Who Won the Battle of Village Lake Louise? Park Planning, Tourism Development, and the Downhill Ski Industry in Banff National Park, 1964-1979

  • Author / Creator
    Chen, Qi
  • This study explores the history of stakeholder politics in the controversial debates over proposed plans for Village Lake Louise. A new ski resort village plan proposed for Banff National Park in 1971 triggered intense debate and mobilized protests from the Canadian public. Public consultation hearings attracted high participation and the proposal was ultimately turned down by the Government of Canada. The key proponents of the proposal were the National and Historic Parks Branch, Lake Louise Lifts Ltd. and Imperial Oil. Key opponents included National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada, Alpine Club of Canada, Bow Valley Naturalist Society, Environmental Law Association, as well as academics and members of the broader public. Using development to justify preservation was a rationale deeply entrenched in the philosophy of Canadian national parks administration and policy making. During the debate, Premier Peter Lougheed and his Alberta intergovernmental affairs minister Don Getty exercised a new provincialism that challenged Ottawa’s jurisdiction in national parks, further complicating the politics of development and tourism pertinent to Lake Louise. Federal Minister Jean Chretien responded with a rejection of the proposal and maintained national parks authority and control. Final victory for conservation advocates in 1972 was an unlikely outcome that warrants closer examination. The Village Lake Louise controversy is a significant turning point for Canada’s national parks as it activated huge public input that slowed commercial development in the Bow Valley resulting from compromise among different power forces, helped to formalize public consultation program in parks policy and challenged Ottawa’s control on Alberta National Parks. The project is based on archival and library research with collections at Library and Archives Canada, Whyte Museum of Canadian Rockies Archives, Provincial Archives of Alberta, and University of Alberta Library. The importance of the study is to contribute to a understanding of parks and conservation advocacy movements in Canadian civil society as well as ski industry tourism debates. By investigating the Village Lake Louise controversy, we see how the politics of environmental protection were linked to democratic process and engaged public participation, as well as better understand federal-provincial tensions over parks. This research on early conflicts between tourism development and environmental protection in Banff National Park informs our understanding of longstanding issues in Alberta parks. It contributes to a better understanding of environment and tourism concerns in Banff National Park, past and present.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Specialization
    • Recreation and Leisure Studies
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Reichwein, PearlAnn (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Davidson, Judy (Physical Education and Recreation)
    • Ens, Gerhard (History and Classics)