The 2023 Annual Public Forum saw a modest attendance of approximately 50 people. | S.Hayes photoScott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

If Jasper National Park was a corporation, then its Annual Public Forum would be considered its annual general meeting with all Jasperites as shareholders.

Supt. Alan Fehr appropriately extended that ownership to all Canadians.

“In the last two or three years, we’ve had virtual annual forums so that if people were interested, they could dial in from anywhere,” he said. “That’s very much our commitment through our Management Plan that we report back to Canadians.”  

This marked the 20th anniversary since Jasper National Park first began hosting the event in the community.

It was the first in-person forum to be held since 2019. Approximately 50 people attended the event held on April 19 at the Jasper Activity Centre.

“We’ve changed our approach a little bit, because we’re trying to get not just this information out, but we want to get more information in,” Fehr said.

“We’re interested in people’s ideas or suggestions, because there’s a lot of things that are happening in the world today. Demographics have changed because visitation patterns change. There’s a lot of interesting things that are happening in the world, and in some cases, they come to a bit of a head in the park.”

Set up in the “trade show” style, attendees could visit any or all of a series of booths with designated topics including trails, fire, bears in the valley, visitation, Indigenous relations, caribou, and realty and development. Representatives from various areas of Parks Canada’s Jasper field unit offered further information and answered questions.

Fehr also offered his year-in-review speech that highlighted much of the work that has been done over the last year while previewing the priority work that is to come for 2023-24.

He noted some statistics from the past calendar year including:

  •   More than 2.4 million visitors;
  •   453,000 frontcountry campers and 14,800 backcountry campers;
  •   More than 29,000 participants for in-person interpretive programs;
  •   Approximately 27,000 students received virtual educational programming; and
  •   4,316 whitebark pine saplings were planted.

He invited all to download their own copies of the 2022 Annual Report from Parks Canada’s website. Those who were unable to attend can request the presentation by sending an email to People can also pose questions regarding the presentation to that address.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 26, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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