Here at the Outlook, we hope that Banff residents and others who have been voicing their displeasure with chain stores, and their possible proliferation, will take a similar stance as to the likelihood of Parks’ embracing of thrill-seeking activities.
Anyone who believes Banff’s feeling of community and uniqueness is reduced by having chain restaurants and retail stores in the mountain town should be concerned that, for the most part, via ferrata, aerial parks, hang gliding operations, etc. are simply more examples of features available elsewhere.
And, as RMO has argued all along when it comes to possible approval of these ‘special events and activities’, should they be viewed as national park events and activities, or events and activities in a national park?
There is a difference, at least when dicussing Banff the national park as opposed to Banff the town.
Low impact pastimes like hiking, biking, birdwatching, camping, cross-country skiing, sightseeing, angling, paddling and climbing are all good examples of activities which can be seen as embracing all that is wonderful in a national park.
People, both visitors and residents alike, arrive, partake, then leave, with nothing but bootprints left behind. Once an activity has been enjoyed, the site can be left pretty much in the same state it was found – in some cases, the same as when the last ice age left its mark.
The same situation, of course, will not be the same if hang gliding launch pads, via ferrata and aerial parks are constructed. In all of these cases, permanent, unnatural structures would be raised to fill the coffers of commercial interests while possibly de-valuing natural surroundings.
And being that an aerial park/canopy tour operation wouldn’t have the benefit of massive deciduous rainforest trees to be anchored amidst, and assuming that lodgepole pines, matchstick-like by comparison, wouldn’t support an aerial structure, invasive infrastructure would have to be put in place.
Further, unlike a rainforest bursting with flora and fauna, what exactly would be found while enjoying a park/tour several metres above the ground? Along with bison, would the plan be to introduce colourful songbirds, vines and super-hardy orchids?
Again, putting a platform/aerial park/canopy tour up in the trees would be an attraction in a national park, not a national park attraction.
Of the thrill-seeking activities being pondered, possibly hang gliding, sans takeoff structures, might be the least invasive – unless Parks safety experts are constantly being called upon to rescue gliders of lesser ability.
Here at RMO, we strongly believe one of the main points of interest in relation to our valley communities, Rocky Mountains and Banff National Park, is the wildlife – the natural wildlife which blesses this area and with which we share our communities. Not out-there activities.
We’re not offering up scientific evidence in support of this, of course, but over the years we have noticed that, almost without fail, the most-read stories on the RMO website relate to wildlife – whether the story relates to scientific study, human-caused deaths, or the re-introduction of bison or caribou, for example.
In contrast, we’d like to offer kudos to Parks, The Banff Centre and Banff Lake Louise Tourism for staging yet another fantastic Performance in the Park, Saturday (June 25).
This event is more in keeping with a ‘special event’ in the national park. In all, a sold-out crowd of 2,500 enjoyed one of Newfoundland’s main exports, Great Big Sea, at the administration grounds.
Other than some temporary items like a stage and portable washrooms, people took in the performance, enjoyed the music, then meandered back through Banff – many in search of coffee, dinner, a beer or window shopping, thereby ensuring a positive economic spinoff in the townsite.