General Information

    What is Parks Canada's mandate?

    For over 125 years, Parks Canada has been the federal agency responsible for managing national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas.


    On behalf of the people of Canada, Parks Canada protects and presents nationally significant examples of the country’s natural and cultural heritage. Parks Canada foster's public understanding, appreciation and enjoyment in ways that ensure ecological and commemorative integrity for present and future generations.

    Parks Canada administers: 

    • 171 national historical sites
    • 47 national parks
    • 5 national marine conservation areas
    • 1 national urban park

    When was Jasper National Park established?

    Established in 1907, Jasper National Park is the largest and most northerly of the Canadian Rocky Mountain national parks. The park spans 11,228 square kilometres of broad valleys, rugged mountains, glaciers, vast forests, alpine meadows and wild rivers along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Iconic wildlife like grizzly bears, caribou, wolverines, and mountain goats are integral parts of this landscape.

    A transcontinental railway and the Trans-Canada Highway now traverse Jasper’s mountains through the Yellowhead Pass, following a route once used by Indigenous peoples, explorers and fur traders. The community of Jasper has grown from a railway divisional point to a vibrant visitor centre home to nearly 5,000 people, and campgrounds, lodges, and hotels have replaced horse outfitter camps.

    Jasper is the second most visited national park in the Parks Canada system, supporting a diverse array of sightseeing and recreational opportunities, while maintaining 97 percent of the park as wilderness with little or no development. As a core protected area in the Yellowstone to Yukon corridor of wild lands and waters, Jasper’s importance extends well beyond the park boundary.

    What is the Indigenous connection to the land?

    Long before Jasper was established as a national park, First Nations and Métis peoples lived and made their home on these lands. Some lived in the region year-round, while others came to the area on a seasonal basis for harvest, ceremony, travel or trade.

    The park was established in 1907. Shortly thereafter, Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed and excluded from park boundaries, as colonial government policies at the time considered Indigenous peoples to be incompatible with park establishment. Other Government of Canada policies—including restrictions on hunting and gathering, restrictions on leaving reserves, prohibitions on cultural practices and ceremonies and removal of children to residential schools—further prevented Indigenous peoples from travelling through, harvesting and exercising cultural practices in what is now the park. These government practices and policies disconnected Indigenous peoples from their traditionally used lands and waters and caused significant negative impacts to their communities that persist to this day.

    Jasper National Park is located in Treaty 6 and 8 as well as the traditional lands of the Anishinabe, Aseniwuche Winewak, Dene-zaa, Nêhiyawak, Secwépemc, Stoney Nakoda, Mountain Métis and Métis.

Land Use Planning and Development

    What is Land Use Planning and Development?

    Land use planning – often referred to as community planning, town planning, urban planning or simply planning services – can be defined as how decisions are made on what gets built where and how land may be used in certain areas.  

    Currently, in Jasper National Park, Parks Canada is responsible for regulating and administering these services.

    What are the objectives of these consultations on land use planning and development in the Town of Jasper?

    Parks Canada is examining how it administers its responsibilities for land use planning and development.  The goal is to look for ways to improve service delivery while ensuring that maintaining or restoring ecological integrity remains the first priority in park management.

    Over the last number of years, Parks Canada has conducted several consultation processes related to this topic, such as the proposed national planning permit process.  Through these and other conversations, the concept was raised of expanding the areas of services currently delivered by the Municipality of Jasper.

    In Jasper, there is a unique opportunity to explore an alternative service delivery model.  There are no other incorporated municipalities within the boundaries of national parks, except for Banff where the municipality does deliver planning services.  Parks Canada understands that land use planning and development issues can have significant negative impacts.  This set of consultations is about developing a new operating model where both the Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada work together in land use planning.

    What changes are being considered? What would not change?

    It is important to note that, at this time, no decisions have been made on the exact responsibilities that may be shared between the Municipality and Parks Canada.  These consultations are about seeking feedback on how land use planning and development services are delivered and what to consider if a new model is to be proposed.  Some of these responsibilities include community planning, zoning, permit approvals, subdivision of land approvals, variances, review and appeals, compliance and enforcement, and fees.

    Parks Canada has responsibility to enhance the preservation, protection, and presentation of the park for present and future generations and will continue to have a role as the regulator in managing land use within the park community.  No changes are being considered to development limits in the Canada National Parks Act such as the commercial floor area allocations, commercial zoning, and the town boundary.   No changes are being considered that would affect management outside of the Town of Jasper boundaries, either within Jasper National Park or in other national parks.

    As a manager of federal lands, Parks Canada will also continue to fulfilling its obligations under the Impact Assessment Act to prevent potential adverse environmental effects. This includes, but is not limited to, evaluating and enforcing mitigation measures as a condition of a permit for any proposed land use or construction project.

    Would this affect how park communities in other national parks are managed?

    These consultations concern land use planning and development within the Town of Jasper boundaries only.  In total, there are seven park communities in national parks across the country.  Parks Canada is not considering any changes that would affect management of those communities through these consultations.


    What is the Agreement for the Establishment of Local Government in the Town of Jasper?

    The Agreement for the Establishment of Local Government in Jasper was signed between Parks Canada and the Jasper Town Committee in 2001 and sets out the authorities and responsibilities of the municipal government.  Following the signing of the Agreement, the ‘Specialized Municipality of Jasper’ was created by the Province of Alberta by Order in Council.  The “Municipality of Jasper” is the local government body that administers most community services within the Town of Jasper, as well as limited services in a rural service area outside the town boundaries.  In delivering services in the Town of Jasper, the Municipality has all the powers of a town as defined in the Alberta Municipal Government Act, except for those related to land use planning, development, annexation and the environment.

