Banff National Park Management Plan

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Introduction to the Banff National Park Draft Management Plan

Banff National Park is Canada’s first and most popular national park. As such, it carries special responsibility for leading and upholding Parks Canada’s reputation for protected area management and innovation in conservation science, while providing exceptional visitor experiences to millions annually.

With Parks Canada’s mandate and ecological integrity as its touchstone, the draft management plan was shaped by the efforts and accomplishments of previous plans, the monitoring results and trends described in the State of the Park Assessment, feedback from Indigenous communities and the public, and changes in the environment, technology and protected area management practices.

The plan sets out a vision for the park as a place characterized by respect – for Indigenous peoples who were the original inhabitants and stewards of the land before the park was established, for experiences based in the unique human and natural history of the place, and for the inherent value of the environment and protected areas. Framed by this vision, the draft management plan describes Parks Canada’s approach to fulfilling its various responsibilities through specific strategies, objectives and targets.



This plan was developed concurrently with the management plans for Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Waterton Lakes, and Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks, as these special places share many of the same challenges, opportunities, stakeholders and visitors. This also allowed for a landscape level, co-ordinated approach to key aspects of Parks Canada’s work in numerous areas. As a result, the plans share many common themes and priorities including:

  • Conserving natural and cultural resources, and protecting ecological integrity and park landscapes for future generations;
  • Providing exceptional opportunities for Canadians to experience and connect with the natural and cultural landscapes, features, activities and stories that define Canada;
  • Strengthening Indigenous relations based on respect, collaboration, and partnership; and
  • Contributing to landscape-scale conservation and an understanding of climate change and its impacts.

National parks are managed in trust for all Canadians, so ensuring their values and views are reflected in every park management plan is a priority. This draft was written with strong consideration for the earlier feedback received from a wide variety of organizations and individuals about their vision for the park, and the values and principles that should guide its future management and priorities. We need to hear from you if we’ve achieved that goal.

Read the documents (PDF) Read the documents (HTML)

Please join the conversation. Leave a comment, share an idea, complete a survey, or ask a question on this site. You can also submit comments to: opinion@canada.ca or via regular mail to Banff Superintendent, Box 900, Banff Alberta, T1L 1K2.


Introduction to the Banff National Park Draft Management Plan

Banff National Park is Canada’s first and most popular national park. As such, it carries special responsibility for leading and upholding Parks Canada’s reputation for protected area management and innovation in conservation science, while providing exceptional visitor experiences to millions annually.

With Parks Canada’s mandate and ecological integrity as its touchstone, the draft management plan was shaped by the efforts and accomplishments of previous plans, the monitoring results and trends described in the State of the Park Assessment, feedback from Indigenous communities and the public, and changes in the environment, technology and protected area management practices.

The plan sets out a vision for the park as a place characterized by respect – for Indigenous peoples who were the original inhabitants and stewards of the land before the park was established, for experiences based in the unique human and natural history of the place, and for the inherent value of the environment and protected areas. Framed by this vision, the draft management plan describes Parks Canada’s approach to fulfilling its various responsibilities through specific strategies, objectives and targets.



This plan was developed concurrently with the management plans for Jasper, Kootenay, Yoho, Waterton Lakes, and Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks, as these special places share many of the same challenges, opportunities, stakeholders and visitors. This also allowed for a landscape level, co-ordinated approach to key aspects of Parks Canada’s work in numerous areas. As a result, the plans share many common themes and priorities including:

  • Conserving natural and cultural resources, and protecting ecological integrity and park landscapes for future generations;
  • Providing exceptional opportunities for Canadians to experience and connect with the natural and cultural landscapes, features, activities and stories that define Canada;
  • Strengthening Indigenous relations based on respect, collaboration, and partnership; and
  • Contributing to landscape-scale conservation and an understanding of climate change and its impacts.

National parks are managed in trust for all Canadians, so ensuring their values and views are reflected in every park management plan is a priority. This draft was written with strong consideration for the earlier feedback received from a wide variety of organizations and individuals about their vision for the park, and the values and principles that should guide its future management and priorities. We need to hear from you if we’ve achieved that goal.

