: www.canada.ca/en/parks-canada/news/2021/08/government-of-canada-making-additional-investments-to-support-the-recovery-of-woodland-caribou-in-jasper-national-park.html

August 10, 2021

The Government of Canada is committed to protecting biodiversity conservation and undertakes important initiatives to assist species at risk recovery and ensure that these species remain an important part of our shared natural and cultural heritage.

Today, the Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, announced plans to move forward on new and additional measures to support woodland caribou recovery in Jasper National Park. Budget 2021 has made over $24 million available through the Nature Legacy program for caribou conservation initiatives in the park.

Parks Canada wildlife specialists have been working for many years to protect habitat and support the recovery of woodland caribou herds in Jasper National Park. These specialists have collaborated with experts from universities, provincial governments, and conservation groups to explore additional measures that can help to support woodland caribou recovery. One of these is a proposal for a conservation breeding program to help rebuild caribou populations as part of the broader Multi-Species Action Plan for Jasper National Park.

As a result of today’s announced funding, Parks Canada will move forward on several fronts, including advancing detailed design work for a conservation breeding facility which will allow Parks Canada to inform the impact assessment process. Ecological integrity is Parks Canada’s first priority. Impact assessments are used to manage the impact of infrastructure projects and, when possible, increase ecological gains for park ecosystems.

Plans are also being finalized for consultation on the initiative with Indigenous partners and the general public beginning as early as fall 2021. If approved following consultation and completion of the impact assessment process, the conservation breeding facility would be built nearby in favourable caribou habitat, south of the Jasper townsite.

Parks Canada is committed to continuing to involve Indigenous peoples early and in the planning stages of the proposed conservation breeding program and to facilitating ceremonies throughout the process. Moving forward, Parks Canada will work with Indigenous partner communities to formally review the proposal and will consult Indigenous peoples about how to incorporate traditional knowledge and Indigenous ways of knowing into the proposed conservation breeding program in Jasper National Park.

Efforts to protect caribou and critical caribou habitat in Jasper National Park are part of a broader effort by federal and provincial governments as well as Indigenous partners, peoples and communities to support the recovery of woodland caribou across Canada.

Quote

“The woodland caribou is an iconic species that is an important part of the natural and cultural history of Canada. Through this important initiative, the Government of Canada is moving forward with concrete action to assist the species in its recovery within the boundaries of Jasper National Park – a special protected place that provides the best scenario for a successful conservation effort. This funding will support Parks Canada to take further action to protect ecological integrity and contribute to the recovery of species at risk.”

The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Information

News release: www.canada.ca/en/parks-canada/news/2021/08/government-of-canada-making-additional-investments-to-support-the-recovery-of-woodland-caribou-in-jasper-national-park.html

Jasper National Park: parkscanada.gc.ca/caribou-jasper

Contacts

Joanna Sivasankaran
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-790-1907
joanna.sivasankaran@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency
855-862-1812
pc.medias-media.pc@canada.ca

Amélie Rivera
Public Relations and Communications Officer
Jasper National Park
780-883-0020
amelie.rivera@canada.ca

May 6, 2021

External link: Update on caribou conservation in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Parks Canada is focused on long-term caribou recovery in Jasper National Park

Jasper National Park is fortunate to be home to one of Canada’s most iconic wildlife species, the woodland caribou. Caribou that live in Jasper National Park are part of a subset of woodland caribou herds called southern mountain caribou. Many of these herds have been getting smaller over the last several decades and both the Maligne herd and Banff herd have disappeared.

Caribou continue to persist in small numbers in the Tonquin and Brazeau herds of Jasper National Park, and in larger numbers in the À La Pêche herd on Jasper’s northern boundary.

An ongoing conservation program has helped to identify and reduce threats to this species-at-risk. Parks Canada is implementing actions set out in the Multi-Species Action Plan for Jasper National Park (2017) to support caribou conservation and recovery. Parks Canada is using the best science available to make evidence-based decisions about the actions that will most benefit caribou.

Caribou recovery in Canada requires diverse actions that will vary according to local populations' habitat conditions and status

Efforts to protect caribou and critical caribou habitat in Jasper National Park are part of a broader effort by federal and provincial governments as well as Indigenous partners, peoples and communities to support the recovery of woodland caribou across Canada.

In 2020, the Government of Canada reached agreements for the protection of southern mountain caribou with the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations of British Columbia, and with the Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.

Parks Canada is committed to building strong and mutually beneficial working relationships with Indigenous peoples. Jasper National Park is located in Treaty 6 and Treaty 8 territories, as well as the traditional territories of the Beaver, Cree, Ojibway, Shuswap, Stoney and Métis.

More than twenty Indigenous communities, representing six unique linguistic and cultural groups, have a historical connection to Jasper National Park including First Nation, non-Status, and Métis groups in Alberta and British Columbia. Together, we address common interests and work on achieving common goals that support healing and reconnecting to the land.

Parks Canada is working with Indigenous peoples, provinces and territories to protect, manage, and recover caribou across the country, including in Jasper National Park. Recovery actions for caribou in Jasper are guided by the Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population (2014) and the Multi-Species Action Plan for Jasper National Park (2017), both of which were developed in cooperation with Indigenous partners, local and regional stakeholders, and provincial and federal agencies.

Critical caribou habitat throughout Jasper National Park is protected under the Canada National Parks Act and Species at Risk Act

Critical habitat for Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population is identified within the Recovery Strategy for the Woodland Caribou, Southern Mountain population in Canada (2014).

Environment and Climate Change Canada is currently leading a process to update this Recovery Strategy to better include Indigenous Knowledge and language, and to clarify the identification of critical habitat (including the development of more fine-scale maps).

Parks Canada has mapped and protects the different types of critical habitat in Jasper National Park that are identified within the Recovery Strategy. This includes the core ranges that caribou use and surrounding habitat, called matrix ranges, where changes to predator and prey species like wolves, deer, elk, and moose have important influences on caribou.

Parks Canada is collaborating with Environment and Climate Change Canada to include these fine-scale maps of the critical habitat that is protected in Jasper National Park in the upcoming amended Recovery Strategy.

There is strong scientific support for using conservation breeding to rebuild caribou populations in Jasper National Park

Working with partners and experts, Parks Canada has developed a proposal to rebuild the Tonquin and Brazeau caribou herds, and eventually the Maligne herd, in Jasper National Park through conservation breeding.

In January 2021, Parks Canada hosted a virtual workshop to review the scientific evidence that Parks Canada had developed towards conservation breeding in Jasper National Park, facilitated by Foundations of Success.

A group of nearly 50 specialists in caribou ecology and conservation breeding came together from academia, environmental non-governmental organizations, research institutes, international conservation organizations, zoos, and federal and provincial governments and Aseniwuche Winewak Nation, a steward community of the À La Pêche herd on Jasper’s northern boundary.

As a result of this scientific review, Parks Canada is confident that there is strong scientific support for using conservation breeding as a way to increase caribou populations in Jasper National Park.

Following the scientific review, Parks Canada is confident that:

  • without our help, the Tonquin and Brazeau herds will disappear and caribou will not return to the historic Maligne Range
  • other strategies to increase the population size of caribou herds in Jasper National Park are not likely to be effective
  • the threats that originally caused the decline of caribou populations in Jasper National Park have been reduced as a result of our conservation actions and long-term changes to elk and wolf populations in the park
  • current conditions in Jasper National Park support rebuilding caribou populations

The proposed conservation breeding program is feasible, as long as:

  • Parks Canada can secure suitable sources of wild caribou
  • predators and long-term climate changes are monitored and mitigated
  • Parks Canada continues to review conservation actions to support caribou recovery, including mitigations for winter activities in the Tonquin Valley
  • the program is adapted based on what is learned along the way

The scientific review workshop helped to identify areas that require more consideration, including:

  • where source animals will come from
  • how to give caribou the best chance of survival once they are released back into the wild
  • how to protect a conservation breeding facility from wildfire
  • how to mitigate the long-term effects of climate change

The broad support of the scientific community suggests that Parks Canada is on the right track with its measures to support caribou recovery in Jasper National Park. While science is the basis for decisions about caribou recovery, it is just one piece of a puzzle.

Parks Canada is committed to continuing to involve Indigenous peoples early and in the planning stages of the proposed conservation breeding program and facilitating ceremony throughout the process.

Moving forward, Parks Canada will work with Indigenous partner communities to:

  • formally review the conservation breeding proposal
  • consult on ways to integrate Indigenous Knowledge into the proposed conservation breeding program
  • ensure there are economic and employment opportunities throughout the construction and operation of the proposed conservation breeding program
  • ensure there are opportunities for Indigenous peoples to participate in decision-making in the program’s proposed governing committees

Parks Canada has a solid foundation to move forward with other pieces of the puzzle, including reviewing our current conservation measures, increasing monitoring of the Tonquin herd, securing suitable source animals for conservation breeding, addressing areas identified in the workshop that require more consideration, assessing the environmental impact of the project, consulting Indigenous peoples and Canadians, and refining the details of the conservation breeding and herd augmentation proposal.

Research and monitoring: How do we know what we know?

Decisions made by Parks Canada regarding caribou recovery rely on scientific evidence and are based on the knowledge that Parks Canada biologists have acquired as part of a dedicated research and monitoring program for caribou in Jasper National Park.

Jasper National Park uses a variety of methods to collect information about caribou, deer, elk, and wolves. This information helps us understand the relationships between these animals, how they use habitat in the park, and trends in their populations over time.

Populations are now too small to calculate population estimates in the Brazeau herd, but we are able to determine a minimum number for the herd based on the number of animals seen and the results from DNA genetic analysis of caribou scat.

Aerial surveys

  • Aerial surveys of caribou are done by flying over caribou habitat in a helicopter and counting the number of caribou that are spotted.
  • Biologists can collect information from this count about the minimum number of caribou that they saw and the number of calves and cows.
  • This data is critical to helping us understand how the population is changing.

Scat samples

  • Scat samples are collected during the survey to help estimate population size, survival, the ratio of males and females, and the number of calves.
  • Frozen scat carries the animal’s DNA and allows us to identify individual caribou by comparing their genetics.
  • Scat DNA takes time to collect, process, genotype, and then run through statistical models, which means the results are typically delayed by a year.

Remote cameras

  • We use images from nearly 100 wildlife cameras to understand how animals are using their habitat within the park.
  • From these images, we can learn a lot about where caribou and wolves spend their time and at what time of year, how many wolves are in a pack, and when wolves are spending time in caribou habitat.

Radio collars/GPS tracking

  • Radio collars are used to monitor a variety of species in Jasper National Park. The collars collect animal location data and transmit data to biologists via satellite.
  • Parks Canada previously collared caribou in JNP between 2003 and 2010. Parks Canada stopped collaring after 2010 to use less invasive monitoring techniques including aerial surveys, scat DNA analysis and remote cameras.
  • In order to collect additional information about caribou in the Tonquin range, Parks Canada worked with experienced professionals to fit six female caribou in the Tonquin with GPS collars in March 2021.
  • Using collars again will allow us to understand the current causes of mortality in the Tonquin herd (where, when and how), and will help us better understand how to prevent caribou deaths. GPS monitoring is also needed to inform a potential conservation breeding program.

Population modelling

  • Parks Canada worked with the University of Montana to develop an Integrated Population Model for caribou data.
  • This means that we can put together all of the data we have collected about caribou to get better information about the number of animals in the herds, the survival and reproductive rates of males and females at different life stages, and population trends.

Parks Canada is reviewing both the boundaries and dates of winter access restrictions in caribou habitat for winter 2021–2022

In addition to year-round conservation measures and habitat protections, seasonal closures in all caribou ranges have been in place from November 1 to February 15 in the Tonquin range and March 1 in the Maligne-Brazeau and À La Pêche ranges since 2014.

In winter, caribou are protected from predators by their high elevation habitat, where the snow is too deep for wolves to move around without sinking. Area closures prevent people from packing down trails into caribou habitat. Wolves can then use to access areas that are naturally less accessible to them in winter.

The reopening dates between February 15 and March 1 were selected in consultation with experts and stakeholders in 2013. Parks Canada's considerations included information about caribou populations and habitat use, wolf behaviours and habitat use, and opportunities for people to access the backcountry in Jasper National Park.

Parks Canada has always maintained the possibility of adapting winter access restrictions in response to changing conditions. Caribou populations and the density of wolves and how they use habitat in Jasper National Park have changed since closures were first implemented in 2009 and then expanded in 2014.

Wolf populations are dynamic and play an important role in caribou conservation.

Data about wolf habitat use collected through radio collars and remote cameras shows that wolves are spending most of their time in the valley bottoms where they find their primary prey of elk, deer, and moose. As a result of winter habitat closures and declining wolf numbers, we have not documented wolves entering caribou habitat at high elevations at any time of year since 2016. The current predation risk to caribou from wolves is lower than ever.

It is important to know, however, that wolf distribution can change quickly and have large impacts on small caribou herds in a very short time. While wolves in Jasper National Park are currently using lower elevation habitat, we continue to see wolves travelling on packed trails throughout the park and any trails into caribou habitat can increase the risk of caribou encountering a wolf.

The number of caribou in the Tonquin and Brazeau herds is very low, and although their population has stabilized since 2015 and is no longer in a steep decline, their ongoing survival is precarious and could change quickly.

While the current winter access restrictions are effective and have support and compliance from recreation users, caribou in Jasper National Park are still in danger of extirpation. Parks Canada is reviewing both the boundaries and dates of winter access restrictions in caribou habitat for 2021–2022 to ensure our efforts are focused on what is most effective.

Parks Canada would like to thank the individuals and experts from the following organizations and groups for their contribution to the caribou program and the scientific review workshop:

  • Aseniwuche Winewak Nation of Canada
  • African Lion Safari
  • Calgary Zoo Foundation
  • Canadian Wildlife Service
  • Caribou Conservation Breeding Foundation
  • DeerLab
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • fRI Research
  • Government of Alberta
  • Government of British Columbia
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature
  • Kirby Smith, Borealis Wildlife Services Ltd.
  • Korkeasaari Zoo
  • Metsähallitus
  • Oso Mono Ltd.
  • Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute
  • Speedgoat Wildlife Solutions
  • The Wilds
  • Toronto Zoo
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of Montana
  • University of Northern British Columbia
  • United States Fish & Wildlife Service
  • WildForestReindeerLIFE
  • Wildlife Preservation Canada
  • Wildlife Service Finland
  • Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
  • Yukon Wildlife Preserve

More information

To learn more about caribou in Jasper National Park visit our website at: parkscanada.ca/caribou-jasper Email: pc.caribou.pc@canada.ca

Join our mailing list

If you would like to receive information about the caribou conservation program in Jasper National Park including research and monitoring and conservation breeding please sign up on our website at: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasper-mailing-list

Media inquiries

Steve Young, Public Relations and Communications Officer
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: steven.young@canada.ca

October 28, 2020

External link: Update on caribou conservation in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Parks Canada is committed to preserving national parks and protecting the wildlife that are an integral part of these places

Jasper National Park is fortunate to be home to one of Canada’s most iconic wildlife species, the woodland caribou. An ongoing conservation program has helped to identify and reduce threats to this species-at-risk. This caribou research and monitoring program provides Parks Canada with the ability to make evidence-based decisions, using the best science available, to assist in caribou recovery.

Parks Canada has acted to reduce many of the influences on caribou decline in Jasper National Park, including:

  • handling roadkill differently to prevent predator population growth;
  • restricting access to occupied caribou ranges in winter so human trails and roads don’t give wolves easy access to the herds;
  • protecting caribou from being disturbed by drones and aircraft;
  • protecting caribou from traffic incidents with reduced speed zones.

Taking these steps created better conditions for caribou survival as well as caribou recovery. Research and monitoring now indicate that current conditions in Jasper National Park can support larger caribou populations, however, the remaining herds are too small to recover on their own.

Caribou recovery in Canada requires diverse actions that will vary according to the habitat condition and status of local populations.

Caribou continue to persist in small numbers in the Tonquin and Brazeau herds of Jasper National Park, and in the À La Pêche herd on Jasper’s northern boundary. Parks Canada has determined that a fourth herd, the Maligne, is no longer present.

Parks Canada is implementing actions set out in the Multi-Species Action Plan for Jasper National Park (2017) to support caribou conservation and recovery, including assessing the feasibility of additional measures to enhance protections for caribou and their habitat and to augment caribou populations in Jasper National Park towards self-sufficiency.

Parks Canada has been investigating the feasibility of developing a caribou conservation breeding program and is now at the point where a proposal will undergo a review by external experts.

Efforts to protect caribou and critical caribou habitat in Jasper National Park are part of a broader effort by federal and provincial governments as well as Indigenous partners, peoples and communities to support the recovery of woodland caribou across Canada.

The Government of Canada is working with provinces and Indigenous peoples to stabilize caribou populations and help them recover. The government is investing in measures to preserve critical habitat and, in February 2020, finalized two agreements for the protection of Southern Mountain caribou with the Province of British Columbia and the Saulteau and West Moberly First Nations. The Government of Canada also announced on October 23, 2020, that a conservation agreement under the Species at Risk Act has been signed with the Province of Alberta that commits to taking actions required to support woodland caribou recovery in Alberta.

Caribou in the Maligne Valley persisted with less than ten animals for nearly 15 years until they were last observed in 2018.

