State of the Park Assessment 2018: Executive Summary

Glacier National Park

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Each national park requires a management plan that describes its vision and broad direction. The management planning process takes place every 10 years and involves: assessing the current state of park resources; determining key trends, pressures and opportunities; setting priorities; and seeking input from all Canadians.

Because national parks are dynamic and change over time in response to many factors, a state of the park assessment is the first step in the management planning process. It provides a ‘report card’ on the condition of natural and cultural resources and aspects of Parks Canada’s work in a national park and describes whether the condition shows an improving, declining or stable trend. Condition ratings are determined through on-going monitoring, surveys and other forms of feedback, gathered since the previous Park Management Plan was approved in 2010.

Key indicators are grouped into six main themes–ecological integrity, cultural resources, external relations, Indigenous relations, visitor experience and built assets. Using established thresholds, indicators are rated as: Good, Fair, or Poor

The State of the Park Assessment uses data from a variety of sources, such as ecological monitoring results, visitor surveys, attendance counts, and built asset inspections. A standardized approach allows Parks Canada to compare parks and sites across the Parks Canada network. The following are the results for Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks.

Ecological Integrity

Five measures were evaluated for each of three important ecosystems in both Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks to rate their overall condition.

Forest ecosystems Fair

Monitoring and removal of invasive plants, the restoration of natural processes like fire, and actions to decrease wildlife mortality have all contributed to improving conditions. The forest ecosystems in MRG are rated fair.

Freshwater ecosystems Good

Monitoring of frog, toad and salamander populations, and assessments of water quality have shown positive results. Work has also been done to restore the natural flow of streams and rivers. The freshwater ecosystems in MRG are rated in good condition.

Tundra (or alpine) ecosystems Poor

Most conditions being monitored are impacted by broad issues like climate change that cannot be addressed solely at the park level, like shrinking glaciers and declining woodland caribou
populations. The Tundra ecosystems in MRG are rated poor.

Cultural Resources Good Fair

MRG protects sites and resources related to railway construction, mountaineering, ski jumping, logging and mining. Work on vegetation removal and restoration is key to addressing the steep terrain, thick vegetation, and harsh weather conditions that threaten these sites. Resources include 202 archaeological sites, four heritage buildings and other historic structures like the Loop Brook railway pillars. Cultural resources are rated good to fair.

  • Archaeological sites Fair
  • Buildings Good
  • Objects Fair

External Relations Good Fair

Bringing the parks to Canadians and engaging the public in meaningful ways helps create personal connections to the parks and foster support for park management. Social media, events, and urban outreach initiatives are helping promote the parks. Strategic partnering and volunteer opportunities help broaden public support. External relations is rated good to fair.

  • Promotion Good
  • Public support Fair

Visitor Experience Good

In 2017-18, 789,975 Canadian and international visitors spent time in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks, up from 637,489 in 2011-12. Based on Visitor Information Program surveys completed in 2011 and in 2016, enjoyment, learning and satisfaction with visitors’ experiences are all good. Visitation continues to increase.

Indigenous Relations

The lands where Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks are located have traditionally been used by the Syilx, Ktunaxa, and Secwepemc peoples. Relationship building with our Indigenous partners is a priority. Collaborative agreements with all three nation groups are pending and will help move forward in the spirit of reconciliation.

Built Assets Good Fair

Significant investments through the Federal Infrastructure Investment program have resulted in improvements to highways, roads, bridges and visitor facilities in both parks. Built assets were rated from good to fair.

Mount Revelstoke

  • Buildings Fair
  • Highways Good
  • Roads Good
  • Vehicular bridges Good
  • Visitor facilities Good


  • Buildings Fair
  • Highways Good
  • Roads Good
  • Vehicular bridges Fair
  • Visitor facilities Fair

Key considerations - identified from the State of the Park Assessment

Parks Canada identified the following as key considerations in planning for the future of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks, and Rogers Pass National Historic Site.

Climate change Shrinking glaciers are a key indicator to help understand the long-term effects of climate change on Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks’ ecosystems, including changes to the rate of flow of fresh water into lakes, rivers and wetlands.
Wildlife protection and conservation Increasing road and railway traffic continue to have negative impacts on wildlife in the parks. Research in Glacier National Park has identified key mitigations to help reduce highway mortality such as wildlife overpasses and/or underpasses, and wildlife detection signs. Woodland caribou populations continue to decline due to cumulative landscape changes within and beyond park boundaries. Similarly, suspected causes of terrestrial bird condition are due to habitat change within other areas of the migratory range, exacerbated by climate change. To contribute to broader population recovery actions, Parks Canada collaborates with partners and neighbouring land managers.
Invasive species, insects and disease Invasive species and non-native plants are currently threatening native species and ecosystems in Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks. Other potential threats include white-nose syndrome in bats and whirling disease in fish. Climate change is further exacerbating the spread of invasive species, insects and disease and the impacts are expected to worsen in coming years.
Wildfire Wildfire is crucial to a well-functioning ecosystem, and improves habitat quality for many species including species at risk like whitebark pine and olive-sided flycatcher. Fire can, however, place visitors, communities, and assets at risk.
Indigenous relations Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks have traditionally been used by the Syilx, Ktunaxa, and Secwepemc peoples. Parks Canada recognises the rich history of local Indigenous peoples on the landscape and is committed to strengthening relationships and deepening Indigenous involvement in the management of Mount Revelstoke and Glacier national parks. Collaborative agreements with all three nation groups are pending and will help move forward in the spirit of reconciliation.
Increasing visitation Visitation increased by 24% from 2011/12 to 2017/18. While visitor satisfaction has remained high, increased visitation at peak times of the summer visitor season are putting pressure on some park facilities and sensitive environments. For many years, our innovation and efforts, have helped mitigate most impacts.
Asset investment It is essential to balance the need to maintain and upgrade existing infrastructure with investments in new assets. Safety remains a top priority but visitor satisfaction is also of utmost importance.

We want to hear from you!

Are there other considerations that should be included? Visit Let's Talk Mountain Parks to find out more and have your say. or 250-837-7500.

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