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View Full Version : Parks Canada moves ahead with plan to privatize hot springs



Sonic Death Monkey
10-01-2013, 10:02 PM
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Parks+Canada+moves+ahead+with+plan+privatize+sprin gs/7803834/story.html


EDMONTON - The plan to give three popular Parks Canada hot springs a spa-style makeover by transferring their operation to private companies is plowing ahead despite concerns from critics who say the plan will cost parks staff their jobs and increase costs for visitors.

Miette Hot Springs in Jasper National Park, Banff Upper Hot Springs in Banff National Park, and Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park are slated to be run by private operators in the hopes of boosting attendance.

“We recognize they’re great, but they could be even better and we feel the private sector is in the best position to define what the future should be, what the market wants, and ultimately make the changes to help them meet their potential,” said Tracy Thiessen, executive director of mountain parks for Parks Canada, about the Miette pool.

Miette has not been a money-losing operation but Thiessen said its attendance numbers have stayed flat, while the spa industry in Canada has exploded. Parks Canada should focus on its core mandate of educating Canadians, protecting ecological integrity, and providing great experiences for visitors, rather than running hot pools, she said.

“I don’t think we’re wishing for a complete change but we’re hoping a private sector flair for marketing and pleasing their customers will bring more people to Miette.”

A bidding process to lease the hot springs is expected to start within the next three months. Thiessen would not say whether one company would be responsible for the three hot springs or how long the leases would be.

KC
10-01-2013, 10:29 PM
So put the private sector in charge of gate admissions. My guess, there'd be no more free trips through the parks, everyone would have to pay something whether staying overnight or passing through.

Replacement
10-01-2013, 10:34 PM
The relocation of Miette Hot Springs from its original location to further up the spur road to its present terminal location is a mistake and always was a mistake.

For most visitors its simply too long a trip for the Hot Springs. Not sure who thought the change was good. Part of the tie in to visitors and allure is to go to the same location you remember as a kid. Not a different location.

The result being predictable that its losing money.

I doubt a private operator will have much success either.


Interesting that 180K people sign a petition firmly opposing this privitization but it marches inexorably on anyway without so much as even a consideration of it.

Doesn't really matter what people think. Privitize the whole damn country. What a disgrace.

sdimedru
10-01-2013, 10:37 PM
I'd personally like to see Miette opened up year round (someone to maintain the road essentially).... I wonder if there's a market to build a lodge up there when the only "attraction" is the springs? Maybe a new spot for Nordic trails?

I guess that makes me I'm in favour of controlled privatization in the parks

Replacement
10-01-2013, 10:49 PM
I'd personally like to see Miette opened up year round (someone to maintain the road essentially).... I wonder if there's a market to build a lodge up there when the only "attraction" is the springs? Maybe a new spot for Nordic trails?

I guess that makes me I'm in favour of controlled privatization in the parks
Its a 17km stretch of fairly treacherous road with massive increases in elevation and hills and slopes very subject to avalance in an area furthest from Jasper and near only the tiny summer village of Pocahontas. As in most of the rockies pretty considerable snow here. Theres simply no spur road like this that I can think of that remains open in the Canadian Rockies. They keep the main highways open, some ski roads, but thats about it. Maligne lake, Edith Cavell road, Miette Hot springs road are all closed in winter and the cost of keeping them open for some middling business would be prohibitive. This would basically be subsidizing any such business heavily with Parks $ that simply isn't there.

Due to location this just isn't feasible.

Sonic Death Monkey
10-01-2013, 10:57 PM
The relocation of Miette Hot Springs from its original location to further up the spur road to its present terminal location is a mistake and always was a mistake.

Where exactly was it located originally?

Replacement
10-01-2013, 11:02 PM
The relocation of Miette Hot Springs from its original location to further up the spur road to its present terminal location is a mistake and always was a mistake.

Where exactly was it located originally?
Just a few kilometers closer to the highway. Not too much difference but nicer location imo. The Old abandoned Hot Springs is still there to take a look around.

Afairc Old Hot Springs were 14K from Highway and New Hot Springs 17K. But the Old Hot Springs were in more of a sheltered intimate kind of location. I prefered that. Mind you maybe just nostalgia talking.

