FINDING SOLUTIONS FOR
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
by Billie Norman
Rogers Pass is a mecca for backcountry skiers, splitboarders, hikers and mountaineers. Yet with the closure of Glacier Park Lodge, the future of lodging development in that area is uncertain. Enter: Revive Rogers, a community-based initiative working to ensure the restoration of lodging at Rogers Pass. Here’s the background story, and how you can get involved.
Deemed the birthplace of mountaineering in North America, Rogers Pass holds a tremendous amount of history and a special place for many outdoor enthusiasts. With over 17,000 visiting the area last winter, Rogers Pass has become a hotspot for ski touring and splitboarding alike (with a considerable amount of users in summer, too). The recent closure of the only lodging along the highway, Glacier Park Lodge, has led to the uncertainty of future accommodation. In light of this, Revive Rogers has been sparked, with a focus on the restoration of lodging for backcountry users who frequent the Rogers Pass area.
TIMELINE OF ROGERS PASS
First, let’s go back in time to give context to the recent developments at Rogers Pass:
1963 – 2012
19th October 2016
ABOUT REVIVE ROGERS
The Revive Rogers movement was launched in November 2016 by Calgary-based backcountry skier Tom McMillan. “Ever since Glacier House Lodge barricaded its doors for good in 2012, it has made it extremely difficult for anyone who lives more than 100km away to access Rogers Pass adequately,” says Tom.
There is a tremendous amount of backcountry terrain immediately accessible from Rogers Pass, and Tom is thankful that Parks Canada has made efforts to keep the area safely accessible. However, some outdoor enthusiasts drive three hours or more to experience Rogers Pass and Revive Rogers hopes that trips to the area might become “less of a logistical exercise.”
The lack of accommodation is not only a hindrance to winter activities. The limited summer campsites in the area are often booked up far in advance. Tom envisions a revival of Rogers Pass will “enhance everybody’s experience of the area.”
This huge amount of support in such a short time validates the idea that accommodation is needed at Rogers Pass. And perhaps the community can cooperatively come together to raise funds and bounce ideas off of each other to figure out the ideal solution.
Those opposed to redevelopment in the area expressed that their biggest concern would be overcrowding. Revive Rogers states that it is “not trying to encourage an increase in tourism to this part of the world, rather the desire is to provide the people who are currently using the area with the services and accommodation they are currently lacking.”
THE LONG GAME
Revive Rogers understands that there is no short-term solution to the accommodation problem in Rogers Pass, rather it is a long-term initiative. Tom states that Revive Rogers “supports Parks Canada in their need to remediate the site and go through the processes due to past soil contamination.”
Five years from now, Revive Rogers hopes to see environmentally sustainable lodging exist at Rogers Pass, aesthetically aligned to the surroundings, serving both backcountry users and park visitors. “And it would be gratifying to think,” Tom adds, “that a little initiative and community had something to do with it.”
4 WAYS YOU CAN GET INVOLVED
Billie Norman fell in love with Canada at the age of seven and writing at the age of 21. After studying History & Politics at Loughborough University and enjoying a couple of winter seasons in the Rockies, it felt right to merge her two passions together. She started a travel guide website called Voyage Collective to inspire others to get out there and explore.
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