Three Jasper backcountry zones closing to protect caribou population
Wild caribou roam the tundra near the Meadowbank Gold Mine located in Nunavut on March 25, 2009. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Parks Canada announced Monday that three backcountry areas in Jasper National Park were set to close, in an effort to protect the woodland caribou population.
As of Nov. 1, access to the Tonquin, Maligne-Brazeau and North Boundary (scroll down for map) areas will be prohibited until 2019.
The backcountry areas will be closed to give woodland caribou in the park space. The animals are found at high elevations during the winter, sticking to areas of open slopes and deep powder snow.
Deep snow offers caribou an advantage over their natural predators, cougars and wolves, but they lose their edge when packed ski and snowshoe trails are established.
Access to the Tonquin area will be reopened on Feb. 16 for winter recreation, and all other areas will reopen on Mar. 1.
Details on trails and winter activities in Jasper can be found on the Jasper National Park website.