An expansion of Marmot Basin Ski Area into the Whistlers Creek valley, an important east-west wildlife corridor for the woodland caribou, would adversely affect this threatened species. The Marmot Basin lease covers 678 hectares, most of which is located in a bowl on the steep slope of Marmot Mountain. But the lease area also contains an adjacent step north slope leading down into the pristine Whistlers Creek Valley. The ski area’s leasehold is listed as Zone IV (Recreational). However, it is surrounded on all sides by lands designated as Zone II (Wilderness). In 1981, Jasper National Park recognized that “any expansion into the adjacent Whistlers Creek valley or use in the summer season would adversely affect woodland caribou, grizzlies, wolverines and mountain goats and would contravene Parks Canada’s first priority to protect wildlife and wilderness.” Now, there are plans to reverse this decision.
Current information about Ski Marmot Basin’s proposals is available at www.skimarmot.com/mountain/long-range-plsn. Information about Parks Canada’s management of the ski area can be found at www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/ab/jasper/plan.aspx. Ski Marmot Basin will present a draft Long Range Plan and draft Detailed Impact Analysis for public review and comment in the fall of 2013.
Marmot Basin proposes to �surrender’ 119.6 hectares of leasehold land at the bottom of its lease in the Whistlers Creek Valley. This comprises a narrow strip 250-600 metres wide and approximately 2,500 metres long, including a short stretch along Whistlers Creek. In exchange, Marmot Basin wants 222 hectares of new land for expansion that would include two ski lifts into the Whistlers Creek Valley.
For more information on the impact that such an expansion would have on the woodland caribou and the mountain goat populations, go to: www.jasperenvironmental.org.