The Snowmobile: a recreational technology in Banff National Park : environmental impact and decision making

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Participation in technologically-orientated recreational activities has been growing at an unprecedented rate. The number of snowmobiles, the subject of this study, has nearly doubled each year in the last decade. Attempts have been made to provide facilities in a variety of areas, including national parks where such use is inconsistent with general park policy. However, national park administrators, unaware of the characteristics and implications of oversnow vehicle operation, seem to have perceived an obligation to accormnodate the new sport within existing park facilities. Operation of oversnow vehicles in areas and on trails designed for other purposes creates numerous environmental and land-use conflicts. This thesis examines these problems in Banff National Park and Region. The findings of this thesis are based on a review of previous research, detailed trail transects, a photographic record of trail developments, and a mail-in questionnaire. The research reveals that snowmobile operation is: (1) a major cause of vegetation damage and erosion along designated trails; (2) a serious threat to subnivean creatures and other wildlife; and(3) an increasingly annoying management problem on public land. Each of the conflicts are substantially magnified if the trails are subsequently used by other off-the-road vehicles. In Banff National Park, the general land-use policies used to direct and control snowmobiling, have not been effectively applied. All of the trails currently designated for snowmobile use violate policy guidelines as well as the fundamental principles of the National Parks Act. The contradictory application of the policy provides the basis for recommending the withdrawal of oversnow vehicle operation in Banff National Park and similar preserves and rigidly controlling it in all other areas.
Bibliography: p. 120-128.
Masyk, W. J. (1972). The Snowmobile: a recreational technology in Banff National Park : environmental impact and decision making (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/20333