One good thing about the new location is it offers easier access to the few hiking trailheads in the region. Actually a very interesting location in the summer and you can hike there earlier than in any other part of Jasper due to it being the Eastern range of the rockies. Melt happens quicker there than the interior ranges. If anything they could probably get away with expanding the Miette season. For instance its not opening until May 10, 2013. A private operator maybe would likely shoot for a longer season. Thats one advantage.

sdimedru
10-01-2013, 11:21 PM
The relocation of Miette Hot Springs from its original location to further up the spur road to its present terminal location is a mistake and always was a mistake.

Where exactly was it located originally?
Just a few kilometers closer to the highway. Not too much difference but nicer location imo. The Old abandoned Hot Springs is still there to take a look around.

Afairc Old Hot Springs were 14K from Highway and New Hot Springs 17K. But the Old Hot Springs were in more of a sheltered intimate kind of location. I prefered that. Mind you maybe just nostalgia talking.

One good thing about the new location is it offers easier access to the few hiking trailheads in the region. Actually a very interesting location in the summer and you can hike there earlier than in any other part of Jasper due to it being the Eastern range of the rockies. Melt happens quicker there than the interior ranges. If anything they could probably get away with expanding the Miette season. For instance its not opening until May 10, 2013. A private operator maybe would likely shoot for a longer season. Thats one advantage.

That would be nice for sure...

I've used Miette on as the trailhead for a hike to Mystery lake.... fantastic location for a soak once you return!!!

Paul Turnbull
11-01-2013, 07:57 AM
The relocation of Miette Hot Springs from its original location to further up the spur road to its present terminal location is a mistake and always was a mistake.

Where exactly was it located originally?
Just a few kilometers closer to the highway. Not too much difference but nicer location imo. The Old abandoned Hot Springs is still there to take a look around.

Afairc Old Hot Springs were 14K from Highway and New Hot Springs 17K. But the Old Hot Springs were in more of a sheltered intimate kind of location. I prefered that. Mind you maybe just nostalgia talking.

One good thing about the new location is it offers easier access to the few hiking trailheads in the region. Actually a very interesting location in the summer and you can hike there earlier than in any other part of Jasper due to it being the Eastern range of the rockies. Melt happens quicker there than the interior ranges. If anything they could probably get away with expanding the Miette season. For instance its not opening until May 10, 2013. A private operator maybe would likely shoot for a longer season. Thats one advantage.

When they moved it did they give a reason? Curious because with hot springs, sometimes they go cold in one place and pop up somewhere else.

JJMorrocco
11-01-2013, 08:04 AM
I don't see the issue in having a private company running the place. The Government still owns it and can must approve everything so therefore has ultimate control. Why do we need a well paid Federal employee likely with a nice pension collecting admissions? I am sure they can put checks and balances in to ensure no one is getting in for free! Well excpet after hours when the locals jump the fence.

I used to frequent Radium hot springs in February each year. I recall the hours its was open were terrible. I recall the admissions used to close for lunch as well. They have made improvment since.

Chmilz
11-01-2013, 08:32 AM
Miette and Banff hot springs were both disappointing last times I went. Private operation can only make them better. As they stand now, they don't offer a compelling enough reason to make the trip.

Sonic Death Monkey
11-01-2013, 09:33 AM
I would say Radium is the best of the 3 hot springs.

Just down Hwy 93/95 south of Radium is Fairmont Hot Springs, which is privately run and has been a popular tourist destination for many years as far as I know. Their rates are a tad higher than Radium but not outrageously so. I do believe Fairmont was renovated a while back too.

GranaryMan
11-01-2013, 09:42 AM
Miette hot springs was vastly improved the last time I went (summer 2012). IF they must turn it over to privatization I hope the new owner/operator sees the potential here and is able to build a resort village with down hill ski/snowboard runs, a widened road with avalanche tunnels in the most prone locations and maybe 1 or 2 cell towers to provide communications to the rest of the world so even the corporate class that are glued to their phones can enjoy miette in the same way they enjoy the hot springs in banff.


The only other option to improve the pools for jasper would be to build a pipeline to get the water down to jasper townsite so that the road up the mountain is completely eliminated from the equation.

