This article first appeared in print in the February 2019 issue of Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine.
Parks Canada is set to begin much-needed upgrades to the Rogers Pass area in Glacier National Park this summer. Confirmed projects include a 24-hour washroom facility, day-use area, and additional parking.
Work on the Rogers Pass renewal has been ongoing for several years with investments being made to upgrade infrastructure, address contamination issues and improve visitor services. Parks Canada demolished the former lodge and service station buildings in 2018.
Shelley Bird, acting external relations manager for Mount Revelstoke & Glacier National Parks, said the planned projects were identified as priorities with funding already secured. The safety of the public was central in deciding which projects would take precedence. The need for additional parking spaces are needed in the winter months when avalanche control or vehicle incidents cause closures on the Trans-Canada Highway. Bird said with 130 avalanche paths throughout the park, there is a need to provide safe parking for vehicles. The 24-hour heated washroom facility, which will include a waiting area, is also a key component for public safety during these closures, said Bird.
“It’s designed to fit the current motif of the visitor centre and with the natural environment,” she said.
The planned day use area is being completed as part of the development of the washroom. Bird said the land is already being prepared to accommodate the new building.
Other facilities, including overnight accommodations and food services, still being considered
While the current focus is on prioritizing safety and upgrading sewer and waterworks, other possible additions were identified through a request for public input on the Rogers Pass renewal. Public requests included the need for overnight accommodation and food services. Bird said the type of accommodation and food service varied greatly. Requests for additional accommodations included everything from additional camping to cabins, or hostels and a hotel. A significant interest in overnight accommodation came from winter users because currently the two campgrounds at Rogers Pass only operate during the summer. Requests for food service ranged from people just wanting to grab a quick coffee to a full-service restaurant.
Bird said there are a number of considerations when it comes to determining what services will be included. Parks Canada needs to consider their mandate mandate while ensuring people are able to enjoy and learn about the park. To date there are no clear timelines on when additional facilities, other than those already in the works, will be determined.
Bird said as Parks Canada moves forward there will be further opportunities for public input. Next steps include looking at what other infrastructure and additions will fit with the overall mandate of Parks Canada, and then figuring out how to secure funding.