The Giant Cedars Boardwalk, a popular Mount Revelstoke National Park attraction, will be closed for the 2022 summer season due to substantial damage, Parks Canada has announced. The Giant Cedars Day Use Area is closed during winter, and Parks Canada says that their staff were only recently able to go in and take a look at the boardwalks early this month.
Parks Canada says the damage is due to significant snowfall and fallen trees on the boardwalks. Parks staff says that they don’t know how many trees have fallen. Still, the initial inspection suggests the damage sustained will require a full assessment for safety, structural integrity, and environmental impacts on the surrounding area, Parks Canada said in a statement.
Giant Cedars is a top-ranked visitor attraction in the Revelstoke area, drawing the key vehicle-based summer visitor demographic to stop and stay in the area. It is currently ranked the number one Revelstoke-area attraction on Tripadvisor.
The Giant Cedars Boardwalk and picnic area saw 36,370 visitors in 2018 and 34,217 in 2019 during staff operating hours between 9–5 p.m. daily. Due to the pandemic, the Parks Canada facility was not staffed in 2020 or 2021, so Parks Canada could not report visitation numbers for those years.
Substantial funds required to reopen
The attraction has no timeline for reopening. Across the highways, the Skunk Cabbage Boardwalk has also sustained damage resulting in the closure of the area. After assessments are complete, Parks says planning will need to be undertaken to determine if the sites should be repaired, replaced, or reimagined to protect the sensitive ecosystems best and provide accessible visitor experiences.
“Once assessments are completed, work will proceed as funds become available. At this time, there is no timeline for lifting the closures,” Parks Canada said in an email to Mountaineer staff.
Parks Canada says that the damage sustained on both boardwalks is beyond regular annual maintenance and upkeep expenditures and will require additional funds.
“Part of the Columbia Mountains Natural Region, the boardwalks highlight two important and environmentally sensitive ecosystems, Columbia Mountains wetland complexes at Skunk Cabbage and the Interior Temperate Rainforest at Giant Cedars. A key characteristic of both is the significant annual precipitation, including deep, heavy winter snowpacks,” said Shelley Bird, Public Relations and Communications spokesperson for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks. “This climate takes a toll on visitor infrastructure and requires ongoing maintenance. In both cases, damage sustained is beyond the annual regular maintenance and upkeep, requiring substantial investment.”
Parks Canada says safety top priority
Parks Canada maintains that safety for visitors experiencing National Parks is of the utmost importance and please respect the area closures.
Parks Canada says it understands that these closures will impact the experience for visitors and say they remain committed to providing safe and meaningful experiences in Mount Revelstoke National Park and neighbouring Glacier National Park.
While these areas are closed, Parks Canada encourages visitors to explore other areas of the parks, such as the Soren Sorensen trails, Inspiration Woods and the Nels Knickers Interpretive trail in Mount Revelstoke and Bear Creek Falls in Glacier National park. Other areas of both parks are still largely snowbound but will open up as the snow melts.