Parks Canada has announced that it will be restricting private vehicles at Moraine Lake, one of the most popular tourist destinations in Banff National Park (Alberta, Canada). The move aims to balance the growing number of visitors with protecting the environment.
The new restriction will require visitors to take shuttles, local transit, or commercial vehicles to visit the iconic blue alpine lake and its nearby climbing routes and hiking trails.
Environmental groups have praised the decision, saying it’s a good start to protect the ecological integrity of the national park. However, some Alberta politicians said it could reduce visitor access to the popular tourist area.
Jed Cochrane, Parks Canada’s visitor experience manager for the Lake Louise, Yoho, and Kootenay field unit, said the move was necessary to improve people’s trips to the area.
Cochrane has said other measures are still being considered to reduce traffic congestion. The agency aims to improve the visitor experience and balance its mandate between ecological integrity and visitor experience.
Katie Morrison, executive director of the southern Alberta chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said it’s a good decision.
“In all the Rocky Mountain national parks, but especially Banff, we’ve seen huge increases in visitor use over the past several years,” she said. “We know this can have an effect both on people’s experience in the park and also things like wildlife and wildlife movement.”
According to a recent report, there has been a 29% increase in visitation to Banff National Park between 2010 and 2019.
Additionally, at Lake Louise, there has been a 71% increase in traffic over the past decade, leading to significant congestion.
The new restrictions on private vehicles at Moraine Lake are seen as a necessary step in addressing these issues and ensuring that visitors can continue to enjoy this beautiful destination while also protecting its natural environment.