As a way to help protect animals and humans, Jasper National Park has implemented a no-stopping zone along a busy stretch of highway west of the town.
People are no longer allowed to stop along a 12-kilometre stretch of Highway 16 from the Pipeline Ski Trail pullout to approximately four kilometres west of the Jasper townsite.
Wildlife — mainly bears — feed on spring vegetation and dandelions along this busy stretch of highway, Parks Canada officials said in a media release. At this time of year, an increased number of animals come to lower elevations to find food.
This, coupled with narrow shoulders and blind shoulders, makes stopping unsafe in the area, according to officials.
The closure, implemented Thursday, is temporary. Parks Canada said it will remain in place until food becomes more plentiful at higher elevations.
“The no stopping zone and temporary closures allow bears to feed undisturbed and prevents traffic congestion that is dangerous for both bears and people,” Parks Canada said.
Drivers who are legally required to conduct brake checks are allowed to continue to do so.
Parks Canada said the no-stopping zone will be enforced by parks staff and the RCMP. Penalties range from a $115 fine to a mandatory court appearance and a $25,000 fine, according to Parks Canada.
Feeding wildlife is always prohibited in national parks. Anyone who sees people feeding wildlife is asked to report them to Jasper Dispatch at 780-852-6155.