Welcome to Banff signage on the boundary of the town.
As the number of visitors to Banff National Park continues to grow, the use of transit in the park also spiked over the August long weekend.According to traffic data from the Town of Banff, nearly 121,560 vehicles came through the park over the long weekend this year, up slightly from 120,210 in 2018 and 120,015 in 2017.Around 32,000 visitors used Roam buses across all of their nine routes within the park from Friday to Monday, according to Corrie DiManno with the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission.“For the Lake Louise express, in particular, our numbers are just skyrocketing,” she said. “In June we had 15,224 riders and in July we saw 24,544 people, so that route is absolutely growing and people are becoming more familiar with the service and using it, which is just really fantastic to see.”For the past several years, the Town of Banff and Parks Canada have been searching for ways, including expanded transit, to ease traffic congestion in the townsite and the surrounding park.The Roam fleet will be expanded by two electric buses for the 2020 season, reducing wait times for their most popular routes by an average of 10 minutes.
Banff’s bus is part of the Roam transit system.
The increase in traffic has also been linked with a rising threat to wildlife.In the week leading up to and including the long weekend there were four vehicle-related incidents with black bears in the park, resulting in the deaths of three animals.July 29: An adult male black bear was struck and killed by a train. Aug. 1: A young black bear cub was struck and killed by a Roam transit bus shortly before 11 p.m. Aug. 1: An adult black bear ran into a vehicle near Lake Minnewanka and ran off. No blood or hair was seen on the road or found near the incident. Aug. 5: Driver reported a dead black bear along the side of the Trans-Canada Highway. The morning of Aug. 3, the mother of the cub killed by the bus and her sole remaining cub were spooked while foraging on a berry bush in the Middle Springs neighbourhood of Banff, causing the mother to charge defensively. Neither the human nor bears were injured.“There have been a lot of road strikes recently and it does matter that people are really aware while they’re driving,” said Dan Rafla, human-wildlife coexistence specialist with the park. “Those speed limits do matter and so does reporting any collision with animals, particularly if the animal is injured . . . from an animal-welfare perspective.”Martin Bean, CAO with the Bow Valley Regional Transit Services Commission, said the Roam bus incident was “upsetting” given their special connection with wildlife in Banff.“We’ve never had an accident involving a bear or any large animal in 11 years of operations, so it is very unfortunate,” he said.Banff RCMP said it was a fairly quiet weekend for crime, without any notable incidents aside from a video circulating on the internet showing a hostile encounter between two park-goers.A woman can be heard on the video claiming a man told her to go back to her own country.I was just assaulted by a man who first told me to go back to my own country, at Banff National park. Please share. @BanffNP I reported it to the proper authorities and I hope something happens. But I think it would be good if it goes viral. These people don’t get to win. pic.twitter.com/FRe9xnq2tV— Victoria (@victori50713587) August 4, 2019Staff Sgt. Michael Buxton-Carr said the video and circumstances around the interaction are “very much under investigation.”“I’ll go as far as to say at this point what’s online is a part of the overall incident and we’re still giving the matter a thorough review,” he firstname.lastname@example.orgOn Twitter: @oliviacondonFacility, trail closures in Banff National Park Johnston Canyon Campground — closed until Spring 2020 as crews complete upgrades to the sites as well as power and sewer facilities. Peyto Lake day use area — closed until the winter effective Aug. 19 while crews replace washrooms and reconfigure the parking lot to improve traffic and increase capacity. Marble Canyon — parking lot and washrooms closed until winter Trails will remain open via a 6.8-kilometre round-trip trek from the Paint Pots. Marble Canyon campground will remain open. Speed reductions in place seven days a week. Maximum 20-minute traffic delay at times.