There is no evidence that caribou remain in the Maligne Range. Six separate aerial surveys of the Maligne Range (three in fall 2018, two in 2019, and most recently in October 2020) have not located any caribou or caribou tracks. In Jasper National Park, annual surveys of caribou are done by flying over caribou habitat and counting the number of caribou that are spotted. This number is a minimum count – biologists can say for certain that there is at least the number of caribou that they saw. This is done in the fall when there is snow on the ground and caribou or their tracks are most easily seen in the alpine.

The Maligne herd experienced its most rapid decline between 1998 when biologists counted 68 caribou, and 2005, when the herd consisted of less than five females and ten animals total. While this very small herd of caribou persisted in the area for nearly 15 years, a population with less than 10 reproductive females is considered functionally extirpated.

In October 2017, DNA evidence and observations in Hardisty Pass indicated that the Maligne herd had four members, consisting of an adult female called C118 and three younger animals. Five months later, in March 2018, the adult female was found dead of unknown causes. C118 was the last collared caribou in the Maligne herd and was ten years old at the time of her death. It was unknown how many other caribou remained, but tracks and scat at the site offered evidence that other caribou were present with the collared female. Surveys in the years following found no signs of caribou in the Maligne Range.

Adding to year-round conservation measures and habitat protections, seasonal closures in important winter caribou habitat come in to effect on November 1.

Winter closures protect over 3200 km2 of winter habitat for caribou in Jasper National Park from November to March. The purpose of these closures is to prevent people from creating trails that wolves can use to prey on caribou in places that are otherwise inaccessible. Research shows that trails packed by backcountry skiers, snowboarders, and snowshoers can lead wolves to prey on caribou in high elevation areas where caribou go to avoid predators.

Since seasonal closures in caribou winter ranges were first implemented in 2009, Parks Canada has collected data about wolf habitat use through radio collars and remote cameras. This tracking data shows that wolves are more likely to use caribou habitat and valleys when trails exist and that because of closures and declining wolf numbers, fewer incursions into caribou habitat have been documented. Seasonal closures remain an important conservation tool in all occupied caribou habitat in Jasper National Park.

For maps of the seasonal closure areas, visit our website at parkscanada.ca/caribou-winter-access.

Boundaries of the winter caribou habitat closure in the Maligne Range will change for the 2020-2021 season.

Parks Canada reviewed the closure boundary based on the evidence that no caribou remain in the Maligne Range. Considerations included the likelihood that caribou remain in the Maligne Range, patterns of caribou and wolf use in the area, the number of wolves in the park, Parks Canada’s responsibility to protect critical caribou habitat under the Species at Risk Act, high compliance with the existing closure, and feedback from environmental organizations and park users.

As of November 1, 2020, the boundaries of the winter caribou habitat closure in the Maligne Range will change to allow some limited opportunities for recreation, while maintaining 96% of the area of the Maligne-Brazeau seasonal closure that keeps a large area of the park free from human disturbance for four months of the year.

This means that winter access to some terrain in the Bald Hills and the area between Big Shovel and Little Shovel Passes is no longer restricted. Two trails allow access to these two separate areas:

  • Jeffery Creek Trail, accessed by crossing the Maligne River at Rosemary’s Rock
  • Bald Hills Trail, accessed from the parking lot at the end of Maligne Lake Road

Travel along the Skyline Trail between Little Shovel Pass and the Bald Hills will not be permitted until after March 1, 2021.

Critical caribou habitat throughout the national park remains protected under the National Parks Act and Species at Risk Act.

In the event that caribou are observed in the Maligne Range in the future, the closure will be reassessed and reinstated at any time if appropriate. There is no change to seasonal caribou closures in the Brazeau, Tonquin or À La Pêche Ranges from 2019-2020.

Dogs remain prohibited from all alpine environments in the Maligne Range year-round, including the Bald Hills and Skyline trails. For the safety of visitors, dogs and wildlife, dogs are not allowed in some backcountry areas of national parks to protect sensitive environments.

Information
To learn more about caribou in Jasper National Park visit our website at parkscanada.ca/caribou-jasper.

Media inquiries
Steve Young, Public Relations and Communications Officer
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: steven.young@canada.ca

Fire Management
Newsletter date Details
June 26, 2023

External link: Jasper National Park's 2023 Wildfire Preparedness

Plain text version

Jasper National Park's 2023 Wildfire Preparedness

Jasper National Park has been experiencing extreme weather this spring. From extended periods of hot and dry weather early this spring, to wet and heavy snowfall in the middle of June, the wild weather is a reminder of our need to adapt to the future impacts of climate change and create healthier landscapes that are more resilient to the changing climate.

The 2023 wildfire season started earlier than normal due to the below-average snowpack and unseasonably warm weather. Parks Canada’s fire specialists are closely monitoring conditions. A team of fire personnel are ready, and helicopters are available to respond quickly to wildfire incidents in the park. When the fire danger is elevated, they are conducting regular patrols to check for wildfires, smoke and illegal campfires. The safety of people is always Parks Canada’s number one priority.

Current conditions

The fire danger rating is now LOW. There are currently no active wildfires in Jasper National Park.

From June 18 to the early morning of June 20, 2023, the park has received 102 mm of rainfall. Combined with cooler temperatures, this has reduced the fire danger and the likelihood of human-caused wildfire starts in the park.

As conditions change, the current fire danger can be found on the Jasper National Park website at parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate.

Impacts of climate change on 2023 wildfire season

Seasonal weather forecasting is inherently difficult and based on scientific modelling.

Although it indicates climate change will continue to lead to longer, hotter and drier periods across Canada, the lower-than-average winter precipitation and rainfall we receive throughout the winter will play a large role in the upcoming wildfire season.

Upper atmospheric patterns tend to determine our lower elevation weather.

The mountains surrounding Jasper can create different localized weather patterns than our neighbours due to the topographic influences and different daily cooling patterns.

Update on Chetamon Wildfire

On April 29, 2023, Parks Canada completed a high-resolution infrared scan of the north perimeter of the Chetamon wildfire to look for any current fire activity held over from last fall. Leading into the winter months, the north perimeter was the most active and was considered the head of the wildfire. Smoke was observed on the wildfire on March 20, 2023, at the north end. Since then, no fire activity has been reported or noted.

The infrared scan was conducted twice over the entire north end of the fire perimeter and did not detect any remaining hotspots.

Considering these results, the lack of smoke or fire activity and the rainfall of the last few weeks the Chetamon wildfire is now considered ‘Extinguished’.

Parks Canada firefighting preparedness

Jasper National Park’s wildfire management team is prepared for the upcoming season. The team includes two initial attack crews of four members each, supported by a fire management officer, an assistant fire management officer, a fire specialist and two fire technicians.

Fire personnel monitor weather stations, ensure technical equipment is tested and ready to use, and analyze data. They also develop plans for prescribed fires and models to assist in wildfire risk reduction and wildfire preparedness.

Extensive planning and preparation are ongoing to ensure Parks Canada is prepared to respond to wildfire incidents, including:

  • Fire crews maintain physical fitness, review preseason material and test equipment.
  • Fire bans may be used, as well as other tools such as area closures, to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires.
  • Emergency and evacuation planning are updated with our partners at the Municipality of Jasper and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

Preparedness levels vary throughout the season as they are based on wildfire conditions and fuel receptivity, but Parks Canada is preparing by ensuring all resources are in place, fully equipped, and training requirements are fulfilled for the upcoming wildfire season.

Sharing resources

Parks Canada maintains dedicated teams of fire personnel across the country that can be quickly deployed to assist in managing wildfires anywhere in Canada.

Additional resources can also be acquired as needed through Parks Canada’s Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre partners and contract service agreements Parks Canada has in place.

Parks Canada has been and will continue to support the provincial wildfire management efforts to the best of our ability when asked. The key to wildfire preparedness is collaboration. Parks Canada collaborates with provinces, territories, Indigenous partners and local communities to ensure appropriate wildfire readiness and response.

Be prepared for wildfire season

Wildfires are a natural and frequent part of Canada’s mountain national parks.

Here’s how to be prepared in the event of a wildfire:

  • Fuel up: Have enough fuel in your tank to get to your next destination.
  • Know where you are: Know your location to better understand directions.
  • Communicate: Share your travel plans with friends or family.

Want to learn more about how to prepare for emergencies?

Visit getprepared.gc.ca for tips from the Government of Canada and jasper-alberta.com for local resources.

More information

Jasper National Park: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate
Alberta Fire Bans: albertafirebans.ca
Alberta Wildfire: wildfire.alberta.ca

Join our fire information mailing list
Email: jnpfireinfo@canada.ca

Report any wildfires, illegal campfires or suspicious smoke to Parks Canada Dispatch: 780-852-6155 or call 911.

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

June 15, 2023

External link: The fire ban in Jasper National Park has been lifted effective today, June 15, 2023.

Plain text version

The fire ban in Jasper National Park has been lifted effective today, June 15, 2023.

Current conditions

The fire danger rating is now MODERATE. There are currently no active wildfires in Jasper National Park.

Over approximately 24 hours, the park has received 27 mm of rainfall. Combined with cooler temperatures, this shift in the weather has not only given us a much-needed reprieve, it also has reduced the fire danger and the likelihood of human-caused wildfire starts in the park. The fire ban for Jasper National Park has been lifted today, June 15, 2023.

Current fire danger can be found on the Jasper National Park website at parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate.

Do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires. Use fire responsibly.

  • Campfires are only allowed in fire pits or boxes provided by Parks Canada. Campfires must be attended at all times.
  • Completely extinguish your campfire with water. Soak it, stir it, and soak it again until it is cool to the touch before leaving it.
  • Campfires are not allowed in some backcountry campgrounds. Check the backcountry camping information or ask at the park visitor centre before setting out on your hike.
  • Do not throw cigarettes on the ground. Put them out and discard them in a bin.

Smoke from wildfires in Canada is visible and may affect visitors and residents in Jasper.

Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to smoke. Please check the smoke forecast and air quality report before heading outdoors.

Air quality alerts, smoke forecast and wildfire information

  • Daily Air Quality Statement for Jasper National Park from Environment Canada
  • Government of Canada’s Air Quality Health Index
  • National Wildfire Smoke Model and Forecast
  • Jasper National Park’s Fire Information Page

Report any wildfires, illegal campfires or suspicious smoke to Parks Canada Dispatch: 780-852-6155 or call 911.

More information
Jasper National Park: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate
Alberta Fire Bans: albertafirebans.ca
Alberta Wildfire: wildfire.alberta.ca

Join our fire information mailing list
Email: jnpfireinfo@canada.ca

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

June 9, 2023

External link: Fire information: Fire Ban

Plain text version

Effective June 9, 2023: Fire ban in all day use areas, picnic sites, backcountry campgrounds and unsupervised frontcountry campgrounds within Jasper National Park.

Current conditions

The current and extended heatwave has elevated the fire danger in Jasper National Park to EXTREME. This means that vegetation can easily ignite, and a fire could spread quickly and be difficult to control.

Weather forecasts for the next week are unsettled and may produce clouds that look like smoke columns, as well as possible thunderstorms.

Parks Canada’s fire management specialists are monitoring current and forecasted conditions daily and coordinating with our municipal and provincial partners as well as the other mountain parks.

A team of fire personnel and a helicopter are ready to respond in the event of a wildfire. They are conducting twice-daily patrols to check for wildfires, smoke and illegal campfires.

Lighting or maintaining campfires in all day-use areas, picnic sites, backcountry campgrounds and unsupervised frontcountry campgrounds is strictly prohibited as of June 9, 2023.

The following areas still allow campfires in designated fire pits:

  • Jasper townsite;
  • Outlying Commercial Accommodations;
  • Whistler, Wapiti, Wabasso and Miette campgrounds.

This fire ban includes all open fires in these areas except, provided they are under an adult’s direct supervision and Canadian Standards Association (CSA Group) approved or Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certified, the following devices are permitted:

  • gas or propane stoves and barbeques, designed for cooking or heating
  • propane or gas-fuelled lanterns (enclosed flame)

For a full list of prohibited and exempt devices:

  • Visit our website at parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate
  • Stop by a Parks Canada Visitor Centre

Campfires are still permitted in supervised frontcountry campgrounds (Whistler, Wapiti, Wabasso and Miette), as long as they are in the designated fire pit or box provided by Parks Canada and are attended by an adult at all times. You can be prepared for a full fire ban by bringing a propane stove or barbecue for cooking.

Fire bans are based on local fire hazards, current and forecasted weather conditions, the amount of moisture in vegetation, the regional wildfire situation, and the availability of responders and equipment.

Do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires

In the national park, most wildfires are ignited from industrial activities, illegal campfires that are not in designated fire pits or carelessly discarded cigarettes.

  • Random campfires are never allowed.
    • If you see a random ash pit, it is from someone having an illegal campfire, or from pile burning as part of our FireSmart program.
    • Campfires must be in metal fire pits or boxes provided by Parks Canada.
  • Do not throw cigarettes on the ground. Put them out and discard them in a bin.
  • Park your vehicle only in designated parking areas or pull-offs. Parking on the side of the road is dangerous. Not only does it damage vegetation, but it can also ignite a fire on dry grass and brush.

Report any wildfires, illegal campfires or suspicious smoke to Parks Canada Dispatch: 780-852-6155 or call 911.

More information

  • Jasper National Park: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate
  • Alberta Wildfire: wildfire.alberta.ca
  • Alberta Fire Bans: albertafirebans.ca
  • Join our Fire Information mailing list
  • Email: jnpfireinfo@canada.ca

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

May 24, 2023

External link: The fire ban in Jasper National Park has been lifted effective today, May 24, 2023.

Plain text version

The fire ban in Jasper National Park has been lifted effective today, May 24, 2023.

Current conditions

The fire danger rating is now Low. There are currently no active wildfires in Jasper National Park.

Rain showers from the last few days, combined with cooler temperatures in the forecast, have reduced the fire danger and the likelihood of human-caused wildfire starts in the park. The fire ban for Jasper National Park has been lifted today, May 24, 2023.

Current fire danger can be found on the Jasper National Park website at parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate.

Do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires. Use fire responsibly.

  • Campfires are only allowed in fire pits or boxes provided by Parks Canada. Campfires must be attended at all times.
  • Completely extinguish your campfire with water. Soak it, stir it, and soak it again until it is cool to the touch before leaving it.
  • Campfires are not allowed in some backcountry campgrounds. Check the backcountry camping information or ask at the park visitor centre before setting out on your hike.
  • Do not throw cigarettes on the ground. Put them out and discard them in a bin.

Smoke from wildfires in Western Canada is visible and may affect visitors and residents in Jasper.

Children and the elderly are most vulnerable to smoke. Please check the smoke forecast and air quality report before heading outdoors.

Air quality alerts, smoke forecast and wildfire information

  • Daily Air Quality Statement for Jasper National Park from Environment Canada
  • Government of Canada’s Air Quality Health Index
  • National Wildfire Smoke Model and Forecast
  • Jasper National Park’s Fire Information Page

Report any wildfires, illegal campfires or suspicious smoke to Parks Canada Dispatch: 780-852-6155 or call 911.

More information

  • Jasper National Park: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate
  • Alberta Fire Bans: albertafirebans.ca
  • Alberta Wildfire: wildfire.alberta.ca

  • Join our fire information mailing list
  • Email: jnpfireinfo@canada.ca

Media inquiries

Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

May 11, 2023

External link: Effective May 11: Fire ban in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Effective May 11: Fire ban in Jasper National Park

Effective May 11, 2023, Jasper National Park and the Municipality of Jasper announced that a fire ban will be in place until further notice.

The fire ban will help firefighting resources be more readily available where they are needed most and reduce the likelihood of any new human-caused wildfires.

Parks Canada understands this is a difficult time for communities affected by the Alberta wildfires. Wildfires near communities resulting in evacuating residents and loss of property are especially challenging. Several of the active wildfires are east of Jasper National Park.

There are no wildfires burning in Jasper National Park. A team of fire personnel and a helicopter are ready to respond in the event of a wildfire. They are conducting twice daily helicopter patrols to check for wildfires. At this time, spring prescribed fire have been postponed.

Report any wildfires, illegal campfires or suspicious smoke to Parks Canada Dispatch: 780-852-6155 or call 911.

Fire ban information

Fire bans are based on local fire hazards, current and forecasted weather conditions, the amount of moisture in vegetation, the regional wildfire situation, and the availability of responders and equipment.

This list is available online at parks.canada.ca/jasper-fire-ban

Fire ban in Jasper townsite

“The Municipality of Jasper is implementing a fire ban in the Town of Jasper starting at 7:00am on Thursday, May 11th.
The Fire Chief has the authority to issue a fire ban in the Town of Jasper.”

For more information about the fire ban in the municipality, visit: Municipality of Jasper - (jasper-alberta.ca)

For more information about emergency preparedness, join Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper today, May 10, 2023, for an "Emergency Preparedness Week" open-house from 3 pm to 7 pm at the Emergency Services Building. Come by to ask questions, pick up an updated Evacuation Guide, sign up for the Municipal emergency alert system, and enjoy a hot dog.

Information for residents

The transfer station is no longer accepting any burnable items. All bins are full and unable to be burned during the fire ban.

Information about travel on the Icefields Parkway

The Icefields Parkway (93N) is open and may experience higher traffic volumes due to the wildfires in Alberta. Overweight commercial vehicle access is no longer permitted as there are suitable detours for Highway 16 at this time. Once you leave the Town of Jasper and head south on the Icefields Parkway there are limited services open and cell phone coverage is limited to a small area around the Icefields Centre (102 km south of Jasper). Patience and defensive driving helps keep yourself and others safe. Please monitor 511.Alberta.ca frequently for updates.