Paul Turnbull
11-01-2013, 09:59 AM
Miette hot springs was vastly improved the last time I went (summer 2012). IF they must turn it over to privatization I hope the new owner/operator sees the potential here and is able to build a resort village with down hill ski/snowboard runs, a widened road with avalanche tunnels in the most prone locations and maybe 1 or 2 cell towers to provide communications to the rest of the world so even the corporate class that are glued to their phones can enjoy miette in the same way they enjoy the hot springs in banff.


The only other option to improve the pools for jasper would be to build a pipeline to get the water down to jasper townsite so that the road up the mountain is completely eliminated from the equation.

There will never be a resort village there. All they're doing is leasing the springs to a private operator. A resort village with new ski hill would involve huge expansion of the lease area. It's hard enough for Marmot Basin to get approvals to build new lifts on their existing lease and I believe they've been told that a resort village is out of the question. So it's not going to happen at an entirely new location.

Given that it's 60km from Miette to the Jasper townsite I going to say piping the water is a no go as well.

JJMorrocco
11-01-2013, 10:04 AM
^ I highly doubt any of thsoe changes would be allowed within the park.

Best thing that could hope for is that someone magically discovers a 'source' closer and more accessible from Jasper. I have heard several accounts that these pools are not 100% spring water nor are they 100% geothermally heated.

edmonton daily photo
11-01-2013, 10:04 AM
Miette Hotsprings used to be further up the mountain.. not lower

further to that and mentioned right in the article Miette is not a money looser... but attendance is flat and it shouldn't be.

Paul Turnbull
11-01-2013, 10:22 AM
^ I highly doubt any of thsoe changes would be allowed within the park.

Best thing that could hope for is that someone magically discovers a 'source' closer and more accessible from Jasper. I have heard several accounts that these pools are not 100% spring water nor are they 100% geothermally heated.

Here:

http://goo.gl/maps/pf9M1

The east end of this little lake never freezes. There are probably reasons why it's never been developed, likely it doesn't have enough volume.

Replacement
11-01-2013, 11:43 AM
Miette Hotsprings used to be further up the mountain.. not lower

further to that and mentioned right in the article Miette is not a money looser... but attendance is flat and it shouldn't be.

Maybe you're right, my memory is getting fuzzy, but then again judging from other comments in the thread I'm not the only one.:) ftr there is a Miette Hot Springs resort. Its been there for quite awhile.

Heres the website.

http://www.mhresort.com/welcome.html

RyanS
11-01-2013, 11:54 AM
^ I highly doubt any of thsoe changes would be allowed within the park.

Best thing that could hope for is that someone magically discovers a 'source' closer and more accessible from Jasper. I have heard several accounts that these pools are not 100% spring water nor are they 100% geothermally heated.

There are times during the year where the Banff Hot Springs is 100% municipal water (and they usually tell you when this is the case), the supply is drying up which is usually why the springs move to new locations at various points in history.

edmonton daily photo
11-01-2013, 02:46 PM
Miette Hotsprings used to be further up the mountain.. not lower

further to that and mentioned right in the article Miette is not a money looser... but attendance is flat and it shouldn't be.

Maybe you're right, my memory is getting fuzzy, but then again judging from other comments in the thread I'm not the only one.:) ftr there is a Miette Hot Springs resort. Its been there for quite awhile.

Heres the website.

http://www.mhresort.com/welcome.html

Ya so the resort is a series of great little cabins attached to the pools but you can hike up the mountain a bit to the old bath house. The top floor of it has been removed and the old pool has been filled in and has trees growing in it. It's pretty cool.

The distance from the Yellowhead isn't the issue, the are just needs to be developed a bit more. The funny thing is that the Banff hotsprings stop flowing in the winter so all the people who thing they are bathing in natural spring water.... they are wrong.

Banff's well-known Upper Hot Springs pool has to be filled with tap water in the winter, and scientists don't know why the natural supply is drying up.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/story/2011/04/18/calgary-banff-hot-springs-water.html

Komrade
11-01-2013, 06:30 PM
Eh. 9/10 times a private contractor can run something better than government because they have a bottom line to look after. This isnt a terrible thing

Replacement
11-01-2013, 08:22 PM
Eh. 9/10 times a private contractor can run something better than government because they have a bottom line to look after. This isnt a terrible thing
National park endeavors are not just a "bottom line" They're a treasured world preserve recognized internationally.

