Parks Canada Considers Visitor Restrictions for Lake Louise Area

Restrictions may be imposed on visitors to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake as Parks Canada attempts to manage record tourist numbers in Banff National Park.

Parks Canada announced Thursday that it is developing a visitor management plan for the Lake Louise area, as increased tourist numbers impact the visitor experience, safety and ecological integrity.

Banff National Park has seen a 31 percent increase in visitors over the past decade, with the 2023-24 tourist season set to be the busiest ever.

The first part of the Parks Canada plan is to feedback from Canadians about what they want for the Lake Louise area.

A couple looks out over Moraine Lake at sunrise, Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada.

Matteo Colombo/Getty Images

“What are our capabilities? What are our pressure points? What is a quality visitor experience there? So we want to hear from residents, Canadians, to really engage with this research so that we hear them and respond accordingly,” said Dwight Bourdin of Parks Canada.

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“We haven’t made any decisions yet. We’re now in an information gathering phase… (to) determine what are the desired conditions that Canadians want for the Lake Louise and Moraine Lake area,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Expect Vehicles to Be Turned Away This Long Weekend as Lake Louise Sells Out Daily'

Expect vehicles to be turned away this long weekend as Lake Louise sells out daily

Parks Canada is already receiving feedback from Banff National Park visitors, which has helped shape the survey.

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“In the lead-up to this process, through emails from visitors, meetings with stakeholders… we often hear the general frustration that they can’t get to their intended destinations,” said Zoe Arnold of Parks Canada.

Last year’s tourist season was the busiest ever for Banff National Park.

Sarah Offin, World News

Arnold added that Parks Canada uses several tools to manage visitor numbers at Lake Louise.

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“For example, traffic control, staff cycling through a parking lot when it is full, or the shuttle bus is on a reservation system, which means that only a limited number of shuttle spaces are available per day,” she said.

“Unfortunately, we still have to disappoint many disappointed visitors every day.”

The The survey first opened to the public on June 17 and will be open until July 28.

The second part of the Parks Canada engagement plan will launch later this year and will examine strategies and actions including visitor restrictions, shuttle services and paid parking.

Click to play video: 'Big increase in parking fees at Lake Louise'

Major increase in parking fees at Lake Louise

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Cam Green

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