(Above: Raw video from a preview tour of the Glacier Skywalk)
EDMONTON – It’s been a controversial project for Jasper National Park, but the Glacier Skywalk is nearly ready to open to the public.
The Glacier Skywalk, run by Brewster Travel Canada, promises to give outdoor enthusiasts and visitors views they’ve never experienced before.
“The whole concept behind it is to get people to really engage, and experience nature in its purest form,” explains Joanna Buckingham, with Brewster Travel Canada.
The 350-metre glass skywalk overlooks Sunwapta Valley, and gives guests a look nearly 300-metres straight down.
However, opponents say development of the spectacular area isn’t needed, and that tourists come for the untouched wilderness, which the highway alone previously provided access to.
“They closed it and the public is not allowed there anymore,” says Jill Seaton, of the Jasper Environmental Association. “So, what you have now is the same view, but now you pay $25 to go on it.”
Brewster Travel Canada says a portion of the pre-existing viewpoint will remain open to the public at no cost. The viewpoint will be accessible by free shuttle, not by car.
One per cent of Jasper National Park is designated for visitor service and the owners say this project falls into that, and the 99 per cent of pristine wilderness it overlooks is preserved.
“We always had started out with the premise that we wanted to build an interpretive experience and I think we’ve been successful in doing that with the 350-metre walkway, six interpretive stations focused on glaciology, the wildlife, and the design and engineering,” says Michael Hannon, president of Brewster Travel Canada.
The Glacier Skywalk will officially open in May 2014.
With files from Shane Jones, Global News