The concern always is that private endeavors will think just what you stated and put economic concern before responsible interaction within a preserved environment.

Private ownership doesn't "steward' the environment and pay careful attention to look after it. (Yes, theres exceptions to any rule and some that responsible and have interacted well within the parks)

ANY extra amount of money that comes from further exploiting these wonderful parks and resources is at the cost of what makes them unique and a natural treasure in the first place.

Paul Turnbull
11-01-2013, 08:32 PM
Except that private enterprises in the park still have to get everything approved by the park. Marmot Basin can't build anything without getting approval.

In other words having private management doesn't change the stewardship angle because that's still in the hands Parks Canada.

Perspective
11-01-2013, 09:10 PM
^ approval does not have to be made by Parks Canada, it can just be done by the Minister for the Environment, like the jasper brewsters walkway.
i'm sure if the private companies know the right people and throw enough money at them you can get what you want done - regardless of what parks canada has to say.

http://www.rmoutlook.com/article/20120209/RMO0801/302099944/-1/rmo/breaking-news-minister-announces-approval-for-brewsters-glacier

Paul Turnbull
11-01-2013, 10:00 PM
^ approval does not have to be made by Parks Canada, it can just be done by the Minister for the Environment, like the jasper brewsters walkway.
i'm sure if the private companies know the right people and throw enough money at them you can get what you want done - regardless of what parks canada has to say.

http://www.rmoutlook.com/article/20120209/RMO0801/302099944/-1/rmo/breaking-news-minister-announces-approval-for-brewsters-glacier

Parks Canada is part of Environment Canada. I don't think it's unusual for the Minister responsible to announce an approval. The article you linked words it like it was the sole decision of the Minister rather than the long involved process by Parks Canada that actually happened. In fact it's the only article I found that words it that way. Even the CPAWS press release says "Parks Canada has approved a proposal by Brewster Canada Ltd. for the controversial Glacier Discovery Walk in Jasper National Park."

Parks Canada had a review process and an environmental assessment for the glacier walk and they decided to approve the development. The Minister then announced that approval. There is no evidence I've heard that Parks Canada did not want to approve the development and the Minister overrode them or that the decision was made solely by the Minister.

jmart81
14-01-2013, 08:23 AM
When they moved it did they give a reason? Curious because with hot springs, sometimes they go cold in one place and pop up somewhere else.

I have done some work around there, was told that the old Hot Springs were continually hit with avalanches in the winter time. One year there was one that damaged the building pretty much beyond repair, or at least enough to decide to move it up the road to its current location.

The move had nothing to do with the temperature, if fact the water coming out of the Springs in Miette near the old building is 50-55C

Paul Turnbull
14-01-2013, 08:47 AM
Avalanches seems like a good reason to move. :)

edmonton daily photo
15-01-2013, 02:22 PM
When they moved it did they give a reason? Curious because with hot springs, sometimes they go cold in one place and pop up somewhere else.

I have done some work around there, was told that the old Hot Springs were continually hit with avalanches in the winter time. One year there was one that damaged the building pretty much beyond repair, or at least enough to decide to move it up the road to its current location.

The move had nothing to do with the temperature, if fact the water coming out of the Springs in Miette near the old building is 50-55C

They are the hottest springs in North America.

JJMorrocco
15-01-2013, 02:46 PM
^ wow that is interesting I would think Yellowstone would have some hotter springs? Does Old Faithful not count? spring vs geyser??

Kitlope
17-01-2013, 03:16 AM
Here come the price increases.




CALGARY — Parks Canada is proposing an increase in user fees in national parks and historic sites — ranging from higher costs to enter, camp or fish in any of its protected areas to a new charge for firewood by the bundle in Banff.

It could also cost more to take a guided tour of the Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park or hike the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.

The proposed fees, posted on the agency’s website late last week, would affect each of the country’s 42 parks, 167 national historic sites and three marine conservation areas.

“For the last five years, the government has frozen fees,” said Andrew Campbell, vice-president of visitor experience with Parks Canada in Ottawa. “Now we’re coming through that.”

