Mountain Nature and Culture Podcast
About This Show
This podcast explores the natural and human history of the Canadian Rockies as well as its attractions and culture. We'll look at the ecology and wildlife as well as the unique plants and birds that make the Canadian Rockies home. Looking back through our history we will share the stories behind the scenery. This is the place for all things Rockies.
Most Recent Episode
026 Parks Canada Takes its Lumps
2 days ago
If you're a follower of this podcast, you'll know I'm a great champion of the job that Parks Canada staff undergo on a daily basis. Every day, they're on the front lines trying to keep our wildlife both wild and safe, keeping resources protected and plucking injured wilderness wanderers off of mountain tops by helicopter. Without these champions of our wilderness Canada's National Park system would not be the world class system of protected areas that it is today. On the other hand, over the past 10-15 years, decisions have been taken from the scientists and experts that know the resource, know the priorities, and know where to best invest limited park dollars. Decisions are increasingly being made by distant bureaucrats with little connection to a local sense of place. It happened gradually. During the Harper years, the backcountry began to be de-emphasized and more and more focus was placed on getting more cars through the gates. As backcountry trails began to erode, bridges to collapse and boardwalks to rot, Parks Canada allowed skywalks, via ferratas, summer ski hill operations, and gondola expansions - all in the name of bringing more and more and more people through the gates. During the 2017 Canadian Parks Conference held in Banff National park this past March, Canada's Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna indicated that ecological integrity was again, job 1 within Parks Canada. There were three things that were her priority: "The importance of ecological integrity, science, conservation and traditional knowledge and my renewed focus on it, " She went on to state "The integral role of indigenous people will continue to play with Parks Canada as we move towards reconciliation and three, the future. What will our legacy be for the next 150 years and how can we work together?" Internal Parks Canada reports have been uncovered by Ottawa Freedom of Information Warrior Ken Rubin that shows that even Parks Canada staff had serious doubts about this project from the very beginning. According to a 2016 background document, they said: "Trail use is likely to be high and will induce further development…or at least demands for further development," They go on to indicate that any trail of this magnitude will surely need pullouts and rest stops every 5-10 km, not to mention connected campgrounds and additional asphalt based infrastructure. Recently, Rubin released another bombshell. In additional documents, he unveiled one of the real reasons this bike t