Kootenay National Park upgrades announced

More than $25 million announced for work in KNP this year

More than $25 million is pouring into Kooteney National Park (KNP) this year.

The funding was part of a larger $31 million infrastructure announcement made by Parks Canada Thursday, May 3rd, for Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks collectively.

Melanie Kwong, Park Superintendent for Yoho, Banff, and Kootenay parks, said the work will help enhance the park with a range of safety improvements.

“They’re not the types of things that are obvious to passerby – things like bridges and culverts integral to roadways, and used by lots of people both locally and traveling through,” Ms. Kwong says.

While many projects will not be noticed by KNP users, one of the smaller-cost projects at Numa Falls bridge and day use area ($1 million project), includes a new pedestrian bridge that will help reestablish a trailhead for the Rockwall Trail in 2019.

Ms. Kwong says when planning projects, Parks Canada considers the benefits to wildlife, the ecosystem, and for visitors.

“We always have to look at everything for Parks Canada, not one or the other. We see everything as integrated,” says Ms. Kwong.

Ms. Kwong says these projects will help keep the park safe and enjoyable for all users, and the ecosystem. She personally enjoys this national park, reporting when she has friends visit from her home province of Ontario, she directs them to places like Marble Canyon or Stanley Glacier since they are accessible for people with minimal mountain experience. For her personal Kootenay Park favourite, Ms. Kwong says it has to be Floe Lake – “it’s a really special place,” she comments.

Projects in KNP include Haffner Creek bridge replacement just south of Marble Canyon day use area ($6.5 million); Sinclair Canyon bridge rehabilitation design and structural culvert upgrades ($9.1 million); Marble Canyon structural culvert upgrade, Wardle Creek bridge rehabilitation and bridge rehabiliation designs ($10.1 million); Numa Falls bridge and day use area ($1 million), and building work to McKay Garage and Operations Centre (part of a larger building project for the KNP and Banff parks, valued at $3.8 million).

Amy Krause, Parks Canada public relations and communications officer, says the projects were selected following a strategic assessment conducted in 2012.

“Results of the assessment helped to inform investment decisions while contributing to the long-term sustainability of the asset portfolio. This assessment considered many things including visitor safety, ensuring high-quality visitor experiences, preserving the ecological integrity of parks and marine conservation areas, and maintenance of our historic sites,” Ms. Krause lists in an email response.

Elsewhere in the park, work continues at Radium Hot Springs pools to ensure the mechanical and structural integrity of the facility, Ms. Krause reports.

“Work on the aquacourt and café included rehabilitating heating, plumbing and electrical systems, elevators, replacing the rooftop deck, and structural repairs to stairs and walkways including a new entry bridge and pedestrian access ramp. The project also moved the facility to geothermal energy for greater energy efficiency. This work is scheduled to be complete by summer 2018.”

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