The increases and extra fees are expected to bring in an additional $5 million annually to the federal agency, but they are already drawing criticism due to concerns they could limit accessibility to the beloved areas.



http://www.edmontonjournal.com/travel/Parks+Canada+proposes+user+hikes/7829949/story.html

Paul Turnbull
17-01-2013, 07:24 AM
This is a separate, broader issue than the bringing a private contractor to a hot springs.

That said the decrease in access argument doesn't hold a lot of water given that five year fee freeze we've just had and the intent to keep the fee increases in line with the consumer price index.

Replacement
17-01-2013, 09:07 PM
Here come the price increases.




CALGARY — Parks Canada is proposing an increase in user fees in national parks and historic sites — ranging from higher costs to enter, camp or fish in any of its protected areas to a new charge for firewood by the bundle in Banff.

It could also cost more to take a guided tour of the Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park or hike the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.

The proposed fees, posted on the agency’s website late last week, would affect each of the country’s 42 parks, 167 national historic sites and three marine conservation areas.

“For the last five years, the government has frozen fees,” said Andrew Campbell, vice-president of visitor experience with Parks Canada in Ottawa. “Now we’re coming through that.”

The increases and extra fees are expected to bring in an additional $5 million annually to the federal agency, but they are already drawing criticism due to concerns they could limit accessibility to the beloved areas.



http://www.edmontonjournal.com/travel/Parks+Canada+proposes+user+hikes/7829949/story.html

I don't see the concern.

For the price of an Oiler Hockey game or a premium dinner for two one can get an annual pass to see any National Park or historic sites in the land. A fantastic opportunity and immeasurable value.

We complain about the price? I know which I value more. I gladly pay this. Friends even ask me if I want to borrow their parks pass and I say, "no, I believe in supporting this, I WANT to pay the annual pass." I get the annual pass every year. Even in years where I'm working so much I know I'll hardly use it.

No, you can't borrow my pass...:p

Kitlope
18-01-2013, 01:19 AM
The thing is though is the original mandate of the National Parks was that it was to be accessable by all, rich or poor. With many of these user fees introduced since the 1980s it isn't exactly the middle class or rich that are being left out.

You know, if there was one thing I liked about camping/hiking in Banff or Jasper was that at the very least, after paying all the user fees, at least the firewood was free. Not no more :(

Replacement
18-01-2013, 08:05 AM
The thing is though is the original mandate of the National Parks was that it was to be accessable by all, rich or poor. With many of these user fees introduced since the 1980s it isn't exactly the middle class or rich that are being left out.

You know, if there was one thing I liked about camping/hiking in Banff or Jasper was that at the very least, after paying all the user fees, at least the firewood was free. Not no more :(

Not meaning to pester but this is inaccurate. While this may be your understanding of it for several decades the Rocky Mountain National Parks were assessible primarily to the rich, their assistants, their guides, their mountaineers, hired help, servants etc. Until highways came along the average Joe wasn't seeing a whole lot of the parks or being able to stay there. Really the 1950's would be the average person or families introduction to these parks.
Well, you could say there was train travel before then. Correct. The trains connected with the grandest hotels and resorts found anywhere on the continent, guess who these opulent properties were intended for.

AS far as the firewood I like having a fire as much as the next guy. But its a privelege being widely abused. One has to only drive into Whistlers Campground any evening to see the huge clouds of smoke emanating from the campground. With seemingly everybody stoking a huge fire fairly continously. Theres precious little moderation exercized and bonfire type fires all around that are much larger then the intentionally small fireplaces were designed for. I can only imagine that use of firewood has increased astronomically. You go to campgrounds now and commonly see people having chords of firewood chopped and lined up for the ready in amounts that suggest a one month layover. I've seen people heating entire wood burning homesteads with the amount of wood a camping user is using in one day.
This practice, and degree of use is inconsistent with a National park preserving, sustaining, mandate. Moderation is everything, it isn't being practiced.

Titanium48
18-01-2013, 11:45 AM
I don't have a problem with user fees for park facilities, but I do not appreciate being charged admission to a public park. There are several ways that the revenue lost from abolishing the admission fees could be made up.

