JasperNow is now an active web-based app to help people plan out their visit. | Supplied photo Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Nobody likes it when they go to places like Athabasca Falls only to find the parking lot full and other cars driving around just waiting for a spot to open up.

Parks Canada has just brought back a website called JasperNow that aims to save people time and trouble as they search out Jasper National Park’s most popular day use areas. The website offers visitors a glimpse into how busy some places are.

“It’s just trying to get people to think ahead, and have a plan A, B and C,” said Jennifer Dubois, visitor experience product development officer for Jasper National Park.

The app is found on the webpage at www.pc.gc.ca/apps/parksnow where visitors can view information for four sites across Canada, including Banff and Jasper National Parks.

For Jasper, it offers data for 15 of the park’s most popular attractions: Old Fort Point, Pyramid Beach, Patricia Lake, Lake Annette, Lake Edith, 5th Bridge, Maligne Overlook, Maligne Canyon, Maligne Lake, Valley of the Five Lakes, Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta Falls, Icefields Centre, Toe of the Glacier and Miette Hot Springs.

It does the same for 12 reservable and non-reservable (self-registration) campgrounds.

For instance, the page indicated that Miette Campground was full with only walk-in sites available as of mid-afternoon on July 3. That information was retrieved on the morning of July 4, however.

It’s not a real time service, Dubois said, only a very close report that relies on staff input. A team of three staff members circulates within the three valley confluence to check in on locations before updating the webpage.

“They’re also going to be receiving reports from staff out at Maligne Lake. We have staff that are up that Edith Cavell, they can radio down and say ‘parking lot’s full… parking lot’s getting full… lots of space.’ It’s not actually real time but it’ll have a date stamp when it has been updated,” she said.

“It does give you a pretty reliable indication if things are starting to get busy or if things still have lots of space, then you can make a bit of a calculated plan to say, ‘Okay, I think by the time I get out there, I’ll be good or maybe I should move on to my plan B because it’s looking like it’s filling up’.”

The page will remain live throughout the busy summer season. She added that there will be traffic control on the really hot summer days at Lake Annette just as there was last year.

By Scott Hayes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 04, 2023

This item reprinted with permission from    The Fitzhugh    Jasper, Alberta

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