AMPPE unveils new vision and expanded direction for 2018.

Tuesday March 28th, 2018 – Banff Crag and Canyon. Article by Casey Peirce.

As The Association for Mountain Parks Protection & Enjoyment heads into its 24th year of operation, we recognize that it is more important than ever to be speaking passionately about the visitor experience in Canada’s Rocky Mountain National Parks. For over 20 years, AMPPE has supported the businesses and service providers in the parks through many challenges and successes, and we are excited to continue this mission with an expanded reach and voice of the thousands of recreationalists that visit our parks every year.

Sir David Attenborough says it best when talking about the balance of experience and ecological integrity in unique environments around the world. In his words: “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.” AMPPE is the very voice of representing this mission in the rocky mountain national parks.

AMPPE was created in 1994 by a group of concerned business owners in the mountain parks in response to new legislation limiting development, also known as the Banff Bow Valley Study. That study made it very apparent that critical decisions were being made at the federal level in Ottawa without the input of the local business operators and citizens in the mountain park region. We recognize that this process continues to this day and that there is a strong need for the visitor voice to be heard at these policy making meetings.

Brad Pierce, parks advocate and former member of the Banff Bow Valley Study roundtable gives some background: “The genesis of AMPPE was to address the imbalance in the conversation regarding the future of the management of BNP particularly in relation to the mandate of the Banff Bow Valley Study which originally appeared to exclude human activity in the Parks. AMPPE was able to bring some balance back resulting in the groundbreaking consensus achieved by the study’s citizen’s roundtable which, though ignored by Ottawa, established the basis for collaborative decision making that until recently has resulted in positive gains in both visitor experience and ecological integrity. Unfortunately, the same negative influences that would sway decisions only one way by regulation from afar are back and AMPPE’s constructive voice at the table is needed now more than ever!”

Since inception, AMPPE has had a strong impact in advocating for its members at the municipal, provincial and federal levels of government as well as with Parks Canada. In 2018 and beyond, through AMPPE’S diverse membership base and partnerships, we will continue to present a strong and powerful voice of the mountain park users and service providers to ensure that the balanced usage of our mountain parks remains a key area of focus. We are committed to fostering a mountain park environment that provides a positive visitor experience for all.

“AMPPE has always recognized that people come here to see not only Banff but the surrounding areas, and we have supported that knowledge with representation from many members in not only Banff but Lake Louise, Yoho, Kootenay and Jasper. We are always looking for ways to support the improvements of the entire mountain park experience whether it is wayfinding, indigenous culture, seasonal closures for wildlife, camping, paddling, road biking, snow shoeing or fat biking.” Says Mark Howe, owner of Jasper Whitewater Rafting Company and AMPPE board chairman.

The AMPPE board of directors has been highly engaged in this process and has provided strong support and clear guidance in the direction of the organization. To this end AMPPE has created a re-focused future that includes an expanded vision, mission and mandate, closer relationships and information sharing with all current members, position papers around relevant mountain park issues, and a more engaging feedback process for our new inclusion of mountain national park users.

Our voice will be representative of member driven needs and desires for the diverse and responsible human enjoyment of rocky mountain national parks. Through a variety of tactics we will convey the importance of those experiences to the regulators of policy around parks.

AMPPE’s core beliefs in the importance of the access, enjoyment and connection for Canadians in the national parks are in accordance with the National Parks Act that states: “The national parks of Canada are hereby dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education and enjoyment, subject to this Act and the regulations, and the parks shall be maintained and made use of so as to leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.”

It is our vision is that visitor experience remains enshrined in the National Parks Act and becomes a leading principle in the rocky mountain National Park Management Plans. This translates into a mission of ensuring current and future generations of Canadians and visitors are able to access the rocky mountain national parks for their responsible enjoyment and diverse experiences both in summer and winter. We must maintain this region for the human use in balance with the ecology of the parks in keeping with what we have held of value for over 100 years. Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks are world leaders in maintaining the preservation of wild spaces in concert with providing incredible atmosphere for the people.

“The four internationally iconic , environmentally leading rocky mountain ski resorts are — and have always been — the prime reason Canadians visit their national parks in winter,” says Crosbie Cotton, director of the National Ski Areas Association. “The more than 1.5 million skiers days these visitors enjoy every year stand in spectacular testament to the full breath of the Parks Canada official mandate — ecological integrity, human enjoyment, culture and education. It is a mandate AMPPE actively pursues.”

AMPPE’s specific mandate for advocacy is now twofold: as a platform for park users to broadcast messaging that supports continued access and enjoyment of the rocky mountain national parks and to align with our partners to strive for visitor experience to be represented in our regional national park management plans.

Supported and guided by the vision of the board of directors who represent the largest cross section of industry and visitation in the rocky mountain national parks, AMPPE will continue to have an impact in partnership with our members and stakeholders on important policy decisions through our provision of user needs and desires evidenced by direct user and partner feedback data.

Those who attended the 2016 AMPPE Gala will remember how keynote speaker Mr. Rex Murphy so eloquently stated what we all know to be true in his address. “Parks need people just as much as people need the parks.” The Association for Mountain Parks Protection and Enjoyment couldn’t agree more.