- Transfer responsibility for maintenance and upgrading of the highways to the provinces. Transportation infrastructure isn't part of Parks Canada's mandate, and the costs shouldn't be coming out of their budget. It is unfortunate that many of our premier parks were located along transportation corridors, but it is a little late to fix that mistake now.

-Raise camping and parking fees. $5 per day for parking at park operated facilities and a $5 per day increase in camping fees would still be cheaper for all but the heaviest users after admission fees are removed.

-Raise the rent for businesses like hotels and ski resorts operating in the parks. The costs will ultimately be passed on to those who use those facilities. Alternatively, double the GST on everything sold in the parks and direct the extra 5% to the Parks Canada budget.

Kitlope
18-01-2013, 06:43 PM
Not meaning to pester but this is inaccurate. While this may be your understanding of it for several decades the Rocky Mountain National Parks were assessible primarily to the rich, their assistants, their guides, their mountaineers, hired help, servants etc. Until highways came along the average Joe wasn't seeing a whole lot of the parks or being able to stay there. Really the 1950's would be the average person or families introduction to these parks.

Well, you could say there was train travel before then. Correct. The trains connected with the grandest hotels and resorts found anywhere on the continent, guess who these opulent properties were intended for.

Can't disagree with the reality of your post circa the turn of the century and for decades after but you're getting personal economics of the times confused with the idea of the parks being open and accessible to all. As I said, these parks were designed to be open to the public, for all (rich or poor) and the reality was that personal economics and limited infrastructure didn't allow for a lot of the poor to enjoy the parks in them days.

Fast forward to today and all the infrastructure to accomodate people of all classes is in place. Toss in park passes & user fees and now the poor start getting squeezed out. Why go camping in the National Parks when you can go to Nordegg and it costs very little? Why go backpacking in Jasper or Banff when you can go to Nordegg area and not spend a dime? Just ask me - in my early / mid 20's and without much cash I chose Nordegg area everytime and it was only when I got a "real job" circa 2000 that I started and could afford spending a lot more time in Alberta's National Parks. I know it costs money to run & maintain these unique parks and I've never had a problem with having to spend some money for those reasons. However, I think all of us can agree it's not the cheap holiday it once was, especially since the Klein era.

Replacement
18-01-2013, 07:54 PM
Not meaning to pester but this is inaccurate. While this may be your understanding of it for several decades the Rocky Mountain National Parks were assessible primarily to the rich, their assistants, their guides, their mountaineers, hired help, servants etc. Until highways came along the average Joe wasn't seeing a whole lot of the parks or being able to stay there. Really the 1950's would be the average person or families introduction to these parks.

Well, you could say there was train travel before then. Correct. The trains connected with the grandest hotels and resorts found anywhere on the continent, guess who these opulent properties were intended for.

Can't disagree with the reality of your post circa the turn of the century and for decades after but you're getting personal economics of the times confused with the idea of the parks being open and accessible to all. As I said, these parks were designed to be open to the public, for all (rich or poor) and the reality was that personal economics and limited infrastructure didn't allow for a lot of the poor to enjoy the parks in them days.

Fast forward to today and all the infrastructure to accomodate people of all classes is in place. Toss in park passes & user fees and now the poor start getting squeezed out. Why go camping in the National Parks when you can go to Nordegg and it costs very little? Why go backpacking in Jasper or Banff when you can go to Nordegg area and not spend a dime? Just ask me - in my early / mid 20's and without much cash I chose Nordegg area everytime and it was only when I got a "real job" circa 2000 that I started and could afford spending a lot more time in Alberta's National Parks. I know it costs money to run & maintain these unique parks and I've never had a problem with having to spend some money for those reasons. However, I think all of us can agree it's not the cheap holiday it once was, especially since the Klein era.
Oh, I sympathize, and was in a very similar situation as a flat broke university student while young. As much as I always loved the mountains the cost started to hit me too even back then when it was cheaper. Did the same thing too and spend a lot of time in the forestry trunk area as well.

No easy answers to this but maybe youth or young adult rates (say less than age 25) could apply.

I agree with you in thinking that cost alone shouldn't pre-empt somebody from being able to view these wonders and thanks for phrasing it that way. I even wonder whether they could develop a system like Edmonton which has a "Fee reduction program" in place for its facilities for those on low incomes.