More information

  • Jasper National Park: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate
  • Alberta Wildfire: wildfire.alberta.ca
  • Alberta Fire Bans: albertafirebans.ca
  • Join our Fire Information mailing list
  • Email: jnpfireinfo@canada.ca

Media Inquiries

Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

May 6, 2023

External link: Information for residents of Jasper and Yellowhead County wildfire evacuees in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Information for residents of Jasper and Yellowhead County wildfire evacuees in Jasper National Park

Western Canada is experiencing an unprecedented wildfire season. A number of municipalities in Alberta have been evacuated due to multiple wildfires. To find out more about active wildfires in Alberta visit https://www.alberta.ca/wildfire-status.aspx

Parks Canada understands what a difficult time communities affected by these wildfires are going through. Wildfires in close proximity to communities, forcing people from their homes, are especially challenging for residents and fire personnel.

Information for residents

From the Municipality of Jasper

"Jasper may lose power due to wildfires in Yellowhead County
The Municipality of Jasper is working closely with our counterparts at Alberta Wildfire. This is a quickly evolving situation we do not have an estimate on when or if a power outage may occur at this time.

Attention all evacuees
Yellowhead County and Town of Edson Evacuees are advised to prepare by filling up with fuel and getting basic supplies.

If you are in Jasper and continue to need assistance or information, the Reception Centre at the Jasper Activity Centre (305 Bonhomme Street) remains open.

If you have been evacuated and you have not yet registered, please call 1-833-334-4630 to do so. If you have registered in person at an Evacuee Reception Centre, either in Hinton (Dr. Duncan Murray Recreation Centre, 805 Switzer Drive) or Jasper (305 Bonhomme Street) you do not need to call and register.

For information on what is happening in Yellowhead County and the Town of Edson, visit:
Yellowhead County website https://yhcounty.ca/
Yellowhead County Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/yellowheadcounty
Town of Edson Website https://www.edson.ca/
Town of Edson Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/townofedson
Alberta Emergency Alert page https://www.alberta.ca/emergency.aspx "

Information for evacuees

Any evacuees passing through Jasper National Park will be issued a free good neighbour pass at the gates.

The Icefields Parkway (93N) is open and may experience higher traffic volumes due to evacuations in Alberta. The Nigel Creek Bridge is reduced to single lane of traffic to accommodate essential commercial vehicle access. Once you leave the Town of Jasper and head south on the Icefields Parkway there are limited services open and cell phone coverage is limited to a small area around the Icefields Centre (102 km south of Jasper). Patience and defensive driving helps keep yourself and others safe. Please monitor 511.Alberta.ca frequently for updates.

One loop at Whistlers Campground is set aside for evacuees at no charge. Evacuees with livestock can park their trailers at Snaring Overflow Campground. No grazing of livestock is permitted and all animals must be under control at all times.

All camping must be in one of these two campgrounds. Campgrounds provide the waste management and other services required for a safe stay and to protect the environment.

Information for everyone

Parks Canada firefighting preparedness

Parks Canada firefighters are conducting regular smoke patrols by helicopter. Smoke patrols will continue through the weekend. Parks Canada’s fire management team is prepared to respond quickly to wildfire incidents in Jasper National Park. The safety of people is always Parks Canada’s number one priority.

Jasper National Park is always under a fire restriction

Unlike other jurisdictions, where open fires on public land are sometimes permissible, Parks Canada does not allow random fires anywhere in Jasper National Park at any time. In this way, provincial government bans on open fires on public land never apply to Jasper National Park, because the only fires permitted within the Park are in designated metal fire pits or boxes. All other fires are illegal. Because of this, Jasper National Park is considered to be under a permanent fire restriction.

Sharing resources

Parks Canada is a member of the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre (CIFFC), which includes federal partners and provincial and territorial fire agencies and collaborates with them to exchange information, equipment, and personnel when required. Requests are made to this coordinating agency. At this time, two fire management personnel from Jasper National Park are in Edson supporting the firefighting efforts there. Parks Canada will continue to support the provincial wildfire management efforts to the best of our ability if asked.

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

April 18, 2023

External link: Start of prescribed fire season in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Start of prescribed fire season in Jasper National Park

Prescribed fires reduce the wildfire risk to our communities, help restore forest and grassland ecosystems, and enhance wildlife habitat.

Spring (March to June) and fall (mid-August to November) are typically the best seasons for prescribed fires. Fire prescriptions are very detailed lists of the conditions that must be met before burning, such as required temperatures, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, and fuel conditions. During spring and fall, when the fire danger is usually lower than in the summertime, required conditions can often be met. Prescribed fire operations are only conducted when predetermined weather and site conditions are met and allow for safe burning conditions.

Prescribed fire plans for 2023

Parks Canada has plans for two prescribed fires in Jasper National Park in 2023. These prescribed fires will be conducted this year as long as we have the resources and conditions for them to be completed safely and effectively. The following prescribed fires are listed in order of likelihood. We will send out notices before we move ahead with any of these plans.

Douglas-fir Hillsides

The Douglas-fir Hillsides prescribed fire is composed of seven sub-units located west of Jasper townsite, in an area known as Pyramid Bench. These prescribed fire units are close to town, the nearest one being on the border of the northwest edge of the townsite, leading to Pyramid Bench. This spring, if conditions are right we plan to burn a sub-unit (one of seven) located approximately 1 km northwest of town, along Mina Lake.

The objectives of this prescribed fire are to restore the Douglas-fir forest and to enhance the landscape-level fireguard around town. This burn will build on the success of mechanical thinning in the area and will further protect Jasper townsite from wildfires.

Southesk

The Southesk prescribed fire includes approximately 925 hectares in the southeast corner of Jasper National Park, upstream of a 2006 wildfire in the valley in 2006. The ecological objective of this prescribed fire is to promote the natural regeneration of the lodgepole pine forest. Lodgepole pine is a fire-dependent species which requires periodic fire to remain healthy and become resilient to future pine beetle infestation. The Southesk Valley contains a mature pine forest largely unaffected by mountain pine beetle.

Prescribed fire operations and smoke

Parks Canada fire specialists make every effort to limit smoke during prescribed fire operations. Prescribed fires will only be carried out if weather, wind, and venting conditions allow smoke to disperse into the atmosphere.

Additional information
For more information on Parks Canada prescribed fires:
Planned prescribed fires in the mountain national parks
Jasper National Park fire protection and restoration projects

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

March 9, 2023

External link: Planting the Future: Saving whitebark and limber pines

Plain text version

Planting the Future: Saving whitebark and limber pines

Parks Canada is proud to present Planting the Future. This short film tells the story of whitebark and limber pine conservation in the mountain national parks, and what #ParksCanadaConservation specialists are doing to safeguard and recover the future of these incredible trees for present and future generations.

Whitebark and limber pines are keystone species in mountain ecosystems. This means that these unique trees play a crucial role in their environment. Not only are these high-elevation five-needled pines iconic, they also provide food and shelter for wildlife, stabilize steep mountain slopes and hold onto the snowpack. Water then becomes available to other plants and helps create a gradual release of meltwater stems the likelihood of flooding in the spring.

An increasingly important service to ecosystems in an era where the timing of mountain snowmelt is inconsistent every year.

Despite being an integral part of the mountain ecosystems, these special trees are in trouble and need our help. Whitebark and limber pine are in decline across most mountain landscapes in North America and are at risk of extinction. They face many challenges, including white pine blister rust (a non-native fungus), historical forest-fire suppression, mountain pine beetle, and climate change.

To help mitigate the multiple threats these trees face, seven mountain national parks have joined forces to share knowledge and take action to save whitebark and limber pines from extinction. Identifying trees that show natural resistance to whitebark pine blister rust, collecting cones and planting seedlings are among several methods Parks Canada uses to help restore whitebark pine and limber pine.

Increased awareness of and interest in these species at risk will improve their chances of survival. Please share this short film with others, including in classrooms, nature centres and visitor centres.

Learn more

  • Planting the Future: Saving whitebark and limber pines
  • Whitebark pine conservation in Jasper National Park
  • Species at risk public registry - species profile: Whitebark pine
  • Species at risk public registry - species profile: Limber pine
  • Whitebark Pine Ecosystem Foundation of Canada

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

February 27, 2023

External link: Wildfire risk reduction work around Pyramid Lake Resort

Plain text version

Wildfire risk reduction work around Pyramid Lake Resort

Parks Canada is continuing wildfire risk reduction efforts in Jasper National Park. Beginning this week, tree removal activities are starting around Pyramid Lake Resort, including along a section of trail 2. Pyramid Lake and Pyramid Lake Resort are located near the base of Pyramid Mountain, approximately 7 km north of the Jasper townsite. This work is expected to be completed within the next three to four weeks.

To ensure safety from tree-felling operations, trail 2, between the junction of trails 2g and 15a, will be closed to the public.

This closure is in place to ensure the safety of the public while crews and equipment are operating. For closure details and up-to-date information, visit parkscanada.gc.ca/jasper-alerts.

Removing dead or dying trees in strategic areas is one of the ways Parks Canada continues to reduce the risk of wildfire and manage the impacts of mountain pine beetle in Jasper National Park. Crews will selectively remove dead pine trees while protecting Douglas fir and other deciduous trees.

Smoke will be visible in the area.

The burning of brush piles is undertaken and controlled by Parks Canada fire crews. Burning will only be permitted on days when conditions are safe. All reasonable efforts will be made to minimize smoke production.

There is no need to call 911 or emergency services to report smoke.

Ensuring people's safety is Parks Canada’s top priority.

Through safe and effective fire management, Parks Canada is reducing the risk of wildfire to the public, critical infrastructure and property.

Please keep an eye out for crews at work and adhere to all posted warnings and closures along trails and roads.

More information is available:

  • Jasper National Park: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate
  • Join our Fire Information mailing list
  • Email: jnpfireinfo@canada.ca

For more information on the fire management program, prescribed fire, or wildfire risk reduction projects, please visit parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate.

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

January 20, 2023

External link: Wildfire risk reduction work continues in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Wildfire risk reduction work continues in Jasper National Park

Starting this week, Parks Canada will begin wildfire risk reduction work near Signal Mountain. This is a continuation of work that was done in the area last year to build a new fireguard along the base of Signal Mountain. The fireguard will link natural wet areas with more fire-resilient deciduous tree stands along the base of the mountain. Combined with Jasper National Park’s Community Fireguard, this new fireguard will further improve Jasper townsite’s protection from wildfire.

The work area is located within the Signal Mountain wildlife corridor and extends from the Keith Lakes area on Maligne Lake Road to the southwest-facing slopes of Signal Mountain (See map for details).

This project will continue until March 15, 2023, as long as the ground remains frozen.

Mechanical thinning equipment will be used to selectively remove dead pine trees (killed by mountain pine beetle) and spruce trees. Mechanical thinning allows Parks Canada to improve community wildfire protection and remove mountain pine beetle-killed trees when conditions for prescribed burning may not be cost-efficient or may be unsafe or unlikely to be effective for reducing wildfire risk. Mechanical thinning also helps create conditions for safer, less complex, and more efficient prescribed fires in the future.

Unlike the wide-open Community Fireguard, the Signal Mountain fireguard will consist of narrow bands where the fuels have been significantly reduced between fire-resistant trees such as Douglas-fir and aspen. Fuel reduction and forest-thinning activities can improve the effectiveness of fire suppression techniques, limit fire intensity, and reduce the potential for spot fires from wind-blown embers.

Safety is always the top priority in all fire management operations.

Public access to the area is prohibited. Operations will take place seven days a week, and will continue past daylight hours. Motorists should expect traffic disruptions on Maligne Lake Road. Traffic disruptions will be minimal and limited to periods of single-lane alternating traffic or short two-way closures. Motorists are reminded to respect traffic control personnel and obey all posted road signs and reduced speed zones.

Smoke from burning debris will be visible.

Smoke from this project will be present and may occasionally blow toward town. These are controlled fires and there is no need to call emergency services to report smoke in the area. People with respiratory ailments are encouraged to contact local health professionals for advice if they have concerns.

More information is available:

  • Jasper National Park: Area Closure – Signal Mountain Wildlife Corridor
  • Government of Canada: Wildfire smoke and your health
  • Government of Alberta: Wildfire smoke and your health

For more information on the fire management program, prescribed fire, or wildfire risk reduction projects, please visit parkscanada.gc.ca/jasperfireupdate.

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

September and October 2022

External link: Chetamon Wildfire status

Infrastructure
Newsletter date Details
November 14, 2022

External link: Government of Canada investing $557 million in infrastructure funding for Parks Canada

Park Management
Newsletter date Details
June 12, 2023

External link: Highlights from the Jasper National Park Annual Public Forum

Plain text version

Highlights from the Jasper National Park Annual Public Forum

Jasper National Park hosted its Annual Public Forum on April 19th, 2023. This annual event provides an opportunity for Parks Canada to report on progress towards park goals and objectives outlined in the Park Management Plan, and to speak with members of the public about priorities for Jasper National Park for the year ahead.

This year’s Forum began with a Year in Review presentation by the Jasper Field Unit Superintendent, Alan Fehr. This presentation was recorded and is available upon request by sending an email to opinion-jasper@pc.gc.ca. To learn more about the Park’s work in 2022, read Jasper’s 2022 Annual Report.

Following the Superintendent’s presentation, attendees were invited to take part in topic-table discussions, where participants circulated around the room and visited booths on topics including trails, fire, bears in the valley, visitation, Indigenous relations, species at risk, aquatic invasive species, and caribou.

At each booth, Parks Canada staff were on hand to offer information and answer questions. Participants were also invited to provide their feedback on key questions relating to each booth topic. Comments and feedback were recorded on sticky notes and charts.

The following represents a snapshot of feedback heard at the Forum. It is intended to reflect the views of the event attendees as they were expressed and does not necessarily reflect the priorities of Parks Canada.

What do you think are the issues and challenges associated with increasing visitation in Jasper?
  • Sufficient infrastructure and maintenance.
  • Increased human-wildlife conflict.
  • Lack of parking.
  • Lack of capacity.
  • Enforcement of infractions.
  • Crowding and congestion.
  • Waste management.
What do you think are the opportunities associated with increasing visitation in Jasper?
  • Increase interpretation.
  • Improve signage.
  • Increase cell coverage.
What do you think should be the Park’s priorities for improvements to accessibility and inclusivity?
  • More funding for accessibility and inclusivity work.
  • Reducing physical barriers and monitoring accessible facilities for maintenance needs.
  • Improving lake access.
  • Getting better data*.
  • Providing small businesses, not just corporations, with opportunities to access economic opportunities*.

Further specifics not provided.

How can Parks Canada make alternative transportation more attractive for residents and visitors?
  • Improve trail connectivity and create bike lanes to campgrounds and popular areas.
  • Create or subsidize shuttles to high-visitation areas.
  • Develop an e-bike rental program.
  • Implement signage and education on safe driving around cyclists.
What criteria do you think Jasper should use to prioritize maintenance on its extensive trail network?
  • Frequency of visitors.
  • Cost.
  • All trails should be maintained, including ones that have been abandoned.
  • Staff access for monitoring; there should be less helicopter use.
How can Parks Canada, residents, and visitors work together to support reconciliation in Jasper National Park?
  • Indigenous partners should have major roles in park decision-making processes.
  • There should be more opportunities to learn the stories of Indigenous peoples in Jasper and more Indigenous events in the town.
Fire and Vegetation Management
  • Parks Canada should create a colour-coded system to prepare guests and residents for the possibility of evacuation, from blue through to red, to have a clearer understanding of a fire’s threat.
  • Prescribed fire is important not just to protect the community, but also to improve habitat for wildlife.
  • Indigenous involvement in fire management should continue.
  • Parks should provide information on where to get seed for planting native species.
Realty and Municipal Services
  • Mixed responses were heard on whether Parks Canada should share its responsibility for land use planning services in the Town of Jasper with the Municipality of Jasper.
  • That land should only be released for affordable, long term housing units.
  • That Parks Canada should better support smaller businesses in permitting and realty processes.
Other key highlights of feedback received:
  • More work is needed to educate visitors around how to behave around bears.
  • Shelters and wood should be provided at introductory campgrounds to make them safer and more family friendly.
  • Parks should do roving face-to-face engagement and conduct visitor education to reduce the spread of aquatic invasive species.

This input, together with other input received from the public, will help inform and shape how Jasper National Park is managed into the future.

Media inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

April 17, 2023

External link: Jasper National Park's Annual Public Forum on Wednesday, April 19

Plain text version

Jasper National Park's Annual Public Forum on Wednesday, April 19

Don’t forget to join Parks Canada for the Jasper National Park Annual Public Forum at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. Parks Canada will share highlights of the past year and priorities for Jasper National Park in the year ahead. The forum is also an opportunity for Parks Canada to hear from participants on a range of important themes in the park.

Jasper National Park’s 2022 Annual Report is now available online.

Annual Public Forum
Wednesday, April 19, 2023
Jasper Activity Centre multi-purpose hall (305 Bonhomme Street)
5:30 pm Open house drop-in
6:00 pm Year-in-review presentation
6:45 pm Table topic discussions

“The year 2022 was a memorable one. From easing into a new sense of normal with COVID-19 to experiencing Jasper’s largest wildfire since 2004 and everything in between, 2022 won’t soon be forgotten. This year marks twenty years since Jasper National Park first began hosting Annual Public Forums in the community. Join us at the April 19th forum, where I and a team of dedicated Parks Canada staff look forward to your comments and questions.”
– Alan Fehr, Jasper Field Unit Superintendent

You are invited to drop in and explore various topics including trails, fire, bears in the valley, visitation, Indigenous relations, species at risk, caribou, aquatic invasive species, realty and development.

