National Parks History
| May 2012
||In swinging federal budget cuts, 138 Parks Canada employees in Banff, Jasper, Yoho and Waterton Lakes national parks learn that their jobs are either “surplus” (positions that will be eliminated) or “affected”. In addition, 25 employees at the Parks Canada regional office in Calgary are also told they will lose their jobs.
| February 2012
|| Despite enormous public opposition, the proposed "Glacier Discovery Walk" is approved by Parks Canada. More than 180,000 people sign a petition against the proposed development, but to no avail.
| December 2011
||After a long drawn-out stakeholder process, Parks Canada agrees to bring in new travel restrictions on Banff National Park's Bow Valley Parkway. The traffic ban on the 17-kilometre stretch of highway will begin in 2013 and will apply from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. between March 1 and June 25 each year. AWA congratulates Parks Canada for putting the interests of wildlife first on this section of highway.
|2011|| Brewster proposes to build a "Glacier Discovery Walk", a huge metal, glass and concrete structure, in Jasper National Park. Local residents and environmental organizations oppose this "crass commercialization" of the park.
||The final versions of the management plans are passed, and despite considerable public comment, there are only minimal changes to the original drafts.
| November 2009
||Draft management plans released for Banff, Jasper and Waterton, and made available for public comment. AWA and other conservation organizations express considerable apprehension at the proposed change in direction for the management of the parks. Whereas the legislated first priority for park management is ecological integrity, this draft plans place far more emphasis than ever before on maximizing the "visitor experience."
| August 2008
||Jasper National Park State of the Park report released.
|2004||Banff Management Plan amended to include Human Use Management Strategy.
||Canada National Parks Act states "maintenance or restoration of ecological integrity, through the protection of natural resources and natural processes, shall be the first priority of the Minister when considering all aspects of the management of parks.”
| May 2000
||Management Plans produced for Jasper and Waterton National Parks. State of the Park reports released for Banff and Waterton.|
|1998||Eleven years after the implementation of the Elk Island trumpeter swan reintroduction program, the first pair of reintroduced trumpeters successfully raise four cygnets, becoming the first breeding pair in the Park in over a century.|
|1997||Management Plan approved for Banff National Park.
|1996|| The Banff- Bow Valley Task Force produces its report, Banff-Bow Valley at the Crossroads. The report warns of the serious ecological threat posed by ever increasing visitation:
|1990||Town of Banff incorporated as an Alberta municipality, though still subject to the National Parks Act and its regulations.
|1988||Management plans produced for the first time for Banff and Jasper National Parks.|
|1987||The Canadian Wildlife Service, Parks Canada Agency, and the Friends of Elk Island initiate the Elk Island National Park Trumpeter Swan Reintroduction Program.|
|1985||Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.|
|1984||The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks, including Banff and Jasper in Alberta, are declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.
|1983||Wood Buffalo National Park is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
|1965||23 wood bison from Nyarling River Area, Wood Buffalo National Park, introduced to Elk Island National Park.
|1957||J.B. Harkin, Canada's first Commissioner of National Parks, writes:
"National Parks are maintained for all the people— for the ill, that they may be restored, for the well that they may be fortified and inspired by the sunshine, the fresh air, the beauty, and all the other healing, enobling and inspiring agencies of Nature. They exist in order that every Citizen of Canada may satisfy his craving for Nature and Nature’s beauty; that he may absorb the poise and restfulness of the forests; that he may steep his soul in the brilliance of the wild flowers and the sublimity of the mountain peaks; that he may develop in himself the buoyancy, the joy and the activity he sees in the wild animals; that he may stock his mind with the raw material of intelligent optimism, great thoughts, noble ideals; that he may be made better, happier, and healthier.”
|1947||Elk Island National Park expanded to include 60 km2 south of Highway 16, today known as the Wood Bison Area.
|1942||Beaver reintroduced to Elk Island National Park.
|1932||Waterton Lakes joins with Montana's Glacier National Park to form the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a world first.|
|1930||The National Parks Act transfers the Kananaskis River watershed, parts of the Spray and Ghost River watersheds, and an angle between the Cline and Siffleur Rivers, out of Rocky Mountains Park to the province of Alberta. Rocky Mountains Park is renamed Banff National Park.
Lands along the eastern border of Jasper Park from Rock Lake through Brûlé, and south through the heads of Prairie Creek and Gregg River are similarly transferred to the province. Jasper Park is renamed Jasper National Park.
