A Battle Line is Drawn | Maligne Lake Development Faces Opposition

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (“CPAWS”) and the Jasper Environmental Association (“JEA”) have commenced judicial review proceedings in Federal Court, challenging a decision to approve the development of tent cabins at Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park.

Jasper National Park’s long-term ecological vision for the area is set forth in a 2010 Management Plan which, in part, states:

“[n]o new land will be released for overnight commercial accommodation outside the [Jasper town site]”.

Despite this prohibition on further development, the proposal for development was nevertheless approved.

CPAWS and JEA have applied for judicial review on a number of grounds including:

1. the 2010 Management Plan prohibits the type of development that has been approved;

2. the proposed development does not constitute a “change in circumstances” that would warrant an amendment to the 2010 Management Plan; and

3. the decision was made without regard for the continuing decline of the Maligne caribou herd and the status of both Southern Mountain Caribou and grizzly bear populations.

The Jasper National Park decision continues the Federal Government trend of overdeveloping national parks, often contrary to on-the-ground policy. In his article, “Developers once again eager to pave paradise”, CPAWS Board Member, and Troy Media Editor-in-Chief, Doug Firby, explains some of the background of the history of development of our national parks.

The battle line has been drawn at Maligne Lake.

James Early