The balance of protecting wildlife from campers – while also trying to attract more campers from around the world – is proving difficult to strike for Parks Canada staffers.
Banff National Park became the site of a blood bath this summer, as multiple wolves from the Bow Valley pack were killed following “aggressive” behaviour toward human visitors. Parks Canada stated, very clearly on many occasions, that feeding – both direct and indirect – of the wolves was causing this behaviour. Despite dozens of fines and an increase in signage, media reports indicate that the message isn’t sinking in for visitors.
“Some of the camperscharged in the incidentshave sincepleaded guilty in court, notingthey eitherdidn’t know there was a wolf warning in effect, didn’t understand what it meantor didn’tspeak English,” reported the Calgary Herald.
“I asked for the literature at the gate… It’s feeble. It’s superficial. There’s nothing substantial there,” Colleen Campbell, a past-president of a local naturalist club told the Herald. “If we don’t get the word out properly, we’re going to be doomed.”
Campbell also echoed a concern voiced by The Fur-Bearers during the summer: the number of staffers working at busy Banff-area campsites.
“There are not enough people dedicated to monitoring and policing and communicating what has to happen when you are in the park,” she said.
Multi-language signage and brochures are absolutely necessary, and we applaud Parks Canada staff for taking steps to address these factors. But the Ministry of Environment must also recognize their role in this by providing a budget increase to staff at national parks, making education and enforcement possible.
Photo of Bow Valley wolf by KerriMartinPhotography.com