The year-in-review presentation will be recorded and available upon request following the event (email opinion-jasper@pc.gc.ca) for those unable to make it in person.

Media inquiries
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

March 27, 2023

External link: Jasper National Park Annual Public Forum - Save the date: April 19, 2023

Plain text version

Jasper National Park Annual Public Forum - Save the date: April 19, 2023

Jasper National Park’s Annual Public Forum provides the opportunity for Parks Canada to share highlights of the past year and priorities for Jasper National Park for the year ahead. As an in-person event, the format of the drop-in portion is designed to foster one-on-one engagement between participants and Parks Canada staff. The public is invited to drop in and explore various topics including trails, fire, bears in the valley, visitation, Indigenous relations, caribou, realty and development.

Save the date: Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Jasper Activity Centre multi-purpose hall (305 Bonhomme Street)

  • 5:30 pm Open house drop-in
  • 6:00 pm Year-in-review presentation
  • 6:45 pm Table topic discussions

“We’re excited to get people together in person again to discuss what ties us all together: Jasper National Park. While this is a great opportunity for Parks Canada to share progress made in 2022, it is also a time for us to listen. This year’s annual forum format allows participants to speak directly with Parks Canada staff and create an open dialogue. Whether you come for 15 minutes or stay all evening, we look forward to chatting with you.”
– Alan Fehr, Jasper Field Unit Superintendent

The 2022 Annual Report will be available on the Jasper National Park website prior to the Annual Public Forum.

The year-in-review presentation will be recorded and available upon request following the event (email opinion-jasper@pc.gc.ca) for those unable to make it in person.

Media inquiries
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

December 14, 2022

External link: Management actions in the Tonquin Valley

Plain text version

Management actions in the Tonquin Valley

The Tonquin Valley is one of Canada’s premiere backcountry destinations, with impressive peaks, glaciers and scenic lakes.

Renowned for its stunning vistas of Amethyst Lake at the base of the mountains known as “The Ramparts,” the area’s popularity is a testament to its pristine landscapes, excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing, and alpine lakes. In addition to its importance for visitors, the Tonquin is habitat for wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears and woodland caribou, a species at risk of disappearing.

The area is particularly significant to Indigenous partner communities as stewards of the land with strong cultural, traditional and spiritual practices. Many Indigenous communities also have long histories with caribou. Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples have revered caribou, searching them out for sustenance and nutrition. Caribou are a cornerstone of their cultures and histories.

Backcountry access and experiences in the Tonquin Valley have changed over time.

Historically, horse use was a key component of European and Canadian exploration of the region, with recreational use of horses beginning in the early 1900s. Outfitter offers over the past 120 years started as horse pack trips for the fur trade, survey and coal exploration companies, and later evolved into an accessible tourism oasis for Canadians and tourists to explore and enjoy. The network of trails, campgrounds, cabins and access to alpine lakes and rivers would not be what it is today without the trailblazers who saw the intrinsic value of the area and invited the world to enjoy it.

Tonquin Valley management evolved over more than a century to offer one primary 47-km point-to-point trail, seven backcountry campgrounds, a wilderness hostel near the Astoria River trailhead operated by Hostelling International Canada, a hut near Outpost Lake operated by the Alpine Club of Canada, and two privately operated overnight lodges. For decades, these combined experiences helped Parks Canada offer visitors a broad range of opportunities for understanding, appreciating and enjoying the wilderness and natural environment of the Tonquin Valley.

Although the valley is an exceptional place, challenges exist to balance ecological integrity, Indigenous stewardship and visitor experience.

Forced removal of Indigenous people from these lands with park establishment, along with subsequent recreational impacts on vegetation, species at risk, visitor experience and infrastructure in the Tonquin Valley and its trails have required various management actions to improve wildlife habitat security and enhance visitor experiences.

Management actions in the Tonquin Valley

Since 2000, Jasper National Park’s management plans have identified the following priorities for balancing ecological integrity and backcountry experiences in the Tonquin Valley:

  1. habitat security for caribou and grizzly bears
  2. recreational use
  3. protection and recovery of caribou

Large portions of remote trails in the Tonquin Valley pass through damp areas with poor drainage that have a high potential for trail damage, especially from horse users adventurous enough to make the journey. To manage horse-related trail degradation and improve the visitor experience for the majority of users in the Tonquin Valley, Parks Canada progressively reduced horse access to trails such as Chrome Lake and Eremite beginning in the early 2000s and eliminated all private horse use in the Tonquin Valley in 2021. Parks Canada continued to permit horse use by commercial operators by working together with operators to manage horse impacts and trail maintenance. Parks Canada has been working steadily to improve visitor experience in many of the muddiest and most damaged sections by rebuilding boardwalks, investing in campsites and repairing damaged trails.

To improve the ability of sensitive umbrella species like caribou and grizzly bears to thrive in the Tonquin Valley and to enhance habitat security for these species at risk, Parks Canada implemented several management actions over the past 13 years including the following:

  • improving techniques for monitoring caribou in the Tonquin Valley, and re-evaluating and adjusting as new technology and research becomes available
  • building relationships with Indigenous partners to share knowledge and seek guidance on caribou recovery;
  • increasing outreach and communication about the importance of caribou by utilizing program updates and Indigenous partner involvement;
  • maintaining existing official trails with no development of new trails;
  • reducing the number of random camping permits available each month and limiting how many people can be in a random camping group;
  • focusing the backcountry trail offer to hikers, the largest user group, while preventing further trail degradation by prohibiting access by bicycles and private horse parties;
  • reducing direct disturbance to wildlife by prohibiting access by dogs, hang gliders and paragliders;
  • re-evaluating Parks Canada staff access to the area, including discontinuing operational use of snowmobiles in 2016;
  • preventing the establishment of packed trails that predators can use for easier access to winter caribou habitat by closing the Tonquin Valley to human use in the winter beginning in 2009; and
  • extending seasonal closure of caribou habitat beginning November 1, 2021, to May 15, 2022 (rather than February 15) to provide further protection to caribou from winter wolf predation.

Impact of management actions

Extending the seasonal closure to May 15 impacted the two privately operated overnight commercial lodges, reducing their operating season by ten weeks and eliminating their ability to use snowmobiles to resupply lodges. Recognizing this impact, Parks Canada entered into discussions with the outfitters in autumn 2021 to negotiate options to continue operating from May 16 to October 31 each year or to end their licences of occupation with compensation.

Using guidance provided by an accredited and independent third-party valuator, Parks Canada reached agreements with both Tonquin Valley Adventures and Tonquin Valley Backcountry Lodge as of October 31, 2022, to purchase all infrastructure and non-moveable assets and to end their licences of occupation. Parks Canada facilitated helicopter access for the outfitters to remove their equipment and supplies. In the short term, the infrastructure and non-moveable assets will remain in place and will be evaluated for potential operational use. Parks Canada does not expect or intend to issue any licences of occupation or leases in the Tonquin Valley in the foreseeable future, in order to balance visitor experience needs in the summer with habitat security for sensitive umbrella species like caribou and grizzly bears. The Alpine Club of Canada and Hosteling International opted to cease their winter operations to support caribou conservation in November 2020 and now operate in the summer only.

The future of the Tonquin Valley

The new Jasper National Park Management Plan (2022) states that Parks Canada’s primary objective for the Tonquin Valley is to improve the ability of caribou and grizzly bears to thrive in the valley while balancing the strong desire to maintain the long and evolving history of human use of the area. The Tonquin Valley is open to backcountry recreation between May 16 and October 31. Overnight accommodation can be reserved at one of Parks Canada’s seven campgrounds in the Tonquin Valley and at HI Edith Cavell Hostel and ACC Wates-Gibson Hut in the summer season.

There are no planned restrictions on summer backcountry access in the Tonquin Valley. While no new long-term closures related to caribou are planned, there may be a need for occasional, temporary or short-term closures to ensure public safety and prevent wildlife from being disturbed at sites where important natural processes or active management are occurring.

Caribou conservation breeding program

Parks Canada is finalizing the assessment of comments received from Indigenous partners, stakeholders and the public on a proposed conservation breeding strategy to rebuild small caribou herds in Jasper National Park. A “what we heard” report summarizing all feedback and a detailed impact assessment are expected to be available before the end of 2022 and published in January 2023. An announcement on whether or not Parks Canada will proceed with the caribou conservation breeding program is expected in early 2023. For more information about Parks Canada’s conservation breeding proposal, visit our website.

August 22, 2022

External link: Management Plan for Jasper National Park tabled in Parliament

Plain text version

Management Plan for Jasper National Park tabled in Parliament

The new management plan for Jasper National Park is now official! Reviewed every 10 years, management plans are a requirement of the Canada National Parks Act and guide the management of national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas.

The plan presents objectives and targets to guide park management and decision making. The new plan includes six key strategies and two management areas:

  1. Conserving natural and cultural heritage for future generations
  2. True-to-place experiences
  3. Strengthening Indigenous relations
  4. Connect, collaborate and learn together
  5. Managing development
  6. Climate change and adaptation
  7. Community of Jasper and Tonquin Valley management areas

Parks Canada would like to thank Indigenous partners, Canadians, local residents, park visitors and stakeholder groups who contributed their thoughts, feedback and energy into this management plan for Jasper National Park. Thank you for helping shape the future of this treasured place.

Parks Canada will continue to engage and collaborate with Indigenous partners, the public and stakeholders as we work together to implement the plan to make our collective vision for Jasper National Park a reality.

Associated Links

  • Jasper National Park Management Plan
  • Parks Canada news release

Media Inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

Realty and Townsite
Newsletter date Details
March 6, 2023

External link: Parks Canada is seeking public input on how land use planning and development services are delivered within the Town of Jasper

Plain text version

Parks Canada is seeking public input on how land use planning and development services are delivered within the Town of Jasper

Share your thoughts on how Parks Canada and the Municipality of Jasper could work together.

News release: Consultations on Land Use Planning and Development in the Town of Jasper

The Municipality of Jasper, located in Jasper National Park, requested that the services delivered by the Municipality within the town boundaries be expanded to include responsibility for land use planning and development.

Parks Canada is currently responsible for administering and delivering these services to residents and businesses, while ensuring Jasper National Park is protected for present and future generations.

Parks Canada is inviting input from Canadians on sharing responsibility with the Municipality of Jasper for the delivery of land use planning and development services, and whether a new model should be explored. This includes determining who should carry out what land use planning and development responsibilities within the Town of Jasper, and how the Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada could work together in the delivery of these services.

Between March 6, 2023, and April 3, 2023, interested members of the public are invited to contribute to the discussion and provide their feedback directly to Parks Canada. Have your say on this topic online or by attending one of two public information sessions in Jasper on Thursday, March 16, 2023. During the facilitated events, participants will have an opportunity to provide their opinions on potential impacts within the national park’s community, including: Parks Canada’s responsibility to manage commercial development; how to ensure that ecological integrity remains the first priority; planning approvals; community planning; and how to protect Jasper’s unique town character. Visit Let’s Talk Mountain Parks for more details.

Following consultations, a What We Heard Report will be published. The report will summarize the feedback received and outline the next steps for Parks Canada to respond to the request from the Municipality of Jasper.

Quotes

“Parks Canada is committed to working with other jurisdictions, Indigenous partners and stakeholders to explore and advance improvements and efficiencies in offering services to residents and businesses in Jasper, while helping Canadians and visitors from around the world to enjoy the park now and in the future.”
Ron Hallman
President and Chief Executive Officer for Parks Canada

Information

News release: Consultations on Land Use Planning and Development in the Town of Jasper

Public consultations: www.letstalkmountainparks.ca

Contacts

Kaitlin Power
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
819-230-1557
kaitlin.power@ec.gc.ca

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency
855-862-1812
pc.medias-media.pc@canada.ca

February 28, 2023

External link: Reminder to pick up a Park pass

Plain text version

Reminder to pick up a Park pass

Parks Canada would like to remind Jasper residents and those working in Jasper National Park that a valid Park pass must be displayed in your vehicle at all times. We are now well into 2023, and many residents have not yet renewed their passes.

Resident Passes are available to Jasper residents whose vehicles are registered in Jasper. They ensure access to your residence without charge, and are valid from January 1 to December 31 each year.

Work Passes are available to people working in Jasper National Park who may live outside the Park, or who reside in Jasper temporarily for work. Work Passes are valid for the period of your employment. Documentation, such as a letter of employment, is required.

The plan presents objectives and targets to guide park management and decision making. The new plan includes six key strategies and two management areas:

You may pick up your pass in person at the Jasper National Park Administration Office, or online by visiting our website.

  • your name, physical street address and mailing address;
  • your valid vehicle registration showing expiry date, license plate number and registered Jasper address; and
  • your proof of employment in Jasper (such as confirmation-of-employment letter from employer, most recent pay stub, staff ID, etc.). If applying online, upload photos of required documents; for your privacy, obscure any mentions of your SIN and banking information.

The Jasper National Park Administration Office (west entrance at 607 Connaught Drive) is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

For more information, contact Realty and Municipal Services at 780-852-6220 or jasperreception@pc.gc.ca.

January 18, 2023

External link: Parks Canada seeks feedback on updated Private Home Accommodation proposal

Plain text version

Parks Canada seeks feedback on updated Private Home Accommodation proposal

Parks Canada is requesting feedback regarding proposed changes to the Town of Jasper Land Use Policy for Private Home Accommodation (PHA). The intent of the proposed PHA amendments is to address previous permitting inconsistencies and to facilitate clear, consistent and fair implementation of the PHA permitting process, for the benefit of current and future PHA operators, the community and visitors.

The proposed policy changes may be reviewed here: Jasper National Park Public Notices. Interested parties may provide feedback to jasperdevelopment@pc.gc.ca until January 31, 2023.

Background

In March 2019 Parks Canada began an extensive public consultation on a number of issues—including PHAs—pertaining to residential housing shortages in the Jasper townsite. The What We Heard Report was made available to the public in September of that year, and informed several action items for Parks Canada to implement.

Following the public consultation, draft amendments to the PHA requirements in the Town of Jasper Land Use Policy were developed. The proposed policy changes included life safety requirements, policy clarity, and protection of residential spaces within the community. The proposal was shared with the Jasper Home Accommodation Association (JHAA), PHA operators, the Municipality of Jasper, and the public in March 2022. After hearing concerns, including those raised by JHAA and PHA operators, Parks Canada withdrew the proposal.

In July 2022 Parks Canada met with the JHAA to better understand the association’s concerns and to seek their input for the development of a revised policy. In addition, the Municipality of Jasper (as the PHA business licence authority) was invited to provide input to be considered in the development of a revised policy.

On December 15, 2022 Parks Canada shared the revised policy proposal with the JHAA and posted the proposed changes on the Jasper National Park website.

Next steps

Feedback pertaining to the current PHA proposed policy changes will be publicly available and a What We Heard report will be prepared and posted on the Jasper National Park website under Public Notices.

The feedback will be reviewed and evaluated to formulate a PHA land-use policy amendment package for submission to the Planning and Development Advisory Committee (PDAC). PDAC meetings are open to all and provide a formal public hearing process. Anyone affected by a development being considered by the committee may ask to speak at the public hearing. Information on how to participate in a PDAC meeting may be found here. Following the meeting, the PDAC will submit written recommendations to the Jasper Field Unit Superintendent.

The PHA land-use policy amendment package is expected to be on the agenda of the March 16, 2023 PDAC meeting. Public notices of upcoming PDAC meetings and agenda items are published on the Jasper National Park website and in the Fitzhugh newspaper a minimum of two weeks in advance.

Pending the outcome of the PDAC meeting, Parks Canada anticipates the PHA land-use policy amendments being completed by March 31, 2023, and to resume accepting new PHA development permit applications shortly thereafter.

Media Inquiries

Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

December 15, 2022

External link: Development permits issued for rental apartment buildings on Connaught Drive

Plain text version

Development permits issued for rental apartment buildings on Connaught Drive

Parks Canada has issued development permits for construction of two 72-unit rental apartment buildings at 801 Connaught Drive and 821 Connaught Drive (formerly known as “Parcel GB”) in Jasper. The two buildings would be mirror images of each other and could be finished as early as 2024.

Background

Through extensive community consultations to determine community needs and best use of available land, the Connaught Drive parcels were identified as preferred locations for the development of additional housing to meet community demand.

For more information on the Parks Canada approval process for the rental housing development, click here.

Questions? Contact Realty and Municipal Services at 780-852-6123 or jasperdevelopment@pc.gc.ca.

December 12, 2022

External link: Jasper National Park 2023 Resident Passes now available

Plain text version

Jasper National Park 2023 Resident Passes now available

Parks Canada is pleased to announce that 2023 Resident Passes are now available. You may apply for your pass in person at the Jasper National Park Administration Office, or online by visiting our website.

A Resident Pass is available to you if you live in Jasper and your vehicle is registered in Jasper. The Resident Pass ensures access to your residence without charge, and is valid from January 1 to December 31 each year.

To obtain your Resident Pass, you will need to provide the following information:

  • your name, physical street address and mailing address;
  • your valid vehicle registration showing expiry date, license plate number and registered Jasper address; and
  • your proof of employment in Jasper (such as confirmation-of-employment letter from employer, most recent pay stub, staff ID, etc.). If applying online, upload photos of required documents; for your privacy, obscure any mentions of your SIN and banking information.

The Jasper National Park Administration Office (west entrance at 607 Connaught Drive) is open Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm.

