What Parks Canada wants you to know before visiting Banff
Published Wednesday, August 12, 2020 3:12PM MDT Last Updated Thursday, August 13, 2020 7:22AM MDT
A group of grizzly bears including a grizzly cub with a white head and a brown body are shown in this handout image in Banff National Park provided by Julia Turner Butterwick. Parks Canada are asking people to visit responsibly, adhering to parking and COVID-19 guidelines while inside the park. (Photo courtesy Julia Turner Butterwick/The Canadian Press)
BANFF, ALTA. -- Parks Canada is asking all visitors to minimize the impact on wildlife and other visitors' experiences by following Parks Canada guidelines.
With a primary focus on the COVID-19 guidelines, Parks Canada wants to remind visitors all regular park regulations are still in effect.
"We see a lot of Canadians enjoying getting out to parks, getting out in nature and enjoying the benefits that it provides, especially in a pandemic." said Daniella Rubeling, who's the Visitor Experience Manager for the Banff field unit. "But we want to remind people of how to do so responsibly, (because) we want to make sure people are prepared when they come out."
Rubeling suggests checking the Banff website to see what is open, the COVID-19 guidelines and to view regulations in order to be prepared before coming out to the park.
"One of the things we are seeing is busy days," said Rubeling. "Areas and trailheads are continuing to be popular and people may arrive and find the parking lots full, so we want to encourage people to have an alternate plan before they come out, so that when they arrive if the parking lot is full they can go to their alternate location just to avoid spilling over parking onto roadways where it actually becomes a hazard."
Visitors can check out Banff Now, a website that gives up to the minute updates and information on what parking lots are full and what lots are available.
Parks Canada also strongly encourages the proper disposal of garbage and not leaving any food out in day picnic areas.
If there isn’t a garbage bin readily available, it is recommended to pack your garbage in your vehicle and take it home with you, so it doesn’t become an attractor to small animals and other wildlife.
“If you are visiting, make sure that anything that could be a wildlife attractor is either secure in a vehicle or in one of the bear lockers," said Rubeling. "We have at many of our day areas and campgrounds just to avoid attracting wildlife to those sites.”
"It's really great seeing people out and enjoying parks and nature," she added. "This is really just a reminder of how to do that responsibly and enjoy it so that it's there for the long term so that our wildlife are kept safe and that other visitors can continue to enjoy the park as well."