Read the documents (PDF) Read the documents (HTML)

Please join the conversation. Leave a comment, share an idea, complete a survey, or ask a question on this site. You can also submit comments to: opinion@canada.ca or via regular mail to Banff Superintendent, Box 900, Banff Alberta, T1L 1K2.



  • At the heart of this management plan are nine key strategies. They describe how the park’s main challenges and opportunities will be addressed over the ten-year span of the plan to:

    • ensure authentic, safe, sustainable visitor experiences while maintaining or restoring the ecological integrity of the park; 
    • demonstrate environmental stewardship and encourage others to do the same; and 
    • improve Indigenous relations and better integrate Indigenous culture and knowledge into the life and work of the park.

    The key strategies do not sit in isolation from each other; rather they dovetail together to make up the total management approach for the park. Each strategy is accompanied by one or more objectives and targets, which reflect necessary key steps for implementing the strategy. 

    To ensure the keys strategies remain relevant and effective over the next 10 years, Parks Canada will maintain an open dialogue with the public on their implementation. 



      Conserving Natural and Cultural Heritage  


    The goal of this strategy is to ensure the park’s natural and cultural resources are protected for future generations. Parks Canada’s approach to this strategy will be built on the best available science and Indigenous knowledge, supported by careful and consistent monitoring. 

    This strategy connects to and builds upon others in the plan that relate to climate change, regional connectivity, visitor experience, stewardship, outreach and communication, and the respectful inclusion of Indigenous groups and their knowledge systems in the management of park resources.

    The objectives of this strategy describe a park where:

    • The park’s significance as a cultural landscape is better understood and its cultural resources are identified, preserved and protected in ways that respect their diverse origins and their past and present significance;
    • More aquatic ecosystems reflect water quality and levels at benchmark standards, support native species, and provide for connectivity;
    • keystone species thrive and the status of local species-at-risk populations improves; and
    • specific restoration activities contribute to improved ecological integrity.


    To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 1 on page 8 of the draft management plan.



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  • The goal of this strategy is to ensure diverse high-quality visitor experiences that respect and are rooted in authenticity; namely they reflect the specific place, and the diversity and distinctiveness of its resources, cultures, histories and landscapes.  These experiences must be developed and moderated on a site-specific basis with regard for ecological integrity, sustainability, and public enjoyment and safety. Such experiences have more meaning for many visitors and help foster a sense of appreciation for the value of protected areas like Banff. 

    This strategy connects to and builds upon others in the plan that relate to outreach and communication, managing development, moving people sustainably, and protecting natural and cultural resources.

    Objectives of this strategy describe a park where:

    • visitor experiences reflect its distinctive cultures and features, are delivered with integrity and meaning, and are supported by re-vitalized and well-maintained infrastructure / facilities; and
    • visitor experiences are sustainable, within site-specific physical capacity, and do not harm the park’s ecological integrity. 

      

    To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 2 on page 12 of the draft management plan.



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  • The goal of this strategy is to establish and open and welcoming environment for Indigenous peoples, to support them in practicing, sharing and preserving their cultures, and to facilitate their participation in the life and work of the park. It is also concerned with managing park resources in ways that acknowledge and respect Indigenous knowledge systems, and engages those systems in collaborative, meaningful ways. 

    This strategy affirms importance of the Banff Indigenous Advisory Circle, its role in facilitating a more respectful and inclusive future, and in protecting the integrity of the Indigenous presence in Banff.

    This strategy connects to and builds upon others in the plan that relate to conserving natural and cultural resources and true-to place experiences. 

    Objectives of this strategy describe a park where:

    • Indigenous peoples find it to be a respectful, inclusive and safe place;
    • it is managed in ways that respect the cultural and spiritual significance of the place to Indigenous peoples; and
    • the relationship between Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples with a connection to the park is characterized by sustained understanding and commitment.    


    To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 3 on page 14 of the draft management plan.



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  • The goal of this strategy is to create knowledgeable, enthusiastic park supporters with a passion to learn about and contribute to protected area conservation. Parks Canada aims to achieve this goal by engaging Canadians in the work of the park and demonstrating leadership in areas like conservation and education. 