For more information, contact Realty and Municipal Services at 780-852-6220 or jasperreception@pc.gc.ca.

November 5, 2021

External link: *Updated* Rental Housing Development - Parcel GB - 801 Connaught Drive - Parks Canada Approval Process

Plain text version

*Updated* Rental Housing Development - Parcel GB - 801 Connaught Drive - Parks Canada Approval Process

Over the past months, Parks Canada has received a number of comments related to the potential rental housing project on Parcel GB. We appreciate the questions and would like to take this opportunity to clarify some misconceptions and answer your questions.

Background

Affordable, comfortable housing is necessary to the long-term sustainability and vitality of the community of Jasper and its residents. In recent years, the Jasper Community Housing Corporation (JCHC) has been working on advancing the development of new housing in Jasper. Through extensive community consultations to determine community needs and best use of available land, the Connaught Drive parcels (GA, GB and GC) were identified as preferred locations for the development of additional housing to meet community demand.

In 2017, in an effort to get more housing into the community as swiftly as possible, Parks Canada and the JCHC agreed to enable Parcel GB to be released for potential development, with the conditions that the units be high density (more housing), and rentals only, not for purchase. Parks Canada began the process of advertising Parcel GB for purchase across Canada. In 2020, a developer entered into an agreement to lease Parcel GB; Parks Canada has been working with them since that time to get to the development permit stage.

To enable the development of new housing, Jasper Municipal Council approved a project to install municipal utility services in the area, including water, sewer and stormwater (deep services). Complete parcel servicing of other utilities (non-municipal), including gas and electricity, is also planned, so the parcel can be ready for development. This project is anticipated to be completed in November 2021; approximately half the cost will be borne by any projects that are constructed on the GB or GC parcels.

Review and approval by Parks Canada

In June 2021, the Planning and Development Advisory Committee (PDAC) advertised and held a public consultation meeting on the requested variances for the development of Parcel GB. Many members of the public, municipal representatives, and the builder were present and made comments.

The variances listed below were requested by the developer. After hearing from the developer and those in attendance at the meeting, PDAC recommended that the variances be accepted with some conditions. Parks Canada approved the proposed private development variances based on PDAC’s recommendations. To ensure the public has accurate information, we have explained below the details of each variance.

A. Exceedance of maximum building height, as measured from grade level by 3.67 m.
Building height is measured from where the grade meets the building. Although the proposed building technically exceeds the maximum height by 3.67 m, based on the slope of the lot, the roofline is actually at the same elevation of a 3-storey building when viewed at street level on Connaught Drive. This approach enabled the proponent to create a walkout basement level suitable for additional rental units that would not be visible from the street.

B. A conditional reduction in parking stalls from 159 to 125.
This variance was granted with the condition that the developer work with the Municipality to identify opportunities to provide more parking stalls. The proponent reasoned the proximity of the apartments to the town’s central business district and services would attract residents with less need of a vehicle as has been done in many other communities. It is common in many municipalities to reduce parking requirements for developments close to downtown and in our community, active transportation will play an increasingly important role to help to resolve the housing crisis.

C. Reduction to the size of the units from 90 m2 to 76.38 m2.
This variance was granted to enable an increase in the overall number of new housing units the development would deliver.

D. The exceedance of maximum eave height by 3.45 m to 10.05 m.
This variance was granted for the same reasons as the maximum height variance described above in A.

Summary

The review and approval of the proposed variances on Parcel GB followed the established process and procedures set out by Parks Canada. This development will follow the Land Use Plan in all other respects, including the Architectural Motif Guidelines for the Town of Jasper. These approvals were for variances only and the project still needs to be granted development and building permits in order to proceed.

For more information, please visit the Realty and Municipal Services section on our website by clicking here. On this page, you can view upcoming public hearings of the Planning and Development Advisory Committee, notices of decision, and other announcements.

Visitor Experience
Newsletter date Details
August 1, 2023

External link: August long weekend and beyond: ten tips to make the most of your visit!

Plain text version

August long weekend and beyond: ten tips to make the most of your visit!

Visiting Jasper National Park in the summer season can be pretty spectacular; however, it’s also extremely busy! Did you know more than 1.5 million visitors travel to Jasper between June and September? During your visit, you’ll be sharing this special place with others: please be prepared for crowds and line-ups, remember to pack your patience and be respectful to the people and wildlife you encounter.

Whether you’re about to set foot into the backcountry or explore one of Jasper’s many popular hikes or areas, there is lots of information online to help make the most of your expedition. Research your adventure in advance and pack the right gear for your trip! Check the trail conditions, the weather and review the important bulletins before you venture out in Jasper National Park.

Miette Hot Springs and Miette Road update

For many, a soak at the Miette Hot Springs is “hot” on the list of things to do while in Jasper National Park. Due to a significant rain and snow storm that washed out a section of the Miette Road in late June, the Miette Hot Springs and the Miette Road remain closed for public safety reasons.

We recognize this situation impacts visitors’ travel plans and is difficult for businesses and their staff. An engineering firm is expected to deliver their final report in early August with short-term recommendations to allow safe vehicle access. If the report determines that a portion of the road can safely be used for single-lane alternating traffic, Parks Canada is prepared to implement mitigations to allow access as soon as possible.

For the most up-to-date road conditions, check 511 Alberta.

Here are ten great tips to make the most of your visit:

Tip #1: Plan ahead

Do you have a camping or hotel reservation? This is a must, as the park is at capacity on long weekends. Also, being prepared for possible road delays makes for a smoother trip. Pack snacks and water and check 511 Alberta or Drive BC before you set off on your journey to Jasper.

Tip #2: Know before you go with JasperNow

Before embarking on a day of sightseeing and exploring at some of the park’s most popular day-use areas, take two minutes to check out JasperNow. What’s JasperNow? It’s an information tool that visitors and locals use to check out which parking lots (Lake Annette, Maligne Canyon, Valley of the Five Lakes, etc.) have availability, are partially full or are completely full.

New to the page this year are vacancy updates for Jasper’s campgrounds (including self-registration).

Which brings us to our next tip …

Tip #3: Have a Plan A, B & yes, even C!

There are so many gorgeous places to visit in Jasper National Park. If your Plan A is busy or full, go to Plan B. If Plan B is busy… well then, you know the drill: go to Plan C. Expect to share these special places with other people too. You can always loop back and visit Plan A or B later in the day!

Tip #4: Go early OR go late

Are you a morning person? If you answered yes, then make the most of this superhero power and go early to secure a parking spot well before 10 am at one of Jasper’s popular locations.

Pro tip: Leave before it gets busy to avoid the crowds. If you’re a night owl, then go later (after 6 pm) and make the most of the long summer days. Anytime in between – expect crowds and plan accordingly!

Tip #5: BYOB

"Bring Your Own Bike” that is, or rent one. Why not travel around like a local: Hop on a bike and hit the easy connector trails that take you from Whistlers and Wapiti campgrounds to town, and from the townsite to the beaches. This allows you to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot, it’s more eco-friendly, plus you’re getting your daily dose of vitamin D and fresh air. If that’s not winning, we don’t know what is!

Tip #6: Know where you can go and park like a pro with an RV or trailer!

There are many roads and day-use areas in Jasper National Park that can accommodate your extra-long rides, while other areas can be tight, especially on a busy long weekend with increased traffic. Avoid getting stuck between a rock and a hard place with this cheat sheet:

The roomiest parking lots to accommodate your RV/trailer:

  • Maligne Canyon (use the Maligne Overlook pull-through stalls)
  • Valley of the Five Lakes
  • Athabasca Falls

Areas of the park with room if your RV/vehicle and trailer is 7.5 m/25 ft. or shorter:

  • Cavell Day-Use Area
  • Maligne Lake Day-Use Area

Note: The Cavell Road also has a trailer drop-off area at the beginning of the road.

Areas of the park where RV/trailer access is not permitted:

  • Lake Annette/Lake Edith
  • Lac Beauvert Road
  • Pyramid Beach Road
  • Wilcox Pass Trailhead

Visit JasperNow to view the status on your plan A and plan B destinations before you head out for your adventure. It could save you a lot of time!

Tip #7: Be bear and wildlife aware

It’s that time of year when black bears and grizzly bears are feeding on berries. It is easy to surprise a bear that is focused on feeding. Remember these tips to reduce your risk:

  • Make lots of noise while on trails and travel in large groups.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Watch for fresh bear signs such as scat. Be especially careful near berry patches.
  • Stay calm if you see a bear. Back away slowly and leave the area. Never run.
  • Pack in and pack out. Keep our places clean. Pick up your litter and dispose of it in appropriate garbage or recycling containers, or take your waste home.
  • Do not leave food unattended. Bear-proof lockers are offered at some sites for safe food storage.
  • Pets must be on a leash—it’s the law— not only for the safety of wildlife, but for your pets’ safety, and your own.

For more wildlife safety tips, please visit this page.

Tip #8: Enjoy your campfire safely

To learn the current fire danger in Jasper National Park, visit here.

Do your part to prevent human-caused wildfires and follow these very important tips:

  • Attend to your campfire at all times. Campfires are only allowed in fire pits or boxes provided by Parks Canada.
  • When you are done with your campfire, completely extinguish it with water. Soak it, stir it and soak it again until it’s cool to the touch.
  • Before setting out for your adventure, check the backcountry information link. Campfires are not allowed in some backcountry campgrounds.
  • Do not throw cigarettes on the ground. Put them out completely and discard them in a bin.
Tip #9: Leave your drone at home!

Did you know flying a drone in a national park is prohibited? Flying a drone in the park without a permit can lead to a fine of up to $25,000! Instead of breaking the law, why not go for a hike and put the work into getting the best views atop a mountain? If you’re looking for a quick and steep ascent with incredible views of town, Old Fort Point is a great option – just make sure to go earlier in the day or later in the evening as it’s a popular location.

Tip #10: Be informed

Have questions? We have answers!

  • Jasper National Park Visitor Information Centre
  • Parks Canada information desk at the Icefield Centre

A great trip starts with being informed and prepared. Have a safe and enjoyable visit to Jasper National Park!

Helpful links

Plan your visit
511 Alberta
Drive BC
JasperNow
Wildlife watching
Fire information and updates
Tourism Jasper
Municipality of Jasper
Archived newsletters

Media inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

June 28, 2023

External link: July long weekend and beyond: What to know and what to pack

Plain text version

July long weekend and beyond: What to know and what to pack

June in Jasper was one for the books! This month has seen some of the highest temperatures on record, as well as the lowest, significant precipitation and up to 55 cm of snow in some areas of the Park. With summer in full swing and the long weekend fast approaching, it’s important for visitors to be prepared - both for whatever mother nature throws your way and of course the crowds!

Be Prepared:

Did you know more than 1.5 million visitors travel to Jasper between June and September? During your visit, you’ll be sharing this special place with others: please be prepared for crowds and line-ups, remember to pack your patience and be respectful to the people and wildlife you encounter.

After a significant storm on June 19, 2023, Parks Canada continues cleaning up fallen trees and debris across Jasper National Park. Pay attention to closures and warnings, and remain alert when enjoying the park. Check current trail conditions before heading out. Plan a trip suitable to your abilities and wear appropriate gear and footwear to navigate around fallen trees.

Make the most of your visit to Jasper – here is a list of frequently asked questions and the answers you need to be prepared!

1. How to avoid congestion? Be in the know before you go - use JasperNow!

Have you heard of JasperNow? If yes – great! If not, well, let us introduce you to this great online resource.

Just in time for the July long weekend, Jasper National Park is bringing back “JasperNow”! This web page includes regular updates on parking capacity at some of the park’s most popular places. New to the page this year are vacancy updates for Jasper’s campgrounds (including self-registration).

Parking and camping updates are categorized using the following colours:

  • Green: parking/camping available
  • Yellow: parking/camping is nearly full
  • Red: parking/camping is full

If parking is full, there are also suggestions on the JasperNow page to visit other areas nearby, or to use different modes of transportation.

On top of using JasperNow, here’s a few tips to help you secure a parking spot at one of the park’s popular locations:

  • Go early: arrive well before 10 am and leave before it gets really busy!
  • Go late: visit after 5 pm or even later and take in a mountain sunset.
  • Have a plan A, B and C: there are many gorgeous places to visit. If plan A is busy/full go to plan B, if plan B is busy…well then you know the drill, go to plan C. Expect to share these places with other people too.
2. What makes a great trip? Good planning!

Do you have a camping or hotel reservation?

If you’re planning to wing it and come to Jasper this summer without a reservation, you may want to rethink that plan. During most long weekends and summer months, the park is at capacity. If there is no availability in Jasper National Park, you may want to look into accommodations in a neighbouring community such as Hinton, Folding Mountain or Valemount. Camping in a non-designated campsite or in the town of Jasper is illegal.

3. Want to avoid parking lot congestion? Then: BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike!)

Not bringing a bike? No sweat! There’s lots of places to rent in Jasper so you can take advantage of the cruisy, family-friendly connector trail systems!

Why not travel around like a “local”? Take Jasper’s convenient connector trails to go to Lake Edith, Lake Annette and Pyramid Beach. These popular locations are all within biking distance from Whistlers/Wapiti Campgrounds and town.

If this is your first time using these connector trails or you’re a local pro, there is updated on-site wayfinding to navigate the easy-to-follow trail network. If you are biking from Whistlers or Wapiti Campground take the Campgrounds Trail (Trail #12) to town. If you’re looking to connect to the beaches (Lake Edith and Annette), branch off the Campgrounds Trail and onto the Lakes Loop (Trail 14 to Trail 18).

4. Expecting blue skies? Mother Nature may have other plans!

Are you someone who looks ahead at the weather forecast before packing your suitcase? While we can’t control the weather, we can pack and be prepared for the elements.

Before venturing out for a hike or an adventure, it’s always a good idea to check the trail report and make sure you’re aware of the visitor safety guidelines.

Also, get the most up-to-date road conditions by visiting 511Alberta or Drive BC. Pack lots of snacks and water, take your time and enjoy the scenery!

5. Visiting with an RV or trailer? Know where you can go and park like a pro!

There are many roads and day-use areas in Jasper National Park that can accommodate your extra long rides, but other areas can be tight, especially on a busy long weekend with increased traffic. Avoid getting stuck between a rock and a hard place with this cheat sheet:

The roomiest parking lots to accommodate your RV/trailer:

  • Maligne Canyon (use the Maligne Overlook pull-through stalls)
  • Valley of the Five Lakes
  • Athabasca Falls

Areas of the park with room if your RV/vehicle and trailer is 7.5m/25ft or shorter:

  • Cavell Day-use Area
  • Maligne Lake Day-use Area

Note: The Cavell Road also has a trailer drop off area at the beginning of the road.

Areas of the park where RV/trailer access is not permitted:

  • Lake Annette/Lake Edith
  • Lac Beauvert Road
  • Pyramid Beach Road
  • Wilcox Pass Trailhead

Visit JasperNow to view the status on your plan A and plan B destinations before you head out for your adventure. It could save you a lot of time!

6. How to keep the wild in wildlife? Give wildlife space!

When visiting Jasper National Park, be aware you are in the home of many wild animals. Please respect their space, never feed them and always carry bear spray and know how to use it. If you have a dog, they must always be on a leash and under control – it’s the law. Abide by all speed limits, drive carefully and be alert. Lastly, please be proactive by learning how to view wildlife safely and avoid a negative encounter.

Report any interactions with wildlife, concerning wildlife activity or dead animals to Parks Canada Dispatch 24 hours a day: 780-852-6155.

7. Have a drone? Leave it at home!

Did you know flying a drone in a national park is prohibited? Flying a drone in the park without a permit can lead to a fine of up to $25,000! Instead of breaking the law, why not go for a hike and put the work into getting the best views atop a mountain. If you’re looking for a quick and steep ascent with incredible views of town, Old Fort Point is a great option – just make sure to go earlier in the day or later in the evening as it’s a popular location.

8. In Jasper for the Canada Day festivities? Here’s what you need to know!

Come together to celebrate with the singing of ‘O Canada’ as we raise the national flag at the Jasper Royal Canadian Legion (400 Geikie Street) on Saturday, July 1 at 11 am. Enjoy a piece of delicious cake while there. All are welcome to this free event. There are lots of other events happening on Canada Day, click here for more information – including the parade route!

9. Have questions? We have answers!
  • Jasper National Park Visitor Information Centre
  • Parks Canada information desk at the Icefield Centre

A great trip starts with being informed and prepared. Have a safe and enjoyable visit to Jasper National Park!

Helpful links

Plan your visit
511 Alberta
Drive BC
JasperNow
Wildlife watching
Fire information and updates
Tourism Jasper
Municipality of Jasper
Archived newsletters

Media inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

May 17, 2023

External link: May long weekend and beyond: What to know and what to pack!

Plain text version

May long weekend and beyond: What to know and what to pack!

Spring is in the air! Crocuses are in full bloom, bears are awake and on the move, elk are calving and Jasper National Park’s busiest season is fast approaching. Whether you visit this May long weekend or this summer, it’s important to be prepared for your adventures in Jasper National Park.

Over the next four months, more than 1.5 million visitors will explore everything Jasper National Park has to offer. On your visit, you’ll be sharing this special place with others: be prepared for crowds and line-ups. We’ve got a few tips to help you make the most of your visit. In addition to these tips, please remember to pack your patience and be kind to the people and wildlife you encounter.

What to know before you go

Fire Update

There are no wildfires burning in Jasper National Park.

A fire ban is now in effect for Jasper National Park and the Municipality of Jasper. Lighting or maintaining campfires in all day-use areas, picnic sites, and all campgrounds is prohibited. A list of all prohibited and exempt devices can be found on the Parks Canada website.

