This article is over 5 years old and may contain outdated information.


Banff National Park braces for more visitors, charges in 2017 season

The national park laid 1,070 charges between 2006 and 2016 — more than any other national park in the country during the same period

  • Jan 27, 2017
  • 334 words
  • 2 minutes
banff national park Expand Image

The number of charges and fines handed out in Banff National Park and other mountain parks is expected to rise this year, as more visitors take advantage of the free entry afforded by Parks Canada’s sesquicentennial Discovery Pass.

“Clearly the highway system in the mountain parks — it is going to be terrible next summer all summer long,” Ben Gadd, a retired nature guide and author of Handbook of the Canadian Rockies told the Canadian Press in January. “When you have that situation and animals trying to cross, there are going to be more accidents, more animals killed.”

Gadd told the Canadian Press that he was also concerned about crowded attractions, trash and people feeding or getting too close to wildlife — conditions and behaviours that could lead to charges being laid.

Back in October, Banff National Park made the news: the Calgary Herald reported that park wardens laid 1,070 charges in the decade between Jan. 1, 2006, and May 4, 2016 — more than any other national park in the country during the same period.

“Banff is our busiest national park so that does mean more potential for incidents,” Tamaini Smith, director of Parks Canada’s law enforcement branch, told the Herald in the paper’s story about a federal report that breaks down how many people were charged in 38 of Canada’s 46 national parks, the cost of the average fine and the most common offences during the past decade. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, on the west coast of Vancouver Island, had the second highest number of charges, with 534, while Alberta’s Jasper National Park had the third highest, with 277.

Snaith told the Herald that overall “There’s about four [infractions] per 100,000 visitors. It’s really a very small number of visitors who are getting charged and breaking the law.”

More than three million people have applied for the Discovery Pass since it became available in December.



Are you passionate about Canadian geography?

You can support Canadian Geographic in 3 ways:

Related Content

A crowd of tourist swarm on a lakeside beach in Banff National Park


Smother Nature: The struggle to protect Banff National Park

In Banff National Park, Alberta, as in protected areas across the country, managers find it difficult to balance the desire of people to experience wilderness with an imperative to conserve it

  • 3507 words
  • 15 minutes
Banff wildlife overpass, anniversary, national park, bear, wolf, elk, cougar


As Banff’s famed wildlife overpasses turn 20, the world looks to Canada for conservation inspiration

The innovative structures are heralded for having opened migration corridors and saved countless animals from vehicle collisions

  • 1586 words
  • 7 minutes


9 reasons why you don’t need skis to enjoy Banff

From forest bathing to historic hotels, Canada’s iconic winter wonderland has more to offer than fresh powder

  • 817 words
  • 4 minutes
Andy McKinnon


Canada’s first national urban park

It’s an ambitious plan: take the traditional Parks Canada wilderness concept and plunk it in the country’s largest city. But can Toronto’s Rouge National Urban Park help balance city life with wildlife?

  • 3601 words
  • 15 minutes