Action Alert: Feedback needed on Banff National Park Provisional Guidelines

For Immediate Release: 07-05-11
Contact: Rachael Raven
IMBA Canada Communications Coordinator

On June 16, 2011 Parks Canada released Provisional Guidelines for New Recreational Activities in Banff National Park, including mountain biking.

Available for download below.

Parks Canada is currently seeking comments on these guidelines, due Friday, July 8, 2011.  The Calgary Mountain Bike Alliance and Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance, both IMBA Canada affiliated clubs, are requesting that the mountain bike community participate in the policy-making process by sending their feedback.

Message from the BVMBA:

"The Bow Valley Mountain Bike Alliance has reviewed the Provision Guidelines and offers the following suggested comments for the Comment Sheet (which is located on the Parks Canada Web page set out above):

1. What aspect of the Provisional Guidelines do you support and why?

I support the Provisional Guidelines because it recognizes Mountain Biking as an established (and popular) activity that is part of the mountain community culture but at the same time sets out reasonable restrictions on future trail development.

2. What aspects of the Provisional Guidelines do you have concerns with and why?

The Provisional Guidelines should include a commitment by Parks Canada to create a communications strategy for the activity of Mountain Biking. In particular, signage is not defined and it is not clear what sign standard Parks Canada will be using. The Provisional Guidelines obligate Mountain Bikers to respect trail colures and restrictions but do not obligate Parks Canada to:

  • consult with users prior to implementing trail restrictions and closures;
  • communicate the reasons for the trail restrictions and closures;
  • provide alternatives to the rider who is displaced by the trail restrictions and closures.

Regulating mountain biking requires more than guidelines and regulations that few people ever read – it requires a comprehensive communications strategy to coexist with the regulations and a commitment by the land regulator to ensure the necessary resources are made available to that strategy.

3. Any Other Comments or ideas?

Mountain Biking is truly the “new” way of enjoying all the Mountain Parks. Its popularity is increasing and, if the trail “offerings” are done correctly, Mountain Bikers will be the repeat visitor to the National Parks that Parks Canada wants to attract. More than any other user, the Mountain Bike community is willing to accept and abide by reasonable rules and regulations. The challenges identified in the Provisional Guidelines (such as wildlife security and vegetation impacts) can all be addressed through good, cooperative, land management strategies.

Download the provisional guidelines, and comment sheet (links from the Parks Canada website). Submissions should be emailed to opinion [at] pc [dot] gc [dot] ca by Friday, July 8, 2011.

Photo courtesy of Parks Canada