There are a number of active wildfires in Alberta, including several east of Jasper National Park. A fire ban will ensure firefighting resources are available to support existing wildfires and reduce the likelihood of any human-caused wildfire starts.

Please report any wildfires, illegal campfires, or suspicious smoke to Parks Canada Dispatch: 780-852-6155 or call 911.

Make a reservation

During most long weekends and summer months, finding a last-minute place to stay in Jasper is difficult—or impossible. Setting up camp in a non-designated campsite is illegal. Plan ahead and make a camping, hotel or other reservation. If there is no availability in Jasper National Park, check out a neighbouring community such as Hinton and Folding Mountain (AB) or Valemount (BC).

To avoid disappointment, consider making reservations for attractions, tours, or restaurants well in advance.

Before driving to Jasper, visit 511 Alberta or Drive BC to check on the latest road conditions and possible delays or closures.

Expect crowds

Jasper is the second busiest national park in Canada. If you plan to travel here during the summer months, expect all popular day-use areas, beaches, lakes, waterfalls, hikes and the townsite to be crowded. Parking lots will be full and overflowing. To help mitigate this congestion and to give you some breathing room, we recommend getting up early and going to these places before 10 am, or going after 5 pm.

Note: Miette Hot Springs is open daily from May 12 to October 9, 2023 and is equally busy.

If you can…visit the park between October and April to really escape the crowds. And if you can’t…simply put, expect crowds (and don’t forget the patience you packed).

Have a plan A, B and C

Many people visiting Jasper National Park for the first time have a bucket list of experiences to check off. Follow your list of favourite sites and attractions, aiming to go early or late if possible. If the parking lot is full at your plan-A site, try plan B, and return to plan A later.

Not sure what should be on your bucket list and plans A, B, and C? Explore our website for activities and experiences to plan your visit.

If you’re a Jasper regular (welcome back!), and your favourite activity is chilling at one of the beaches for the day, well, you’re not alone. With hotter summer temperatures every year, this is by far one of the most popular things to do.

Note: Lake Annette, Lake Edith and Pyramid Lake can only accommodate so many people before there’s a traffic nightmare. That’s why it’s important this summer to have a plan B (or C) if a parking lot is full.

Leave your vehicle and “BYOB”

BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike) or rent one and use Jasper’s easy connector trail systems to take you from Wapiti and Whistlers campgrounds to the townsite (in under 20 minutes), and to the beaches (in under an hour). These trails are family friendly and connect you to Lake Annette, Lake Edith, Pyramid Lake Beach and even Maligne Canyon!

Looking for other biking/cycling options? Check Jasper trail conditions for the most up-to-date information on Jasper’s multi-use trails. Alternatively, try one of Jasper’s road cycling options, where you can cycle motorist-free!

“Tip: Not into biking? No sweat! Try walking, running, carpooling or taking a taxi. All of these options will help reduce congestion in parking lots and result in a more enjoyable experience for all.

Wildlife watching

Observing wildlife in their natural habitat is one of the most fascinating experiences that Jasper offers. Along with this opportunity comes the responsibility for treating wildlife with the respect they need and deserve.

Be aware, stay alert and give wildlife space! To help keep wildlife wild, remain safely in your vehicle when viewing wildlife in Jasper National Park.

Elk calving season has begun. Just like human moms, elk are very protective of their new offspring. They will aggressively defend their newborns by kicking and charging at people or other animals they see as potential threats. Learn how to view elk safely and avoid an elk encounter.

Also, keep in mind that black bears and grizzly bears are residents of the valley bottoms around Jasper. You will probably see them when you hike, bike or drive around these amazing places. Remember to carry bear spray and know how to use it.

To avoid a negative encounter, be prepared to do the following:

  • On trails, travel in groups, keep everyone together and children within arm’s reach.
  • Dogs must be on a leash and under control at all times—it’s the law.
  • Make noise during your travels.
  • Be alert! Travel slowly when biking or running, and do not wear earbuds.
  • Be especially cautious at dawn and dusk when wildlife is most active.
  • Carry bear spray in an easy-to-reach location and know how to use it.
  • Leave the area if you see or smell a dead animal.
  • Report any interactions with wildlife, concerning wildlife activity or dead animals to Parks Canada Dispatch 24 hours a day: 780-852-6155.

Visit the Jasper National Park website for more information on wildlife and how to view wildlife safely.

Where to go with questions

  • Jasper National Park Visitor Information Centre
  • Parks Canada information desk at the Icefield Centre

A great trip starts with being informed and prepared. Have a safe and enjoyable visit to Jasper National Park!

Helpful links
  • Plan your visit
  • 511 Alberta
  • Drive BC
  • Wildlife watching
  • Fire information and updates
  • Tourism Jasper
  • Municipality of Jasper
  • Archived newsletters
November 25, 2022

External link: Your winter adventure awaits!

Plain text version

Jasper National Park: Your winter adventure awaits!

Hello winter, welcome back!

It’s the time of year to get excited about Jasper’s winter wonderland! Walk, run, ski, bike, snowshoe and explore to your heart’s content. With Jasper National Park’s abundant trail system and options for all abilities and interests, the park is ‘the’ placea mecca for winter adventure.

Whether you are thinking about visiting, about to set out on your journey to Jasper, or already live here (lucky you), it’s important to brush up on all the safety tips for winter driving, avalanche awareness and navigating the winter trails.

Now it’s time to get prepared and excited! Here’s the scoop on what you can expect this winter in Jasper National Park.

Cross-country skiing

Cross-country skiing is a wonderful way to get your heart pumping and a daily dose of Vitamin D! Whether you’re a beginner or advanced cross-country skier, there’s a groomed trail for all ability levels.

Parks Canada’s groomers are working hard to get classic and skate ski trails ready for winter. Weather and snow conditions play an important part in Jasper National Park’s grooming program. Our goal is to have groomed trails at Whirlpool Winter Hub, Marmot Meadows Winter Hub, Pyramid Fire Road and Wabasso Campground open from December 15 through to March 15, if conditions permit.

Stay tuned to Jasper National Park’s social media channels and trail conditions for up-to-date information. More information on each cross-country ski trail and grooming is available on the Jasper National Park’s cross-country skiing web page.

Whirlpool Cross-Country Ski Hub

After parking your vehicle in the Whirlpool Winter Hub parking lot, a short groomed classic trail connects you to Moab and Leach Lake trailheads. After a great day on the trails, return back to the hub to reward yourself with a cup of hot cocoa and a snack, and chill out with a fire in the shelter’s wood stove. Pit toilets are available on site. How do you get there? Turn off the Icefields Parkway (93N) just south of the park gate onto 93A and follow it directly to the Winter Hub.

Choose from two different in-and-out ski trails (colour indicates level of difficulty):

  • Moab Lake trail: 7.2 km return to Red Chairs (green) or 15.2 km return to Moab Lake (blue), classic and skate lanes – dogs allowedwelcome.
  • Leach Lake trail: 7 km return to Leach Lake (blue) or 13.8 km return to the end of the trail at Geraldine Road (blue) with classic and skate lanes – no dogs.

Note: The section of road from Athabasca Falls to the Geraldine Road on the south end of 93A will be plowed as conditions allow this year. The Athabasca Falls parking lot will serve as the parking hub for people using the Geraldine Road, guests staying at the Sydney Vallance Alpine Club of Canada (ACC) Hut, skiers accessing the south end of the Leach Lake Trail, and of course those visiting the falls!

Pending a decision about Parks Canada’s proposed caribou conservation breeding program, there is potential for construction along Geraldine Road in 2023. Any impacts to trail access in the Geraldine or Fryatt valleys will be updated on Jasper National Park’s important bulletins and trail conditions.

Marmot Meadows Cross-Country Ski Hub

Marmot Meadows Cross-Country Ski Hub has over 11 km of family-friendly groomed classic and skate trails at Whistlers Campground. Bring a picnic and warm up by the fire in the winter shelter. Pit toilets are available on site. How do you get there? Turn off the Icefields Parkway (93N) about 1.6 km south of Whistlers Road.

Choose from four different ski trails (colour indicates level of difficulty):

  • Sparkle Loop (600 m/green/classic & skate trails) – dogs welcome
  • Whistlers Loops (6 km/green/classic & skate trails) – no dogs
  • Aspen Gardens (1.7 km loop/blue/classic-only trails) - no dogs
  • Re Run (3 km loop/black/classic-only trails) – no dogs
Pyramid Fire Road

The Pyramid Fire Road is a great cross-country ski trail where you can choose your turn-around point to suit your ability and adventure! Ski to Pyramid Creek at the end of Pyramid Lake (1.1 km/green), continue on and gain steady elevation on your way to Pyramid Slough (3.1 km/blue). Climb steeply to the lookout over the Athabasca Valley shortly before the end of the groomed trail (6.6 km/black). Snowshoers and fatbikers are welcome to use a designated lane for the first 1.2 km to the Trail 2i junction. Skiers only beyond this point. Dogs are welcome.

Wabasso Campground
Popular with families and dogs, the Wabasso Campground area provides a variety of options for all ski enthusiasts, offering both classic (6.4 km/green) and skate lanes (2.8 km/green) with many loop options. Suitable for the whole family. Dogs are welcome.
Venture beyond

For those skiers looking to venture beyond the groomed trails, there are a lot of skier-set trails available throughout the park. As always, check trail conditions and ice safety and be avalanche-aware.

Note: The section of road from Athabasca Falls to the Geraldine Road on the south end of Hwy 93A will be plowed this year rather than groomed. Please do not park vehicles at the Geraldine Road trailhead because plows, road maintenance and other vehicles need to use the area as a turnaround. The Athabasca Falls parking lot will serve as the parking hub for people exploring the Geraldine and Fryatt Valleys or skiers accessing the south end of the Leach Lake Trail (and of course those visiting the falls!) There is potential for construction along Geraldine Road in 2023, so please check important bulletins and trail conditions before you go.

Snowshoeing

Inspiring the exploration of untracked territory, snowshoeing is one of winter's most accessible activities. Take in all the mountain views and vistas at various trails along the Pyramid Bench, the Maligne Lake Area, and at several locations on the Icefields Parkway. To see a full list of these magical places, visit the Jasper National Park snowshoeing webpage.

Whirlpool snowshoe route *new this year*

Beginning at the shelter at the Whirlpool Winter Hub, an 800 m flat-packed trail takes you along the Whirlpool River (follow the yellow diamonds) to Parks Canada’s famous Red Chairs. Bring a picnic and take a seat on the chairs or at the picnic table and enjoy the sounds of nature and beautiful river views. Dogs are welcome. Level of difficulty: green.

Athabasca River Loop

The Athabasca River Loop at Athabasca Falls will not be flat-packed in 2022-23, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still track your own trail along the spectacular river bank to get iconic views of Mount Kerkeslin. For winter access to the Sydney Vallance ACC hut, this route will be signed for adventurers venturing into the Fryatt Valley. Dogs are welcome. Level of difficulty: green.

Note: This route will be signed to direct those venturing into the Fryatt Valley or Sydney Vallance ACC hut this winter.

Multi-use trails

After a successful first year of flat-packing over 25 km of trails throughout the winter season, the Friends of Jasper National Park will be at it again with the “Snowdog” machine. This incredible work wouldn’t be possible without their amazing volunteers – and they are always looking for more!

Since the trails are multi-use, you can either throw on your winter footwear/ice cleats and walk or run, or rent a fat bike and take in the vistas on two wheels.

All trails are accessible from the Jasper townsite and they include: 4, 4a (Lac Beauvert Loop), 4b, 4e, 7 (Old Fort to Moberly Bridge), 7b, 11, 13 (Big Horn Alley), 14 (Red Squirrel) and 18.

Day use areas

To ensure visitors get to experience Jasper National Park’s most popular locations in the winter, the bridges at Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls and the top three bridges at Maligne Canyon will be cleared for pedestrian access. Note: The fenced-in pathways leading to the lookouts are not cleared in the winter. Be prepared for snow and slippery conditions and wear ice cleats.

Looking to visit Maligne Canyon? Once again this year, the gates accessing the bottom of the canyon will be locked. We strongly encourage those wishing to discover the majesty of the floor of the canyon to do so with a licensed guide. Users not on a guided tour need to have the knowledge, skills and equipment to navigate the canyon’s hazards and travel safely. Learn more about the potential hazards and how to stay safe in the winter on the Jasper National Park winter activities web page and Adventuresmart winter safety web page.

Lake Annette is open again this winter! The main road and upper parking lot will be plowed. Snow on the paved Lake Annette loop (2.4 km) will be periodically removed, and recreationists can enjoy flat-packed and user-packed trails in the area. Dogs are welcome.

Winter camping

To all the diehard campers - yes, the park is open for those willing to brave the cold!

Wapiti Winter Campground (open until May 17, 2023)

Wapiti Winter is first come first served (self-registration) and is close to the Jasper townsite. The campground has 40 electrical sites for RVs and trailers along with flush-toilets, showers, cooking shelter and drinking water. Note: There is no water tank filling station for RVs/trailers or sani dump.

Whirlpool Winter Hub and camping (open until March 15, 2023)

In addition to over 25 km of groomed cross-country ski trails that begin from here, the Whirlpool Winter Hub offers first come first served self-registration camping. There are sites for tents as well as for RVs. Services include cooking shelter, firewood, and pit toilets. Note: there is no power or water on site.

Visit Jasper National Park’s winter camping web page to learn more.

Maligne Lake area

Many people visit this special part of the park for its magnificent views, incredible ski terrain and the endless kilometres of cross-country skiing along Maligne Lake. It’s important to learn about ice safety before you venture out on Jasper’s lakes. Skiing and skating on all lakes and waterways in Jasper National Park is at your own risk.

Snow conditions are often very good at this higher elevation. User-set trails for winter walking, snowshoeing and light ski-touring can be found throughout the area. Bald Hills is open for ski-touring and turns but please note that avalanche terrain exists—be prepared.

Trail safety and etiquette

Whether you’re out for a leisurely ski or a longer backcountry adventure, make your trip to Jasper National Park a safe one. Here are a few trail safety and etiquette tips to make the most of your winter adventure:

  • Choose locations appropriate for your activity and skill level.
  • Respect all dog restrictions and trail or area closures.
  • Avoid walking or snowshoeing on ski trails.
  • Pack out your garbage.

We strongly encourage outdoor recreationists to wear ice cleats, as conditions can be treacherous on many local trails and day use areas.

Winter safety

Safety is a shared responsibility. Before you embark on your journey to Jasper, visit Alberta511 or DriveBC for current road conditions. Changes and closures can happen very quickly in winter, especially on the Icefields Parkway (93N), south of the Jasper townsite.

  • Winter driving on the Icefields Parkway
  • Avalanche bulletin
  • Avalanche terrain ratings
  • Trail conditions in Jasper
  • Ice on ponds, lakes and rivers
  • Jasper weather forecasts
  • Warnings and closures
  • Wildlife viewing and safety measures
  • Trail safety and etiquette

It’s important to note that cell phone coverage is not available everywhere in the park. Please be prepared with a winter driving kit and consult the Jasper National Park Visitor Safety web page for more information. Visit the AdventureSmart winter safety web page for more tips and to file a trip plan.

Questions and information

If you have any questions, please get in touch by emailing jasperinfo@pc.gc.ca or calling 780-852-6176. The Jasper National Park Visitor Information Centre is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm (closed: December 25, 26 and January 1).

We look forward to welcoming you, and wish you a safe and enjoyable visit!

Public Safety
Newsletter date Details
August 28, 2023

External link: Miette Hot Springs reopening September 1, 2023

Plain text version

Miette Hot Springs reopening September 1, 2023

Miette Hot Springs and Miette Hot Springs Bungalows closed unexpectedly on June 19, 2023, following a snow storm that caused a mudslide, hundreds of downed trees, and a significant washout that closed Miette Road.

On September 1, 2023, Parks Canada will welcome visitors back to Miette Hot Springs to once again enjoy the hottest mineral water in the Canadian Rockies. Miette Hot Springs Bungalows, the only privately owned facility past the Miette Road closure, will also reopen.

Visiting Miette Hot Springs

Miette Road will be open by August 31, 2023, with a section of the road limited to single-lane alternating traffic controlled by traffic lights. Please obey reduced speed limits and follow the directions of traffic control equipment. Expect short delays.

Miette Hot Springs hours of operation:

  • 1 pm to 9 pm from September 1 to 4, 2023
  • 2 pm to 8 pm daily from September 5 to October 9, 2023
  • Hours are subject to change.

To maintain the required lifeguard-to-patron ratio, the number of people in the pool during peak visitation periods may be restricted due to staff shortages.

Please visit our website for the latest updates and hours of operation.

Miette Hot Springs will close for the season on October 9, 2023, and will reopen in May 2024.

Safety is our top priority.

Until Miette Road is officially reopened, an area closure order is in place for public safety. Check Alberta511 for the most up-to-date road status.

The washout on Miette Road was on a particularly steep section which made ensuring safe mitigation measures challenging. The washed-out slope has been deemed stable by geotechnical engineers with rerouting to allow for single-lane alternating traffic.

Parks Canada is working on a longer-term solution that will establish a permanent realignment of the road.

Media inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

June 23, 2023

External link: June snowstorm clean-up in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

June snowstorm clean-up in Jasper National Park

Parks Canada is undertaking widespread cleanup efforts after a late-spring snowstorm brought down trees and debris across Jasper National Park. On Monday June 19, 2023, heavy and wet snow brought hundreds of deciduous trees down as well as coniferous trees weakened by pervasive mountain-pine beetle that swept through Western Canada beginning in 2017.

