July 19th was Parks Day and the JEA had a booth on the lawn in front of Jasper’s Information Building. Five of us manned it and in spite of one brief shower of rain in the middle of the day and a mini-monsoon as we were packing up at the end it was a heartening success.
It was a great experience to meet people from all over the world and be able to chat with them about Jasper National Park – its beauty, its endangered species and its problems. Nearly all of them had either been to Maligne Lake or were going in the next day or so. Their main reaction to the news that a high-end resort was being proposed for this world-famous lake was puzzled disbelief – “but isn’t this is a national park?”; “may I sign something?”; “I’m going to write a letter to your Superintendent”; “doesn’t Canada have laws against this kind of development?”
There were also tour bus drivers who visited the booth and asked for our grizzly bear “Move over nature, business wants more room” postcards to hand out to their passengers.
But the great percentage of visitors were fellow Canadians who had heard of the proposed controversial project through the media and were not shy about voicing strong opinions against it. By the end of the day we had filled 31 pages of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness “Stand Up For Jasper” petition against it.
What else can we do but fight these unwanted developments in Canada’s last bastions of wilderness that are becoming ever more precious to her people as business interests target them for their own gain? Maybe those interests will finally realize that the more we destroy this wilderness the more likely people are to go somewhere else.
Will Parks Canada listen this time?