NEWS

Federal budget cuts concern Yoho National Park locals

05/11/2012 12:14 EDT | Updated 07/11/2012 05:12 EDT

People in Field, B.C., are asking Parks Canada to reconsider cuts to winter services in Yoho National Park.

Parks Canada says it won't be grooming cross-country ski trails and it also plans to shut the park's visitor centre in Field over the winter due to cuts in the recent federal budget.

Craig Chapman, who runs the Field community council, says those cuts will impact tourist numbers and hurt local businesses.

“Everyone has invested in this being a year-round park and it will be devastating,” he said. “You will see business closures, you'll see loss of revenue [and] you'll see loss of population, ... investment."

Helen Barry, who runs The Old Church guesthouse in Field, says the Parks Canada cuts don't recognize the partnership local businesses have formed with park visitors over the winter months.

"Anytime there's any kind of closure in parks, it immediately affects us," she said.

Yoho and Kootenay field unit superintendent Dave McDonough says tourist numbers tend to drop during the winter.

"Parks across the country are taking a similar approach in terms of focusing on the key peak visitor periods," he said.

Parks Canada does say it will work with residents to find another way to groom some of the ski trails in the park.

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