As the last long weekend of summer approaches, officials at Alberta’s mountain parks are warning visitors to plan ahead.
Banff National Park says this year is on track to be another attendance record.
Traffic restrictions have been implemented twice in Lake Louise as authorities turned away guests without reservations.
Spontaneous mountain excursions are harder than ever to pull off for this scenic hotspot.
“Probably five years ago we arrived early in our motorhome and left immediately,” recalls Cathy Poole. “That was our experience in Lake Louise.”
This year, it’s shuttle access only to Moraine Lake. And every day this summer, Parks Canada sold its 2,800 tickets to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake.
“Tuesday morning we were online at 8 a.m.,” Poole said, beaming as she stood beside the crystal clear waters and pristine mountain views of Moraine Lake.
Francois Ma*se, superintendent of Banff National Park, said “tickets go online at 8 a.m., two days before the day.”
“Tickets disappear in 30 to 45 minutes,” Ma*se said.
Up to 500 more visitors will ride the popular lakeside trails daily with ROAM Transit. Hundreds more are also expected to make the trip through private operators.
But many others will not be so lucky.
“We came all the way from South Dakota,” said Sung Shin, a visitor from South Dakota. “We spent about two hours in the parking lot, then someone gave us information about ROAM number 11.
“It was beautiful. But there was another lake – Moraine – which we gave up on. Too much to worry about.”
Ma*se said the park sees “about 5,000 to 6,000 people a day trying to get to the lake by car with no plans, no reservations, and the parking lot there is very small.”
“It’s full from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m..”
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