One thousand, nine hundred and fifty five people partook in Parks Canada’s survey regarding the future of Rogers Pass. With Glacier Park Lodge demolished and contaminated soil remediated in 2018, Parks Canada has started planning for the future and engaging the public in what they would like to see at the historic site.
“We asked park visitors, through-travellers and other interested Canadians what their vision was for the future of Rogers Pass. Parks Canada is also consulting with our Indigenous partners. These discussions are ongoing. Significant investments are being made in the Rogers Pass area to upgrade infrastructure, address historic contamination issues, and improve visitor services,” says the Parks Canada site.
The majority of the respondents were from Alberta (57 percent), with the rest from British Columbia (37 percent) and the rest of Canada (5 percent) and international (1 percent).
As far as amenities were concerned, 82 percent of respondents requested new overnight options, 55 percent requested food options, 25 percent wanted a service station, and 9 percent requested keeping it as it is with no new amenities.
Regarding the visitor centre, respondents had plenty of ideas. While most enjoy the existing centre, extended hours, better wifi and updated displays were all suggested.
There are several ideas involving interpretive programs as well as readily available information about Indigenous peoples, railway history, wildlife, and swiss/general mountaineering and guides.
Highways were frequently mentioned, with respondents hoping for more pullouts, view points, improved turning lanes/exits, cycle friendly shoulders and, of course something most Revelstokians have long pushed for, twinned highway.
Backcountry users had plenty of thoughts. Better maintenance and creation of trails and camps, including the possibility of a bike trail on an abandoned rail bed or the beaver valley trail, were mentioned. Hut to hut routes as well as snowshoe and cross country ski trails were also mentioned.
Most respondents requested a 24 hour bathroom and improved washroom facilities. Other suggestions included a warming hut, gear storage lockers, picnic area and playground.
The Alpine CLub of Canada and Revive Rogers both responded to the survey. The groups had similarities in their responses, namely affordable accommodation including private and shares room, self catering facilities, cafe, storage/gear room, and multi purpose meeting space,
“Our members are frequent visitors to the Rogers Pass area and we realize support for change and reinvestment is strong among all those who have ever explored (this) area. Proper accommodation and services has long been the missing link in the use and enjoyment of this stunning are,” they noted.
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society also replied, urging the need to improve ecological integrity with the removal of the lodge and service station.
“Glacier National Park was established in 1886, at which time it was stated that the park included the ‘best scenery in the neighbourhood’. This is still the case – and the redevelopment should honour this. Updates to or redevelopments to Rogers Pass should be focused on enabling people to connect to the natural environment rather than increasing the built development footprint in the areas,” reads the submission.
Parks Canada noted that some of the requested improvements and amenities have already been identified and are either in progress or completed, including a permanent 24 hour washroom facility, a picnic area, additional parking, trail improvements and highway upgrades. Additionally, Parks Canada is collaborating with BC Hydro on a small electric vehicle charging station in the Roger Pass Discovery Centre parking lot, funded by the Accelerate Kootenays initiative and BC Hydro.
For all the information, visit https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/bc/glacier/info/plan/discussion/reaction