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The Conversation: It’s time to press the reset button on Canada’s national parks

By Edward Struzik, Fellow, Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, School of Policy Studies, Queen’s University
This article is republished from The Conversation.

Last summer, my daughter and I hiked the Sulphur Skyline trail in Jasper National Park. As it was mid-week, we had hoped it would not be as crowded as it can be on a weekend.

Nothing, however, prepared us for the caravan of people we encountered along the way.

There were seasoned hikers like us. But there were also people stumbling along in flip flops and city shoes, a young man with a boombox blasting from his shoulder and slower folk who eventually turned back because they could not trek up the steep mountainside.

We could have left behind the bear spray.

The only animals we saw were chipmunks being hand-fed at the summit. No park officials were there to tell the tourists that this was both illegal and unhealthy for the rodents.

A wilderness experience this was not.