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Home » Breaking News » Parks Canada releases info and requests feedback on Icefields Trail Proposal

About the Icefields Trail

The Icefields Parkway is one of the most scenic drives in the world, offering visitors vistas of snow-capped peaks, glaciers, waterfalls, glacier-fed rivers and lakes. It also provides an opportunity to glimpse some notable Rocky Mountain wildlife, such as mountain goats, bighorn sheep, wolves, black bears and eagles.

As part of Budget 2016, the Government of Canada announced funding for a proposed recreational trail along the Icefields Parkway. The total budget of the project is $86.4 million. Budget 2016 earmarked $65.9 million for the consultation, design and construction of the Icefields Trail. Following the outcome of consultations and detailed impact analysis (commonly referred to as an environmental assessment), Parks Canada would contribute $20.5 million towards the overall planning, design and construction.

The idea of the Icefields Trail project is based on the Icefields Parkway Strategic Concept (2009), which was guided by a public steering committee with Indigenous representation and included input from the public. The concept for the project is also part of the management plans for both Jasper National Park (2010) and Banff National Park (2010), which involved extensive public consultations.

Detailed maps can be found here: Proposed Icefields Trail (North) Maps

The trail concept calls for an environmentally-friendly recreational trail that will meet the needs of a range of users, particularly families with children who wish to leave their cars and explore the park. This trail would also improve visitor safety by moving cyclists away from the road and onto a trail.

The proposed route would wind through land already zoned for outdoor recreation (Zone 4, Outdoor Recreation), roughly parallel to the Icefields Parkway. For the most part, the trail would be 20 to 30 metres away from the highway, providing a comfortable and secure experience for visitors to enjoy beautiful views and vistas, while ensuring environmental impacts of important wilderness areas are minimized.

Parks Canada has developed some principles to guide decisions on the proposed Icefields Trail (North), such as making use of existing disturbed areas, like other trails and old paved roads. The Icefields Trail would follow Parks Canada’s established processes and rigorous standards for ecological protection, while providing a meaningful experience for visitors.

In managing national parks, Parks Canada maintains or restores ecological integrity, and provides Canadians with opportunities to discover and enjoy them. Developing new and innovative visitor experiences allows more Canadians, including youth and newcomers, to experience the outdoors and learn about our environment and history. It is important to note that strict development limits are in place to ensure the protection of ecological integrity in all of Canada’s national parks, including Jasper National Park.

The consultations, along with the results from the detailed impact analysis, will inform the decision on the overall project.

Public consultation

Public consultation and engagement is a key priority for Parks Canada. As with all similar projects, Parks Canada is consulting with Indigenous Peoples, partners, stakeholders and the public on the proposed Icefields Trail Project. Through these consultations, Parks Canada hopes to identify issues and opportunities that will be considered in the decision making process.

Your feedback will help determine the overall direction of the Icefields Trail (North). It, along with the detailed impact analysis, is critical.

If you cannot make an engagement session, you can download information.

Feedback form

Icefields Trail (North) Public Consultations – Part 1

AMPPE Postion Statement on Icefields Trail

Next steps

Item   Dates                            

Part 1: Public/Indigenous consultation – Input for drafting detailed impact analysis
March 1 – April 24, 2017

Drafting detailed impact analysis for Part 2 of consultations – Incorporate Part 1 comments
May – July 2017

Part 2: Public/Indigenous consultation – Review draft detailed impact analysis
– Draft detailed impact analysis (including considering consultations) available for public and Indigenous review, available both in hard copy and online.
Mid-July – Mid-August, 2017

Decision on detailed impact analysis
September 2017

More information available here.

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