    Does this mean the province would have a say in how the national park is managed?

    The Alberta Municipal Government Act gives municipalities the autonomy to manage their own affairs and to make decisions to meet the needs of their communities. The provincial government does not typically intervene in matters within the authority of local governments or national parks.

    If Jasper National Park is a protected area of international significance, why would Parks Canada not be involved in managing the park community?

    Parks Canada will continue to have an important role to play in land use planning in any future service delivery model.   Municipal bylaws, including those related to land use planning, will be required to comply with the Canada National Parks Act and the Jasper National Park of Canada Management Plan and not conflict with Parks Canada’s responsibilities for managing Jasper National Park, which is a UNSECO World Heritage Site.

    Through these consultations, Parks Canada is seeking input on considerations to taken into account when developing a new service delivery model.  This includes determining who will carry out what land use planning responsibilities.

    What is Part 17 of the Alberta Municipal Government Act?

    Part 17 is the main portion of the provincial legislation that sets out municipal authority for land use planning and development.  This includes requirements for creating a municipal development plan, creating land use bylaws, subdivision, and development control.   As per the Establishment Agreement, this part of the act does not currently apply in Jasper.  Parks Canada manages land use planning under the Canada National Parks Act and its multiple regulations.

    The purpose of Part 17 of the Alberta Municipal Government Act is set out in section 617 as follows:

    The purpose of this Part and the regulations and bylaws under this Part is to provide means whereby plans and related matters may be prepared and adopted

    1. to achieve the orderly, economical and beneficial development, use of land and patterns of human settlement, and
    2. to maintain and improve the quality of the physical environment within which patterns of human settlement are situated in Alberta,

    without infringing on the rights of individuals for any public interest except to the extent that is necessary for the overall greater public interest.

    Why is Parks Canada considering doing this now?

    The Municipality of Jasper has been delivering services to the community since the Establishment Agreement was signed in 2001, creating the local government.  In 2022, The Municipality of Jasper requested that Parks Canada consider expanding the services delivered by the Municipality within the town boundaries to include some responsibility for land use planning and development.  Currently, in Jasper National Park these services are delivered by Parks Canada under the Canada National Parks Act.

    These consultations are about seeking feedback on how these services are delivered and what to keep in mind if an alternative service delivery model is to be pursued where the Municipality and Parks Canada work together in land use planning and development issues.

Town Boundaries

    What areas of the Park are we talking about?

    Any changes to how land use planning and development services may be delivered in the future will only apply within the boundaries of the Town of Jasper.  The terms ‘park community’, ‘townsite’, and ‘Town of Jasper’ are often used interchangeably to refer to the area set out in the Canada National Parks Act.  The map below shows the boundaries of the Town of Jasper within the Jasper National Park.   No changes are being considered that would affect management of the park outside of Town of Jasper boundaries.

    What is the difference between the boundaries for the Town of Jasper and the Municipality of Jasper?

    The boundaries for the Municipality of Jasper comprise a larger area within which the municipal government collects taxes and provides some services such as structural fire fighting and emergency response.  Because of this larger service area, the local government is also referred to as the “Municipality of Jasper”.  The Town of Jasper has a much smaller footprint, as shown in the map above, and Parks Canada will retain all responsibility to deliver land use and planning services outside of the Town.

    Will the Town of Jasper grow as a result of this?

    Parks Canada has a responsibility to enhance the preservation, protection, and presentation of the park for present and future generations.  Ecological integrity will continue to be the first priority in park management, including in managing development or redevelopment.  There are several limits to development that will continue to apply to the Town of Jasper regardless of the outcome of the discussions underway.   While the Municipality of Jasper may be involved in delivering planning services in the future, the Canada National Parks Act contains several important provisions that will remain unchanged in relation to the community’s future development:

    • the townsite boundary is fixed,
    • the amount of commercial floor area is capped at 118,222 m2, and 
    • the size and configuration of the area zoned for commercial development is set.


    I participated in previous consultations on the national planning permit process. How does it relate to these consultations?

    The proposed National Planning Permit Process (NPPP) is a new way of managing land use and construction permits at Parks Canada.   It is a proposed decision-making process that will provide consistency and transparency to how Parks Canada makes decisions on proposed projects.  That initiative will result in new Land Use Planning Regulations under the Canada National Parks Act, a new fee structure under the Agency Master Fees List, as well as service delivery improvements.   Consultations on the NPPP were conducted in 2018 and 2022.  Additional consultations were conducted in 2019 on the Jasper Zoning Regulations and Housing that informed the formation of those regulations and internal policies.   More information on that initiative can be found here.

    This set of consultations is about developing a new operating model where both the Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada work together in land use planning.

    How will my feedback be used?

    Parks Canada would like to hear from individuals and stakeholder groups with an interest in land use planning and development in Jasper. This includes, but is not limited to: Indigenous groups, commercial and residential leaseholders; business operators; residents; visitors; property owners; industry professionals; interest groups, and Canadians in general.  

    The results of the consultation activities will be summarized as part of a What We Heard Report that will be published to this page.  Feedback received will be anonymously analyzed highlighting the perspectives of different groups.  All information will be considered in making recommendations to the Minister on next steps.   

    What are the next steps and how long will this take?

    Parks Canada is seeking feedback on how land use planning services are delivered in Jasper.  Following consultations, a What We Heard Report will be published.  It will outline the next steps in the process and whether further changes to the current service delivery model should be considered.

    In developing these next steps consideration will be given to whether amendments will be made to the Canada National Parks Act, what changes are needed to the Establishment Agreement, the development of a joint Municipality of Jasper and Parks Canada operating agreement, and municipal bylaw development.