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Group wants commercial development in national parks to be an election issue

A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo.
A view of Two Jack Lake in Banff National Park is shown in this undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Travel Alberta

CALGARY – Environmentalists hope to make increased commercial development in Canada’s national parks a federal election issue.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society fears recent projects approved for Banff and Jasper national parks represent the thin edge of a wedge that would see more development in other locations.

The group cites the Glacier Skywalk overlooking the Columbia Icefields and increased summer use of Mount Norquay ski hill near Banff as examples of what they are concerned about.

READ MORE: Environmentalists wary of Parks Canada plans for Lake Louise ski area

The society’s Alison Woodley says recently released guidelines would allow more development at Lake Louise, one of Canada’s largest ski resorts.

This would allow several warming huts to be built along with a large facility on the top of Mount Whitehorn.

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Critics argue the overall effect would increase the resort’s footprint by 30 per cent.

“It seems that once every generation private commercial developers gain a foothold in our national parks and that Canadians need to stand up to defend these special places,” Woodley said Thursday.

“Now is one of those times.”