    This strategy connects to and builds upon others in the plan that relate to protection of natural and cultural resources, true-to-place experiences, and climate change and sustainable operations. 

    Objectives of this strategy describe a park where:

    • there is broad, consistent sharing of information, research and monitoring results with the public.
    • Canadians have meaningful opportunities to be engaged in key park management activities. 

     

     To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 4 on page 16 of the draft management plan.



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  • The goal of this strategy is to protect the park’s scenic viewscapes and ecological integrity while allowing for development that supports quality visitor experiences, and is sustainable, accessible and inclusive.  It guides considerations for future development and re-development, and affirms Parks Canada’s commitment to longstanding policies concerning commercial development in the park.

     This strategy connects to and builds upon others in the plan that relate to true-to-place experiences and resource protection.

    Objectives of this strategy describe a park where:

    • land use and development decisions are consistently guided by clear considerations, policy and legislation; 
    • barriers to persons with disabilities are identified, prevented and removed;
    • new development or redevelopment reflects the purpose, importance and character of the park, does not interfere with or dominate park features, has no significant adverse impacts on park resources, and where possible, contributes positively to the local environment; and
    • consideration of large-scale development proposals is open and transparent to the public. 

     

    To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 5 on page 18 of the draft management plan.



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  • The goal of this strategy is to improve services to visitors and management of its natural and cultural resources by collaborating, coordinating, monitoring and planning with other land management agencies at the landscape level.

     Management challenges and decisions in mountain parks have implications beyond park boundaries; This strategy describes broad-based approaches to address issues such as such as climate change and ecological restoration, with partners outside the park.  

     It is strongly linked to and supports strategies on true-to-place experience, communication and education, resource conservation and protection and moving people sustainably.

     Objectives of this strategy describe a park where:

    • land management, resource protection and the provision of visitor experiences is coordinated across jurisdictional boundaries.

     

     To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 6 on page 19 of the draft management plan.



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  • The goal of this strategy is to ensure climate change impacts relating to visitation, asset and resource protection are addressed, the park’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.

    Banff National park includes some of Canada’s most significant landscapes and natural and cultural resources; these are already seeing the effects of climate change. As the future cumulative impacts of climate change may be substantial, climate change considerations and actions must be front-of-mind in park management and decision-making.

    This strategy links to all Parks Canada’s core work, including asset maintenance and operations, land use planning, natural and cultural resource research and management, community and visitor services, visitor safety and communications.

    Objectives of this strategy describe a park where:

    • decision-making, actions and operations consider and adapt to climate change; and
    • Parks Canada leads in sustainable operational practices.

     

    To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 7 on page 20 of the draft management plan.

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  • The goal of this strategy is to have park visitors and residents move about the park comfortably, efficiently, and sustainably, while optimizing access and the quality of their experience.  It envisions a system that goes beyond buses and parking lots, to capture the whole experience of being in and enjoying a national park.

    To enable increasing numbers of visitors to experience Banff National Park in a way that is environmentally sustainable, this strategy involves interconnected components that include but are not limited to self-propelled and mass transportation, site infrastructure, smart technology, booking and other access systems, and more.

    This strategy is strongly connected to and supported by other strategies and actions related to reducing impacts of climate change on park resources, and visitor experience. 

    Objectives of this strategy describe a park where travel to and within the park will be enhanced, sustainable and fit with the national park experience. 

    To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 8 on page 22 of the draft management plan.

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  • The goal of this strategy is that park communities continue to play their central role in welcoming visitors and in providing comfortable living communities for those who are eligible residents of the park.  It is also to ensure that character of the communities is consistent with the national park setting and with the applicable policy and regulatory framework. 



    It is strongly linked to and supports other strategies relating to quality visitor experiences, visitor communication and education, managing development and environmental protection.

    Objectives of this strategy describe a park where:

    • the village of Lake Louise and the town of Banff remain as sustainable visitor centres and places for welcoming, orienting, and staging visitors’ exploration of the park, while providing comfortable living environments for eligible residents.


    To find out more please refer to Key Strategy 9 on page 24 of the draft management plan.

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