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Parks Canada cracks down on overcrowded national park in the Rockies


As of 2023, private vehicles are no longer allowed at Moraine Lake in Banff National Park in Alberta, in an attempt by Parks Canada to manage overcrowded tourism.

Banff has seen an increase in tourism over the past decade, particularly in Lake Louise, which has raised concerns among locals and conservationists about the national park’s conservation efforts.

According to an expert, the damage to the national park may not be caused by the tourists themselves, but rather by the way they get there.

“We have a car problem, not a people problem in our parks,” Clara-Jane Blye, a recreation management teacher at Dalhousie University, told CTV’s Your Morning on Monday.

Blye says the overwhelming number of vehicles being driven to Moraine Lake is making the site more crowded without contributing to national park conservation efforts.

According to Parks Canada, 900 personal vehicles can park at Moraine Lake each year, but demand is so high that 5,000 vehicles are still turned away each year. While parking is still permitted in designated areas such as the shore of Lake Louise, tourists who can no longer park on Moraine Lake Road will need to take the Parks Canada shuttle or use local transit. The only personal vehicles allowed on the road are those with a disability tag.

Blye says that by having tourists rely on the shuttle, it will limit the number of vehicles while getting people to enjoy the park and not feel so crowded while there.

“We need to balance ecological integrity. Parks have a dual mandate of welcoming visitors and welcoming Canadians while protecting the natural environment that these parks are there to preserve,” she said.

Additionally, Blye says tourists should consider visiting other national parks across the country.

“We are so lucky in Canada to have amazing parks and protected areas. We have mountains and lakes everywhere, so it doesn’t have to be Banff,” she said.

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