The Alberta Natural Resources Act increases the area of the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve by transfers of land from parks, and the entire Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve is transferred to the Province of Alberta.
|1929||All areas in Jasper Park south of the Brazeau River are transferred to Rocky Mountains Park. A further 267 km2 around Mount Malloch along the Clearwater River are added to Rocky Mountains Park. A small strip of land between the Brazeau and Southesk Rivers is also added to Jasper Park. Finally, Jasper Park's northern boundary is adjusted to follow the height of land between watersheds, and a few lines-of-sight across valleys.|
|1928||The CNR main line east of Hinton is moved from the former Canadian Northern Railways line to the former Grand Trunk Pacific line. This frees up the former to be used as a road, providing easy road access to Jasper from Edmonton.|
|1927||Jasper Park is increased in area to the south, to include portions of the upper North Saskatchewan River watershed, including parts of Siffleur, Cline, Cataract and Brazeau River basins, as well as the Mistaya River to Bow Summit.|
|1924||The CNR eastern spur line to Pocahontas is abandoned and converted into a road.|
|1923||An Act to Amend the Dominion Forest Reserves and Parks Act increases the area of the Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve via the addition of 68 sections in township 41.
Canadian National Railways (CNR) is created from the now-consolidated Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian Northern Railways.
|1922|| Wood Buffalo National Park established "to protect the last remaining herds of bison in northern Canada."
Elk Island National Park expanded south to current day Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to reduce impact of overgrazing.
|1917||Rocky Mountains Park is increased in area to include the Kananaskis and Spray river watersheds in the south and the upper reaches of the Red Deer River headwaters in the north, extending as far as the south bank of the Clearwater River.
The Grand Trunk Pacific and Canadian Northern Railways are consolidated.
|1915||Canadian Northern Railway is completed to Vancouver.|
|1914||Jasper Park is increased in area to include the entire upper Athabasca River watershed, so that it now extends from township 51 in the north to the Brazeau River in the south.
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway is completed to Prince Rupert and Canadian Northern Western Railway is opened as far as Nordegg.
|1911-1913||1911: Rocky Mountains Park is reduced in area to comprise only the Bow River watershed west of the Kananaskis River. Jasper Park is also reduced to a strip 10 miles wide along either side of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway, starting at a point just east of Brûlé Lake. The railway is completed as far as the Jasper townsite, with passenger service starting in 1912.
Land removed from the parks is assigned to Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve, which is further expanded in 1913.
Grand Trunk Pacific Railway's Coal Branch is completed to Lovett in 1912, then extended to Cadomin and Mountain Park in 1913.
With the opening of a refurbished Banff Coach Road, the 1905 ban is rescinded and automobiles are again allowed into Rocky Mountains Park.
March 1913, Elk Island Park is formally designated as a Dominion Park.
|1910||Rocky Mountains Forest Reserve is established.
The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway is completed to Edson.
|1909||Fencing completed in Elk Island National Park. 325 plains bison shipped in.
|1907||Jasper Forest Park is established. The boundary is later clarified in 1909.|
|1906||July 1906. The Dominion Forest Reserve Act establishes the 42 km2 "Elk Park".
|1905||Automobiles are banned from Rocky Mountains Park, with a federal Order-in-Council proclaiming that: “the use of Automobiles of every kind be prohibited on any road or elsewhere within the limits of the Park.”|
|1902||Rocky Mountains Park is expanded to include Lake Louise Forest Park and all areas south of township 35 and west of range 7 (west of the 5th meridian).|
|1899||Elk Island area was officially designated as "The Cooking Lake Forest Reserve."|
|1895|| Waterton Lakes National Park established
|1892||Lake Louise Forest Park is incorporated.|
|1887||The Rocky Mountains Park Act establishes Rocky Mountains Park, Canada's first national park and the second in North America (after Yellowstone). The new park includes the Hot Springs Reserve.|
|1885||Hot Springs Reserve is incorporated at Banff.
The Canadian Pacific Railway is completed to Vancouver.
|1883||The Canadian Pacific Railway is opened to Kicking Horse Pass, providing easy access to the Banff area for the first time.
In September 1883, local rancher, Fredrick William Godsal writes to his friend William Pearce (Superintendent of Mines for Canada):
"I believe that some years ago in an official report you recommended that the Crows Nest Pass, Kootenay or Waterton Lakes, etc., should be reserved as National Parks. I wish now in the strongest manner to urge upon the Government the adoption of this suggestion without delay."