Parks Canada in Field

The letter to the editor about recent cuts at Parks Canada in Yoho.

I lack confidence in the decision to close the Parks Canada information centre in Field during the winter, spring and fall. I lack confidence in cutting the funding to the cross country ski trails in Yoho National Park while the neighbouring park’s trails are not affected. I lack confidence in the decision to privatize janitorial services in Yoho – it will cost more.

From a CBC radio interview, Peter Kent said visitation is falling in the National Parks. This is not true for Yoho. I have been in Yoho National Park for 30 years. I manage and work in the Velvet Antler Pottery. I have developed loyal customers and a stable business by offering a quality experience and ceramic art, and, by staying open year round. The Superintendent is determined to close the information centre in the winter and shoulder seasons. He has offered to assist stakeholders in “developing a program and products to attract visitors.” This is insulting. What do they want me to sell – plastic Mounties? My marketing strategy is to stay open. What is Parks Canada’s marketing strategy?

About 20 years ago, Parks Canada began to think of its organization as a business. But what business would cripple its revenue opportunities and visitor experiences? The west end of Yoho was a thriving destination for campers. At one time both Hoodoo Creek and Chancellor Peak campgrounds were closed. It took a lawyer from the private sector to put pressure in the right place to open Chancellor Peak again. Boulder Creek maintenance garage was closed after a $2-million renovation. Ian Church, Superintendent at the time, was fired for arguing with this decision.

Since then, no superintendent has lived in Yoho.

What business would close an information centre that advocates for public health and safety,  is an ambassador for Parks Canada and a gateway to the village of Field? Why cripple the information centre when last year it brought  $500,000 to Parks Canada? The community has asked for a financial statement. The superintendent has not provided the financial information.

Does Parks Canada want people to come and visit Yoho, or just drive through it?

Ryan Cameron