I believe in user pay, but I also believe pay alone shouldn't prevent healthy use. Fostering healthy recreation opportunities for younger people especially pays for itself in future dividends.

One of the real budgetary things, and I think this could be considered in tariffs is 150bucks at my age is virtually nothing to me. 150 bucks to someone age 20 is a lot of money. So its not fair from that standpoint either that its one set price.

Kitlope
19-01-2013, 02:01 PM
And it's not just the starving student that suffers, I was actually thinking of the working poor when writing my post yesterday. But yeah, it sucks for anyone with low income.

And back to the privatization of the hot springs - all I can say is watch prices go way up :(

sundance
21-01-2013, 08:20 AM
If my memory is right there are at least 2 free admission dates to national parks, July 1st for Canada Day and Canada Parks Day (3rd Saturday in July), I'm not sure if they do anything for Family Day seeing its a provincial holiday.

However you'd still a fee pay for the hot springs, and once Cave & Basin is re-opened you'd still pay a fee for that..

jmart81
21-01-2013, 10:29 AM
The thing is though is the original mandate of the National Parks was that it was to be accessable by all, rich or poor. With many of these user fees introduced since the 1980s it isn't exactly the middle class or rich that are being left out.

You know, if there was one thing I liked about camping/hiking in Banff or Jasper was that at the very least, after paying all the user fees, at least the firewood was free. Not no more :(

The original mandate of the National Parks was to control, not restrict commercial interests in the Park (i.e. Mining, Railroads, tourism, etc.). I believe it was sometime in the 30s when they changed the act to be more of a guardian of the park and its natural habitats. Being accessible to rich or poor Canadian was not on the top of the list for their mandate. I believe it's been always cheaper to camp outside the parks then in.

One thing that interested me when I was in Europe was the fees for some National Parks there. It went by citizen rates and non-citizen rates. The people of that country got a discounted user fee because they already pay taxes for the park, and incentive for locals to go there.

Titanium48
21-01-2013, 05:26 PM
Accessibility for the lower middle class is a good argument for replacing entry fees with a sales tax and/or higher rents for businesses. The camper or person staying in the cheapest motel they could find would pay less than the person staying in a $3-400 / night room in the Banff Springs.

Parkdale
31-01-2013, 03:24 PM
Here come the price increases.




CALGARY — Parks Canada is proposing an increase in user fees in national parks and historic sites — ranging from higher costs to enter, camp or fish in any of its protected areas to a new charge for firewood by the bundle in Banff.

It could also cost more to take a guided tour of the Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park or hike the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island.

The proposed fees, posted on the agency’s website late last week, would affect each of the country’s 42 parks, 167 national historic sites and three marine conservation areas.

“For the last five years, the government has frozen fees,” said Andrew Campbell, vice-president of visitor experience with Parks Canada in Ottawa. “Now we’re coming through that.”

The increases and extra fees are expected to bring in an additional $5 million annually to the federal agency, but they are already drawing criticism due to concerns they could limit accessibility to the beloved areas.



http://www.edmontonjournal.com/travel/Parks+Canada+proposes+user+hikes/7829949/story.html

I don't see the concern.

For the price of an Oiler Hockey game or a premium dinner for two one can get an annual pass to see any National Park or historic sites in the land. A fantastic opportunity and immeasurable value.

We complain about the price? I know which I value more. I gladly pay this. Friends even ask me if I want to borrow their parks pass and I say, "no, I believe in supporting this, I WANT to pay the annual pass." I get the annual pass every year. Even in years where I'm working so much I know I'll hardly use it.

No, you can't borrow my pass...:p

Different strokes for different folks and all, and I appreciate that not everybody does prioritize spending time in nature above sports or urban adventure or whatever does float their boat, but I do definitely agree that we get our money's worth when we invest in an annual parks pass. I am not a person who can afford much luxury - sometimes just covering the basics takes a little effort - but I always get my annual pass, and I always consider it an exceptional value. Especially with gorgeous Elk island just up the road from us here in Edmonton available year round for hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, canoeing, barbequing, camping, family reunion-ing, etc...

