Parks Canada will maintain operational responsibility of hot springs in Kootenay, Jasper, and Banff national parks
Today, Sept. 2, 2016, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, announced that Parks Canada will maintain operational responsibility for the Radium, Miette and Banff Upper hot springs. This means that the Government of Canada will no longer be seeking a private operator for the hot springs in Canada’s mountain national parks.
Stemming from Budget 2008, Parks Canada had been seeking a private operator for the three hot springs facilities, however, after extensive analysis and a focus on ensuring the effective management of the hot springs operations, the Government has determined that it is in the best interest of Canadians for Parks Canada to maintain operational responsibility of the hot springs facilities.
According to a government press release, “the hot springs are an iconic part of Canada’s history and integral to the establishment of Canada’s national park system as a way to protect these thermal waters. They are also of importance to Indigenous history and culture in the region. Parks Canada will continue to seek innovative ways to share this unique Parks Canada experience with a broad range of visitors, including youth and newcomers. As an international leader in conservation and a leading tourism provider, Parks Canada is committed to offering exceptional visitor experiences, while maintaining the ecological integrity of the hot pools in Kootenay, Jasper and Banff national parks.”
“The Government of Canada is committed to preserving our natural and cultural heritage. At the same time, it is important that we continue to find ways for more Canadians, including youth and newcomers, to be able to experience nature and learn about our heritage. The decision for Parks Canada to keep the responsibility for operating the hot springs will mean all Canadians can continue to have access to the hot springs. And it will make sure we are able to continue the traditional use of these special places by Indigenous Peoples,” said Ms. McKenna.