Clean-up and repairs are ongoing and will take time. Primary and secondary roads, reservable campgrounds, day-use areas and day hiking trails are prioritized to be cleaned up first. Backcountry trails will take more time.

Road updates

Maligne Road and Cavell Road are open. An area closure is in place for Cavell Meadows to prevent damage to fragile alpine plants and the trail. Parks Canada will continue to monitor the area and provide an update when it will reopen.

Miette Road sustained significant damage due to a mud slide and washout of a portion of the road. The Miette Road and Miette Hot Springs are closed and an area closure order is in place for public safety. Parks Canada is engaging geotechnical engineers to assess the road and determine the required repairs. An update on the reopening of Miette Road and Miette Hot Springs will be provided as soon as new information is available.

Travellers should be prepared for any weather, anytime of year when visiting the mountains.

For the most up-to-date road conditions, check Alberta 511 frequently.

Trail updates

The recent snowstorm has resulted in snow at higher elevations that will be melting over the next several days leaving the ground wet, muddy and saturated. Consider rescheduling trips at high elevations over the next few days to allow natural snow/mudslides to run their course.

Trail users need to be prepared to encounter trees down on trails and unbridged crossings. Plan a trip suitable to your abilities and wear appropriate gear and footwear to navigate around fallen trees.

You are responsible for your own safety

Share your trip plan details with a reliable local contact who knows when to consider you overdue and who to call for help. AdventureSmart has a feature that allows you to quickly create and share a trip plan digitally. Be prepared to turn around and change your plans if you encounter conditions beyond your ability.

Pay attention to closures and warnings, and remain alert when enjoying the park. Check current trail conditions before heading out.

Thank you!

Parks Canada would like to send our sincere thank you to everyone involved in responding to this snowstorm and the patience of visitors whose plans may have been impacted. From our own frontline staff, the Municipality of Jasper, tourism operators and everyone in between, Jasper National Park is proud to have a team of dedicated staff, partners, stakeholders and residents who stepped up to help neighbours and visitors.

Media inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

June 20, 2023

External link: Significant rain and snow Monday have closed Maligne and Miette roads in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Significant rain and snow Monday have closed Maligne and Miette roads in Jasper National Park

The park received more than 100 mm of rain and 55 cm of snow in some locations. Public safety is our first priority and fortunately, no significant injuries have been reported.

Parks Canada is working on assessing the safety of roads, including the risk of avalanches or mud slides. We recognize this situation may cause delays and impact visitor travel plans.

On Monday, Parks Canada brought approximately 60 people to safety, including hikers on the Skyline trail, paddlers on Maligne Lake and two tour buses full of passengers from Maligne Road, and staff continue to respond to stranded travellers.

Parks Canada expects to have the Miette Road open for single-lane traffic for visitors to leave Miette Hot Springs area by 7 pm, June 20. We will issue an update on the full reopening of Miette Road at a later date.

Maligne Road will remain closed for at least 48-72 hours to allow for any avalanches triggered by the storm to come down and to complete debris removal.

If you haven't heard from a friend or family member travelling in Jasper, please reach out to them. If you're aware of a backcountry camper who hasn't checked in or arrived at their destination as anticipated, please call Parks Canada Dispatch at 780-852-6155. If you are aware of a motorist who hasn't reached their destination, call the RCMP at 780-852-4848.

Check Alberta 511 or call 511 for the latest road conditions.

Media inquiries
Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

April 13, 2023

External link: Warm temperatures increase avalanche hazard

Plain text version

Warm temperatures increase avalanche hazard

Warm temperatures are forecast to hit Jasper and Banff National Park starting Sunday, April 16, 2023. This will increase the avalanche hazard and require avalanche control work.

For public safety, it is anticipated the Icefields Parkway will be closed at 12:00 pm on Friday, April 14, 2023, from Parker Ridge to the Big Bend parking lot. Avalanche control on Friday will reduce the amount of snow on Parker Ridge to reduce the avalanche hazard prior to the warm temperatures. The Icefields Parkway is expected to open at 3:00 pm Friday, April 14, 2023.

Please monitor 511.Alberta.ca frequently for updates.

Backcountry users should check avalanche.ca for updated conditions.

Your safety is our priority.

Parks Canada only closes roads when absolutely necessary, when weather, road or avalanche conditions present a risk to human life. When roads are closed, gates are locked for the safety of park visitors and motorists. Breaking gates or intruding into avalanche control areas is unsafe and illegal.

Closures are likely to occur during the spring melt.

During the spring months, warming conditions can cause frequent short-notice delays. Motorists should be prepared for changing conditions and should consider travelling earlier in the day or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.

If you're heading into the backcountry, be aware that avalanche hazards will increase in the afternoon as daytime warming weakens the upper snowpack. Pay attention to how quickly the day is warming up and to the changing snow conditions on sunny aspects.

Now is the time to start and end your adventure early to avoid the increased hazard in the afternoon.

Plan ahead:

  • Check Alberta 511 for road conditions and traffic information.
  • Always respect road closures and delays.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Be prepared - a detailed list for an emergency car kit can be found here.

Media Inquiries

Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

April 12, 2023

External link: Avalanche control work required on Maligne Road on Wednesday, April 12

Plain text version

Avalanche control work required on Maligne Road on Wednesday, April 12

Warm temperatures are increasing the avalanche hazard. Backcountry users should check avalanche.ca for updated conditions.

For public safety, Maligne Lake Road will be closed at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12, 2023. The day use area at Maligne Canyon and Maligne Hostel will remain accessible. Maligne Lake Road is expected to reopen at 5:00 pm, Wednesday, April 12.

Parks Canada will update 511.Alberta.ca as new information becomes available. Please monitor 511.Alberta.ca frequently for updates.

Your safety is our priority.

Parks Canada only closes roads when absolutely necessary, when weather, road or avalanche conditions present a risk to human life. When roads are closed, gates are locked for the safety of park visitors and motorists. Breaking gates or intruding into avalanche control areas is unsafe and illegal.

Closures are likely to occur during the spring melt.

During the spring months, warming conditions can cause frequent short-notice delays. Motorists should be prepared for changing conditions and should consider travelling earlier in the day or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.

If you're heading into the backcountry, be aware that avalanche hazards will increase in the afternoon as daytime warming weakens the upper snowpack. Pay attention to how quickly the day is warming up and to the changing snow conditions on sunny aspects.

Now is the time to start and end your adventure early to avoid the increased hazard in the afternoon.

Plan ahead:

  • Check Alberta 511 for road conditions and traffic information.
  • Always respect road closures and delays.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Be prepared - a detailed list for an emergency car kit can be found here.

Media Inquiries

Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

April 8, 2023

External link: Spring storm expected Sunday

Plain text version

Spring storm expected Sunday

A spring storm with warm temperatures is forecast to hit Jasper and Banff National Park starting Sunday, April 9, 2023. This will increase the avalanche hazard and may require avalanche control work.

For public safety, the Maligne Lake Road will be closed Sunday, April 9 at 7:00 a.m. from Maligne Hostel to Maligne Lake. The day use area at Maligne Canyon and Maligne Hostel will remain accessible. Maligne Lake Road is expected to reopen Monday. Parks Canada will monitor the storm and update 511.Alberta.ca as new information is available.

For public safety, it is anticipated the Icefields Parkway will be closed Sunday, April 9, 2023 at 3:00 pm from Parker Ridge to Saskatchewan River Crossing. Depending on the amount of snow to be cleared from the Parkway, the closure could last between four hours to an overnight closure. Parks Canada will monitor the storm and update 511.Alberta.ca as new information is available.

Avalanche control work will take place after the storm has passed and conditions are safe to do so.

Backcountry users planning the Pat Schehan traverse or Panther Falls hike on Sunday should reschedule their plans.

Please monitor 511.Alberta.ca frequently for updates.

Your safety is our priority.

Parks Canada only closes roads when absolutely necessary, when weather, road or avalanche conditions present a risk to human life. When roads are closed, gates are locked for the safety of park visitors and motorists. Breaking gates or intruding into avalanche control areas is unsafe and illegal.

To learn more about how the Icefields Parkway is managed, click here.

Closures are likely to occur during the spring melt.

During the spring months, warming conditions can cause frequent short-notice delays. Motorists should be prepared for changing conditions and should consider travelling earlier in the day or later in the evening when temperatures are cooler.

If you're heading into the backcountry, be aware that avalanche hazards will increase in the afternoon as daytime warming weakens the upper snowpack. Pay attention to how quickly the day is warming up and to the changing snow conditions on sunny aspects.

Now is the time to start and end your adventure early to avoid the increased hazard in the afternoon.

Backcountry users should check avalanche.ca for updated conditions.

Plan ahead:

  • Check Alberta 511 for road conditions and traffic information.
  • Always respect road closures and delays.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Be prepared - a detailed list for an emergency car kit can be found here.

Media Inquiries

Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

March 6, 2023

External link: Avalanche control work planned for Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Plain text version

Avalanche control work planned for Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Expect temporary delays on Icefields Parkway

Warming temperatures are forecast for Jasper and Banff national parks. As a result, Parks Canada is planning avalanche control work along the Icefields Parkway (93N) to reduce the amount of unstable snow at low elevations in preparation for spring avalanche conditions.

For public safety, it is anticipated that the Icefields Parkway will be closed Wednesday, March 8, 2023, for up to two hours at a time from 11 am to 5 pm from Parker Ridge to Saskatchewan River Crossing.

Please monitor 511.Alberta.ca frequently for updates.

Your safety is our priority.

Parks Canada only closes roads when absolutely necessary, when weather, road or avalanche conditions present a risk to human life. When roads are closed, gates are locked for the safety of park visitors and motorists. Breaking gates or intruding into avalanche control areas is unsafe and illegal.

Click here to learn more about how the Icefields Parkway is managed in winter.

Backcountry users should check avalanche.ca for updated conditions.

Plan ahead:

  • Check Alberta 511 for road conditions and traffic information.
  • Always respect road closures and delays.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Be prepared - a detailed list for an emergency car kit can be found here.

Media Inquiries

Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

February 13, 2023

External link: Update: Icefields Parkway and Maligne Lake Road are open

Plain text version

Update: Icefields Parkway and Maligne Lake Road are open

The Icefields Parkway and Maligne Lake Road are open. Snowfall levels from the winter storm forecasted to hit Jasper National Park starting February 12, 2023 were not as significant as expected.

Be prepared for changing weather - the Icefields Parkway is a mountain road with high elevation passes and exposed areas. The weather in the mountains can change quickly. It is not uncommon to have a sunny day in Jasper and a blizzard at the Columbia Icefield. Snow can be expected at any time of year.

High wind, blowing snow, and snowdrifts, are common near the Icefield Centre (105 km south of Jasper, 125 km north of Lake Louise). Be sure to drive defensively and obey speed limits.

Please monitor 511.Alberta.ca frequently for updates.

Your safety is our priority.

Parks Canada only closes roads when absolutely necessary, when weather, road or avalanche conditions present a risk to human life. When roads are closed, gates are locked for the safety of park visitors and motorists. Breaking gates or intruding into avalanche control areas is unsafe and illegal.

To learn more about how the Icefields Parkway is managed in winter, click here.

Backcountry users should check avalanche.ca for updated conditions.

Plan ahead:

  • Check Alberta 511 for road conditions and traffic information.
  • Always respect road closures and delays.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Be prepared - a detailed list for an emergency car kit can be found here.

Media Inquiries

Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

February 12, 2023

External link: Avalanche control work planned

Plain text version

Avalanche control work planned

A winter storm is forecast to hit Jasper National Park starting February 12, 2023, bringing upwards of 20 to 30 cm of snow. This will increase the avalanche hazard and require avalanche control work.

For public safety, the Icefields Parkway (93N) will be closed Monday, February 13, 2023 at 11:00 a.m. from Parker Ridge to Saskatchewan River Crossing. Parks Canada will monitor the storm and update 511.Alberta.ca as new information is available.

For public safety, the Maligne Lake road will be closed Monday, February 13, 2023 at 8:00 a.m. from Maligne Hostel to Maligne Lake. The day use area at Maligne Canyon and Maligne Hostel will remain accessible. Parks Canada will monitor the storm and update 511.Alberta.ca as new information is available.

Avalanche control work will take place after the storm has passed and conditions are safe to do so.

Please monitor 511.Alberta.ca frequently for updates.

Your safety is our priority.

Parks Canada only closes roads when absolutely necessary, when weather, road or avalanche conditions present a risk to human life. When roads are closed, gates are locked for the safety of park visitors and motorists. Breaking gates or intruding into avalanche control areas is unsafe and illegal.

To learn more about how the Icefields Parkway is managed in winter, click here.

Backcountry users should check avalanche.ca for updated conditions.

Plan ahead:

  • Check Alberta 511 for road conditions and traffic information.
  • Always respect road closures and delays.
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Be prepared - a detailed list for an emergency car kit can be found here.

Media Inquiries

Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

Wildlife
Newsletter date Details
September 19, 2023

External link: Seriously injured black bear cub euthanized for humane reasons

Plain text version

Seriously injured black bear cub euthanized for humane reasons

Over the last month or so, there has been a recognizable black bear family in town composed of a mother and her three cubs. The family was easy to spot as the adult female and two of the cubs were a light cinnamon colour, while the third cub was black. Sometime on September 7 or 8, 2023, one of the cinnamon-coloured cubs lost one of its hind legs due to a severe injury.

The family unit was spotted with the injured cub in the Jasper townsite on September 9, but by the next day, the mother had abandoned the injured cub, and on September 11, the cub was reported alone outside of town. Parks Canada wildlife specialists determined the probability of the injured cub surviving was extremely low, and made the difficult decision to capture, sedate and humanely euthanize the cub.

“The injury was consistent with what we'd expect to find in a railway incident, but we can't point at that definitively without having witnessed it," said David Argument, Resource Conservation Manager for Jasper National Park.

Three-phase approach for addressing the risk to public safety with bears in town

Parks Canada responds to bears in town by using a variety of hazing strategies to deter the bears. When hazing is unsuccessful and bears display strong habituation behaviours, the next option considered is to trap and relocate the bears. This option is not used for all bears that frequent town, as it is not always successful; relocated bears are known to have lower survival rates and may travel long distances to return to town. As a last resort, a decision may be made to destroy a bear.

Cycle of black bears in town continues as cubs return year after year

The mother bears are teaching their cubs that the town’s 700+ fruit trees are a good source of food. A yearling black bear that was frequenting fruit trees in town this year is thought to have learned this habit from her mother last year (this yearling was recently captured and relocated east of the townsite).

Keeping bears out of town is not possible while fruit remains accessible as a food source. In the 4-kilometre span of town there are approximately 700 non-native fruit trees, creating a strong attractant for bears stocking up on calories before winter. Each day spent in town further habituates these bears and reduces their wariness of humans, vehicles and trains. Once bears feed on fruit, they will repeatedly come back for more until the tree is removed. Even after tree removal, bears tend to return to the same spot until they learn that location is fruitless.

Removing fruit trees reduces the risk to public safety

Bears in residential areas pose a potential risk to public safety, and Parks Canada is seeking help from the community to secure or remove bear attractants in the townsite, especially fruit trees.

  • You can pick your fruit (including ornamental berries), or bear-proof your tree, but the most effective thing you can do is remove your fruit tree.
  • If you have fruit trees you would like to remove, we may be able to do it for you, free of charge!
  • Larger trees, or trees that represent a safety concern (power lines, overhanging building, etc.) may require specialized services, currently at the property owner’s expense. Call 780-852-8118 today for a free assessment.

In cooperation with the Municipality of Jasper, Parks Canada is removing non-native fruit trees on municipal property. This work is important, but this effort must be community-wide to truly make an impact and give bears the highest chance of survival.

If you spot a bear in the Jasper townsite, please report it immediately to Parks Canada Dispatch at 780-852-6155.

Parks Canada staff respond to all reports of bears in town and will haze bears out of trees and away from town when it is safe to do so. Swift responses to bear issues will help ensure public safety. If you see bears in town being moved by Parks Canada staff, keep a distance of 100 metres to give staff the space they need to work safely.

Information

To learn more about bears, visit our website at parks.canada.ca/bears-and-people.

For questions or concerns about fruit tree bear management in Jasper, please email jasperwildlife-jasperfaune@pc.gc.ca

Media inquiries

Media Relations
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

September 1, 2023

External link: Black bears are bearing down on fruit trees in Jasper townsite

Plain text version

Black bears are bearing down on fruit trees in Jasper townsite

On Thursday, August 31, 2023, Parks Canada successfully captured one black bear mother and her cub in a family trap within the Jasper townsite and they will be released in the eastern region of the national park. Relocating this bear and her cub away from high human-use areas keeps people safe and decreases the chance that they will become further food conditioned, giving the bears a better chance for survival. There are now currently eight black bears, including one family group with young cubs, frequenting the residential areas of Jasper to access fruit trees.

Mother bears are teaching their cubs that the town is a good place to find food, and the bears are becoming increasingly habituated. Once bears feed on fruit, they will repeatedly come back for more; keeping these bears out of town is not possible while fruit remains accessible as a food source. Bears in residential areas pose a potential risk to public safety, and Parks Canada is seeking help from the community to secure or remove bear attractants in the townsite, especially fruit trees.