EdmTrekker
06-02-2013, 05:35 AM
Lucky you. Too bad for a family of 4 with a total income of $40k a year before taxes. Those kids will never see Jasper. They might have borrowed a tent and bags...but with rising fees a trip to mountains for a weekend would be cost prohibitive. Fees to enter a National Park are ludicrous and hurt and deprive the poorest in our society from exp. the park they pay to maintain through general taxation.

Paul Turnbull
06-02-2013, 08:47 AM
It's interesting to compare the U.S. Parks Service fees with ours. Entrance fees appear to be around $20 to $25 per car, depending on the park, but the fee covers seven days of access.

sundance
20-02-2013, 03:25 PM
And the pass typically only covers one national park. So if you going to a place where there are 2 very near you might have to pay twice.

Yosemite, Kings Canyon for example.
Arches, Canyonlands for another.

For me I will typically buy the year pass they have paid for themselves over and over.

edmonton daily photo
20-02-2013, 03:37 PM
Lucky you. Too bad for a family of 4 with a total income of $40k a year before taxes. Those kids will never see Jasper. They might have borrowed a tent and bags...but with rising fees a trip to mountains for a weekend would be cost prohibitive. Fees to enter a National Park are ludicrous and hurt and deprive the poorest in our society from exp. the park they pay to maintain through general taxation.

If four of you are living on 40,000 than those kids would be lucky to see fort edm park on free day.

Paul Turnbull
21-02-2013, 08:54 AM
On the topic of Parks Canada, Jasper National Park is considering instituting winter closures (Nov 1st to March 1st) of large areas of the backcountry. They are holding information sessions in Jasper and Edmonton next week:

http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/ab/jasper/ne/bcwinter-hiverap.aspx


We would like to invite you to join us for an interactive session to discuss backcountry winter recreational opportunities in Jasper National Park. We invite participants to discuss the following questions at the workshop:


What areas of Jasper’s subalpine and alpine do you use for winter recreation, and why?
Are there any areas other than those you currently use that could offer a similar experience, or have the potential to be good options for winter use?
What are your priorities, needs or desires for recreational experiences in the subalpine or alpine environment?


At the session, Parks Canada will also be sharing information regarding proposed modifications to winter recreational access in the North and South Boundary and Tonquin areas, in support of caribou conservation. Participants will have a chance to share their ideas and comments regarding the proposals. Information gathered from the workshop will help inform management decisions related to subalpine and alpine areas of the park in winter, including caribou conservation actions.

If you RSVP you can get an information pack on the what the proposed closures are. I do wonder why that information is only available to attendees. I got to look over the pack last weekend and the closures are large and significant. For example all the terrain surrounding Marmot Basin from Edith Cavell north to Whistler and west to the Ramparts would be closed. Also significant areas in the Brazeau area and the North Boundary. I can't remember it from the pack but one of the patrollers mentioned they're also going to stop plowing the Maligne Lake road, effectively cutting off winter access to the Bald Hills and around Maligne Lake.

Personally I'm conflicted about this. The ostensive reason for the closures are the Caribou. Protecting and maintain the local wildlife populations is an important part of why we have these parks. However, the parks also exist for people to visit and explore. I believe these things need to be balanced and these proposed closures feel very aggressive.

I also know from Marmot's perspective that Avalanche Control does snow profiles in the neighbouring terrain as part of their work keeping Marmot Basin safe. Many of the patrollers also spend a lot of their off time ski touring so they understandably concerned.

Personally, while have done some touring, it's not something I do regularly so the direct impact on me would be very little. On the other hand I was considering that has my daughters got older, I would like to take them touring so they can see what it's like outside of the ski areas.

If you're interested in attending, the meetings are:



JASPER - Thursday February 28, 2013 - Best Western Jasper Inn
EDMONTON - Tuesday February 26, 2013 - Fort Edmonton Park - Kelly's Saloon

6:30 - 9:30 PM

* Coffee, tea and light refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to confirm your attendance and receive an information package.

Shelley Bird, Public Outreach and Education Officer:
[email protected] or 780-852-6204

Alex.L
21-02-2013, 11:23 AM
I get tons of use out of my annual pass as well. It's a great investment even if you just want to go shopping in Banff or something a few times a year.