You might want to postpone visiting Canada’s Jasper National Park until May of 2020, when a “major facelift” that includes campground upgrades and removal of diseased trees is completed.
Whistlers Campground’s new bypass lane at the east park gates, and the removal of dead or dying trees due to the mountain pine beetle infestation are two of three major projects underway in Jasper National Park, reports CBC News.
“It is hoped that the improvements to Whistlers Campground, built in the 1960s, will carry it through the next 60 years,” said Steve Young, communications officer for the park. “One of the reasons we’re shutting this down is to do it once, do it right and minimize the impact year over year,” he said. “Nobody wants to camp beside a construction site.”
With 781 sites, Whistlers is described as North America’s largest single-entry campground. Those sites are used by up to 3,200 people a day, and make up a huge portion of Jasper’s campsite inventory, Young said.
Local businesses have also been kept up to date about construction, as the closure of the site could reduce the number of people visiting and spending money in the park.
“Most of them understand that doing this all at once is actually part of our efforts to mitigate the impact and keep it confined to one year,” Young said.
Once the $30-million project is complete, the campground will have widened roads and two new entry sites, while campers will have better access to bathrooms and showers, he said.
In addition to pine trees, some dead aspens and spruce trees susceptible to falling will be removed, he said. They’ll be replaced with seedlings once construction is over.
A third project Young said many visitors and travelers along the Yellowhead Highway have been asking for is a reconfiguration of the East Gate. Work is almost finished at the gate, which has been expanded from two lanes to four, and includes a bypass lane for through traffic, Young said.
The gate will also have an overhead sign that features lane directions, fire ban updates, wildlife messaging and information about campsite availability.