Removing fruit trees reduces the risk to public safety

We need your help! You can pick your fruit, remove your fruit tree or bear-proof your tree. If you have fruit trees you would like to remove, we may be able to do it for you free of charge! Larger trees, or trees that represent a safety concern (power lines, overhanging buildings, etc.) may require specialized services, currently at the property owner’s expense. Call 780-852-8118 today for a free assessment.

Parks Canada is thankful the Municipality of Jasper is working closely with us to remove non-native fruit trees on municipal property. This work is important, but this effort must be community-wide to truly make an impact and give bears the highest chance of survival.

As long as fruit trees remain in town - expect to see bears

Visitors and residents of Jasper should anticipate seeing or encountering bears in the townsite throughout the fall. As children return to school, families are reminded to take responsibility for their own safety. Children walking to school need to be aware and/or accompanied by an adult.

  • Check your yard for wildlife before you leave your house.
  • Travel in groups and supervise children.
  • Make noise while travelling.
  • Stay alert for bears; do not wear headphones or earbuds.
  • Do not approach or surround bears.
  • Always maintain a safe distance (100 m or 10 bus lengths) from bears.
  • Dogs must be on leash.

If you spot a bear in the Jasper townsite, please report it immediately to Parks Canada Dispatch at 780-852-6155. Parks Canada staff respond to all reports of bears in town and will haze bears out of trees and away from town when it is safe to do so. Swift responses to bear issues will help ensure public safety. If you see bears in town being moved by Parks Canada staff, maintain a distance of 100 m to give staff the space they need to work safely.

If bears continue to feed on fruit trees, the risk to human safety may require destruction of the bears.

Information

To learn more about bears, visit our website at parks.canada.ca/bears-and-people.

For questions or concerns about fruit tree bear management in Jasper, please email jasperwildlife-jasperfaune@pc.gc.ca

Media inquiries

Media Relations
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

August 31, 2023

External link: Elk rut underway in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Elk rut underway in Jasper National Park

From late August to mid-October, Jasper National Park is noisy with the bugling calls of bull elk, which sound like a high-pitched roar followed by low coughs or grunts. During the rutting (mating) season, elk form groups called harems, with one dominant bull elk and many females. Bulls become extremely aggressive as they are protecting their harems from other males.

View elk safely

The key to safe wildlife viewing is giving elk and other animals the space they need. Parks Canada regulations require a distance of at least 30 meters away for viewing elk. Photograph the animal in its natural environment or use a telephoto lens rather than moving closer to the animal. Do not follow elk into the bush, nor try enticing them with food or by simulating animal calls. While it might be temping, taking a selfie with wildlife is dangerous; never put people (especially children) at risk by posing them with wildlife.

How to avoid a negative elk encounter

  • Stay 30 metres (three bus lengths) away from all elk.
  • Travel in groups and keep everyone together; children should be within arm’s reach. Carry pepper spray and consider a visual deterrent like a walking stick or umbrella.
  • Dogs must be on leash and under control. Elk view dogs as potential predators and may charge at or attack them. Consider leaving your dog at home.
  • Never stand, walk, drive, or park your car between a male and the females.

If you encounter elk, keep at least 30 metres away, and never get between a male and the females. Do not drive or park your vehicle between a male and the females.

What to do if an elk gets too close

  • Keep your eyes on the elk and move away. Do not turn away or run.
  • Try not to make direct eye contact.
  • Seek protection behind a tree or vehicle.
  • Raise your arms or flap a jacket to make yourself appear larger.
  • Contact encounters are rare, but if you are knocked down, get up and move away.

Report any interactions with wildlife, concerning wildlife activity or dead animals to Parks Canada Dispatch 24 hours a day: 780-852-6155.

Information

Important bulletins: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasper-alerts
Wildlife safety: parkscanada.gc.ca/wildlife-safety

Media inquiries

Media Relations
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

August 8, 2023

External link: Multiple grizzly bears find human food at busy picnic areas in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Multiple grizzly bears find human food at busy picnic areas in Jasper National Park

Two recent events involving grizzly bears eating human food at picnic areas near Jasper led to one bear family being relocated within the park.

Some bears in Jasper National Park have become familiar with the town and recreational areas as reliable places to find food. In summer, non-native fruit trees are ripening and the number of people in the park is at a high. Bears living in constant proximity to people and residences are more likely to gain access to human food or garbage and end up in accidental aggressive physical encounters. Parks Canada needs the support of all visitors and community members to ensure that wildlife attractants and human food are not accessible to wildlife in the park

On July 24, 2023, a female grizzly bear with two cubs fed on human food at Lake Annette and Lake Edith.

As the bears approached the picnic area, people retreated to the safety of their vehicles. The female and cubs ate food left behind at two picnic sites. Later that same day, the bear and cubs investigated and pulled items out of a bag on the shore at Lake Edith.

This female bear and cubs have been feeding in the valley bottom near the Jasper townsite since the middle of May. Parks Canada’s human-wildlife coexistence specialists used a variety of actions over the last several months to move the bears away from day-use areas, roadsides and the golf course. As the bears often fed in high human-use areas, many people and photographers were able to watch them for extended periods of time and at close distances. This repeated exposure to people in close proximity contributed to the bears becoming habituated to people.

Once a bear becomes food-conditioned and loses its caution towards humans, it is a risk to human safety and options for managing the bear become limited. Parks Canada considered several courses of action for this female bear and her cubs. Relocation within the park is one of the options when it is no longer possible to safely manage a bear in its home range.

On July 27, Parks Canada captured the female bear and her cubs in a “family trap” and the adult was fitted with a GPS collar. The family was relocated to a southern area of the park the following day. Using the GPS collar to track the bear’s movements allows early intervention if she comes close to high human-use areas or travels back towards the Jasper townsite.

This year was the first time this bear family needed intervention by human-wildlife coexistence specialists. Relocating this bear and her cubs away from high human-use areas keeps people safe and decreases the chance that she and her cubs will become further food conditioned, giving the bears a better chance for survival. At the same time, trapping, immobilizing and relocating is stressful and risky for bears—particularly cubs. The bears relocated from Jasper townsite may now face new risks associated with being released into unfamiliar habitat that may already be occupied by other bears.

Parks staff continue to monitor and manage the bears daily. The bear family has been sighted along the Icefields Parkway (93N) near the Jasper and Banff national park boundary. Please stay in your vehicle and do not stop to view the collared grizzly and cubs to prevent further habituation.

Another grizzly bear is being monitored after feeding on human food at the Sixth Bridge picnic site at Maligne Canyon.

On July 26, 2023, a solo grizzly bear climbed onto a picnic table at the sixth bridge at Maligne Canyon and fed on human food when picnickers briefly left a table unattended. The bear moved away after 20 minutes and has not been involved in any additional incidents since. Parks staff continue to watch for this bear and are closely monitoring the situation.

Wildlife safety is a shared responsibility.

To keep bears alive and wild in Jasper National Park:

  • Follow bare campsite rules. Never leave any food or scented items unattended.
  • Do not approach or surround bears. Always maintain a safe distance (100 m). Follow wildlife viewing restrictions and give wildlife space.
  • If wildlife approaches you, move calmly to the safety of a hard-sided vehicle or shelter and take food and garbage with you if it is safe to do so.
  • Keep pets on leash—it’s the law.
  • If you see any bear in town or in a busy visitor area, report it immediately by calling Parks Canada Dispatch at 780-852-6155. Timely reporting is essential for Parks Canada staff to be able to change bear behaviour. The potential for successful human-bear coexistence is higher with early intervention.

Information

Important bulletins: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasper-alerts
Wildlife safety: parkscanada.gc.ca/wildlife-safety
Bare campsite: parks.canada.ca/bare-campsite

Media inquiries

Media Relations
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

August 2, 2023

External link: Fruit trees attracting bears into the Jasper townsite

Plain text version

Fruit trees attracting bears into the Jasper townsite

Removing bear attractants from the Jasper townsite keeps people safe and gives bears the best chance of survival.

Several incidents of black bears feeding in fruit trees within the Jasper townsite have occurred already this summer. This behaviour has increased over the last several years and is happening earlier and earlier in the summer as bears have learned they can find food to eat in town.

Bears are drawn into town by fruit on ornamental trees not native to our region including apple, crabapple, mayday, pin cherry and chokecherry. Once a bear’s food-seeking behaviour becomes established, it will repeatedly come back for more unless the food source is removed. When a bear becomes food-conditioned, Parks Canada has limited options for managing the bear. If a bear continues to seek out food around people’s homes, the risk to human safety may require the destruction of the bear.

To keep people and bears safe, Parks Canada has been working with residents and the Municipality of Jasper to remove non-native fruit trees. With bears frequenting the townsite again, residents should take steps now to remove fruit and any other potential attractants from their properties.

Steps you can take to keep bears out of town:

  • Remove fruit trees on your property. Parks Canada may be able to help: Call a human-wildlife coexistence specialist at 780-852-8118.
  • Pick fruit from your trees early and completely.
  • Use a temporary electric fence, with appropriate safety precautions.
  • In some specific cases, it may be effective to encase the trunk of a tree in tin to prevent bears from climbing and accessing fruit.
  • Treat your backyard like a backcountry campsite: Remove all possible wildlife attractants including bird feeders and pet food, and clean BBQ grease catchers.
  • If you see a bear in town, phone Parks Canada Dispatch immediately at 780-852-6155 (24 hours a day).
  • Do not approach or surround bears. Maintain a safe distance (100 m) at all times.

With your help, Parks Canada can quickly respond to bears in town and together we can support healthy human-wildlife coexistence.

More information

Important bulletins: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasper-alerts
Wildlife safety: parkscanada.gc.ca/wildlife-safety

Media inquiries

Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

May 11, 2023

External link: Elk calving and bear safety reminders

Plain text version

Elk calving and bear safety reminders

Elk and bears are part of the natural landscape of Jasper National Park. At this time of year, both elk and bears are more active beside roads and highways, taking advantage of newly sprouted vegetation. Because of this, springtime brings a greater potential for negative interactions with these large and powerful animals.

Stay alert

You are responsible for your own safety. Pay attention to closures and warnings, and remain alert when enjoying the park. Travel in groups and keep everyone together, with children within arm’s reach. Make noise during your travels. Travel slowly when biking or running, and do not wear earbuds. Be alert!

To help keep wildlife wild, remain safely in your vehicle when viewing wildlife in Jasper National Park.

Dogs must be on leash and under control

Keeping your dog on a leash and under physical control isn’t just a recommendation; it’s the law. Dogs can trigger aggressive behaviour from unpredictable predators like bears, wolves and coyotes, increasing the probability of a negative wildlife interaction.

Predators perceive domestic dogs, whether on leash or off, as competition or prey, and may either attack dogs, or chase an off-leash dog back to its owners or other people. After repeat encounters with dogs, wildlife can lose their natural wariness of humans and become risks to public safety. Elk often view dogs as potential predators and may charge at or attack them. Consider leaving your dog at home if you are not willing to keep it on a leash at all times.

Elk

Elk calving season is beginning May 15 and will last through the end of June. During calving season, protective mothers aggressively defend their newborns by kicking and charging at people. Do not approach elk in any season as they are dangerous and can attack without warning.

How to avoid an elk encounter
  • Stay 30 metres (three bus lengths) away from all elk.
  • Avoid lone female elk as they may have separated from the herd for calving and may have calves hidden nearby.
  • Walk in open areas rather than forested trails to avoid unexpected encounters with female elk or calves.
  • Travel in groups, carry pepper spray and consider a visual deterrent like a walking stick or umbrella.
What to do if you can’t avoid an elk encounter
  • Act dominant.
  • Raise your arms or flap a jacket to make yourself appear larger.
  • Maintain eye contact and move away.
  • Seek protection behind a tree or vehicle.
  • Contact encounters are rare. If you’re knocked down, get up and move away. Do not play dead!

Bears

Black bears and grizzly bears are out of hibernation. Bears can be extremely sensitive to the stress of human activity, even when that stress is not evident to you. The best thing you can do for bears is to limit their exposure to you and avoid encounters.

How to avoid a bear encounter
  • Travel in groups, carry bear spray in an easy-to-reach location and know how to use it.
  • Consider bringing an additional bear deterrent such as an air horn to scare a bear that is approaching from a distance.
  • Bear bells or speakers playing music are not generally considered effective bear deterrents and may provide a false sense of security or even dull your senses to your surroundings.
  • Be especially cautious at dawn and dusk when bears are most active.
  • Leave the area if you see or smell a dead animal.
What to do if you can’t avoid a bear encounter
  • Stop and remain calm.
  • Make yourself appear BIG.
  • Pick up small children and stay in a group.
  • Get ready to use your bear spray.
  • Speak to the bear calmly and firmly.
  • Back away slowly. Never run.
  • Keep your pack on as it can provide protection.

Report any interactions with wildlife, concerning wildlife activity or dead animals to Parks Canada Dispatch 24 hours a day: 780-852-6155.

Media Inquiries

Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

March 31, 2023

External link: Bears are out in Jasper National Park

Plain text version

Bears are out in Jasper National Park

As you enjoy the forests, mountains, rivers and lakes of Jasper National Park, expect to encounter wildlife.

Spring brings important changes to the landscape and to wildlife behaviour in the park, particularly around Jasper townsite. At least one black bear has already been spotted in the valley bottom near the townsite, and grizzly bears are expected soon. Be ready to encounter wildlife, brush up on wildlife safety tips, and add bear spray back into your adventure kit.

You are responsible for your own safety. Pay attention to closures and warnings, and remain alert when enjoying the park.

At this time of year, wildlife is also more active beside roads and highways, taking advantage of newly sprouted vegetation. To help keep wildlife wild, please remain safely in your vehicle when viewing wildlife in Jasper National Park.

To avoid an encounter, be prepared to do the following:

  • Travel in groups and keep everyone together.
  • Make noise during your travels.
  • Be alert! Travel slowly when biking or running, and do not wear earbuds.
  • Be especially cautious at dawn and dusk, when wildlife is most active.
  • Carry bear spray in an easy-to-reach location and know how to use it.
  • Keep your dog on a leash at all times, and walk your dog during daylight hours if possible.
  • Keep children within arm's reach.
  • Leave the area if you see or smell a dead animal.
  • Report any concerning wildlife activity or dead animals to Parks Canada Dispatch 24 hours a day: 780-852-6155.

These simple tips and precautions will help you and your family be ready and safe, and will also help protect the wild animals that call these landscapes home.

Jasper residents with fruit trees

In 2022, there were several occurrences of bears feeding on fruit trees within the Jasper townsite. This behaviour poses risks to public safety and to bears that become habituated to human food.

Fruit trees can be maintained or removed to reduce or eliminate this wildlife hazard. At your request, Parks Canada will remove fruit trees from your property at no charge. Call 780-852-6155 for more information.

Information
Important bulletins: parkscanada.gc.ca/jasper-alerts
Wildlife safety: parkscanada.gc.ca/wildlife-safety

Media inquiries
Jasper National Park
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

November 7, 2022

External link: 2022 Bear Update

Plain text version

2022 Bear Update

As snow settles in for winter, so do bears across Jasper National Park. 2022 saw frequent bear activity in the Municipality of Jasper, with about a dozen bears drawn to town by attractants in yards and non-native fruit trees. Thank you to all the residents, businesses and the municipality who worked with Parks Canada to remove fruit trees and other bear attractants. More than 100 non-native fruit trees were removed across the municipality and at Jasper Park Lodge.

Relocating bears: A last resort

Human-wildlife conflict specialists responded to the unwelcome visitors using a variety of hazing strategies to deter bear presence in the townsite. In some cases, trapping and relocating the bears was a necessary last step in ensuring both bear and human safety. Trapping, immobilization and release is a last resort because it is stressful and risky for bears, particularly cubs. Bears across the park are now looking for denning sites or have settled into dens for the winter and Parks Canada is pleased to report all relocated bears have kept their distance from town.

Grizzly siblings: Update since May 2022

This pair was spotted in various yards throughout town in May 2022. On May 31, Parks Canada staff trapped, put GPS collars on and relocated the male and female siblings to the south end of the park. By the middle of the summer, the pair had separated. The male remained in the southeast corner of Jasper National Park, while the female moved south into Banff National Park.

Black bears: Update since September 2022

On September 9, 2022, Parks Canada staff successfully trapped one mother and her two cubs using a borrowed family bear trap from Banff National Park. This family unit had frequently accessed fruit trees in the Jasper townsite. The bears were released into suitable habitat in a remote area of the park along the Icefields Parkway. They were spotted by a hiker on the Poboktan Trail and have not been observed or recorded any further north, likely denning well away from the town.

A second family of black bears was trapped on October 4, 2022, and relocated to the south end of the park. The mother bear’s last telemetry signal was within the Tonquin area where they are presumed to be denning this winter.

Three other individual black bears frequented town. Two of these were last spotted in town on October 14 and are presumed to be denning in an unknown location. The third was trapped and relocated on October 23 and will hopefully den in his new surroundings at the south end of the park.

Wildlife safety is a shared responsibility

While the bears may be snoozing, many other animals keep roaming in the winter. For wildlife safety tips all year round, please visit the Jasper National Park website.

Parks Canada recommends dog walkers still carry bear spray while in the park for potential encounters with wolves or cougars. Keep bear spray in a warm place like your pocket and do not let it freeze. Always keep your dog on a leash to ensure the safety of you and your pet and to help protect national park wildlife and habitat.

Related bear updates:

  • September 15, 2022
  • September 8, 2022
  • August 25, 2022
  • June 8, 2022
  • May 27, 2022

Media Inquiries

Public Relations and Communications
Jasper National Park
Tel: 780-852-6109
Email: jnpmedia@pc.gc.ca

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