Welcome to the third instalment in our 'Summer Stories Worth Revisiting' series! Today we look at Maligne Lake.   

Maligne Lake is the largest natural lake in the Canadian Rockies and the picturesque setting makes the area a popular tourist destination. In April news broke that Maligne Tours, a local tourist company, proposed building a 66-room hotel. Currently, Maligne Lake is a 9-5 attraction. 

Maligne Lake
"Maligne Lake at Spirit Island HDR" by David Grant is licenced under CC BY 2.0.


The hotel and accompanying attractions were criticized by environmental groups who argued that such a plan would argued that such a plan could damage the ecosystem and would contravene rules about development in national parks. 

In late July, Parks Canada rejected Maligne Tours hotel bid but approved 13 other concepts including tent cabins, a wildlife-themed maze. Despite the scaled back plans, environmental groups like the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) had concerns. A representative said the current park management plans does not allow new land within the park to be released for commercial accommodation. To allow for overnight tent cabins would mean amending the parks management plan and may negatively impact wildlife.    

Jasper National Park Superintendent Greg Fenton countered, arguing the Maligne Tours bid does not set a new development precedent and to allow for tent cabins would require an amendment to “one small component statement within the management plan"[1]. Fenton noted any plan would require detailed environmental impact assessment and public review. In August, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and the Jasper Environmental Association announced they would challenge the Maligne Lake development in court. The groups argued that by not ruling out the overnight accommodation, Parks Canada was going against their own guidelines disallowing out any new commercial development outside park town sites.  


Date  Article
August 28, 2014  The Canadian Press. Parks Canada challenged in court to fold tent on lake cabin concept. Edmonton Journal.
July 31, 2014  Foubert, Tanya. Parks rejects hotel for Maligne Lake. Rocky Mountain Outlook. 
April 9, 2014  Galloway, Gloria. Proposed hotel in picturesque Rockies park raises ire. The Globe & Mail. 


 Read more from our "Summer Stories Worth Revisiting" series

Part 1: Invasive Mussels

Part 2: Ghost Lake Reservoir

Part 3: Proposed Maligne Lake Development

Part 4: Cochrane Lake 


[1] Foubert, Tanya. (2014, July 31). Parks rejects hotel for Maligne Lake. Retrieved from http://www.rmoutlook.com/article/20140731/RMO0801/307319978/-1/RMO/parks-rejects-hotel-for-maligne-lake