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The Glacier Skywalk Is Open At Jasper National Park In Alberta

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The Glacier Skywalk at Jasper National Park/Brewster Travel Canada.

Now visitors have a dramatic new way to view Jasper National Park in western Alberta. The Glacier Skywalk, a glass-floored observation platform cantilevered more 900 feet above the Sunwapta Valley floor, opened to visitors on May 1. It is the newest attraction along the Icefields Parkway linking the Jasper and Banff townsites.

The Skywalk is an engineering wonder made of structural steel, structural glass, and some wood; it took three years to construct at a cost of CDN$21 million. That buys visitors an exciting walk that offers panoramic views of white-capped peaks and stunning glacier-carved valleys. Visitors first board a bus at the Columbia Icefield visitor center. They proceed to the Discovery Trail, a cliff-edge walkway above land that has been shaped by centuries of ice, snow, wind and sun impact.

This manmade wonder overlooks the natural wonder of the Sunwapta Valley, one of the few places in the world with a triple continental divide. Water from the Columbia Icefield flows to the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific oceans. Rock striations demonstrate the power of glacial force. A hanging garden built into a rock wall showcases the plant species hardy enough to survive this intense environment.

The Glacier Skywalk juts 100 feet out from the side of the cliff. Some people step onto the glass without any hesitation and love the rare bird'™s eye view of the surroundings, while others have problems looking past their feet into the abyss below. Still, those who overcome the nervousness find spectacular views.

The project understandably did not get built without objections, which included privatization of a national park as well as the walkway'™s ecological impact.

Jill Seaton of the Jasper Environmental Association said, 'œIt'™s a thrill-based attraction and I don'™t know quite what the thrill'™s going to be because it'™s only 900 feet above a rubble-strewn canyon down below.'

Still, the Glacier Skywalk is not Jasper National Park'™s first commercial attraction. In addition to the Marmot Basin ski area, Maligne Canyon with its frozen waterfalls, surreal ice formations and frosted limestone walls is a magical place in the winter. Several local tour companies lead guided walks into the canyon. And a via ferrata is being developed in adjacent Banff National Park.

Strolling on the Glacier Skywalk costs $24.95 per adult, $12.50 for each child up to age 16, while kids under 6 are free. Audiotours are available, and unlike a similar attraction on Hualapai tribal land outside of Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, visitors don'™t have to remove their shoes and photographs are permitted. '¨'¨The Glacier Skywalk is a project of Brewster Travel Canada, which also operates such visitor services as the Banff Gondola, Glacier Adventure, Banff Lake Cruises, and Explore Rockies tours. It is open daily through October 19. Discount packages combining the Glacier Skywalk with other Brewster attractions are also available. For more information visit the Glacier Skywalk website or call 800-760-6934.  


What next? A Ferris wheel? How about a roller coaster while we're at it? Before you know it, the national parks of Canada will look just like their side of Niagara Falls. Come to think of it, there's an idea. We could have a big wax museum, too. A figure of P. T. Barnum would be front and center. No thanks, Canada, but at $24.95 a pop, someone sure is getting rich. P.S. to the Havasupai. I will not patronize your skywalk, either, although I love your Indian bread at Peach Springs.

Alfred - for once we agree.

Alfred, what is your problem, exactly? Are you afraid that it won't hold you, after all that Indian bread that you've indulged in?

This attraction was extremely well done -providing both a thrill of looking down between your feet, along with an exceptional view of the canyon below and how the creek has carved many features into the living rock.  There are also many educational elements incorporated as well.

"Privatization of a national park" So how does that happen? Why is it allowed to happen?
Why this company?
National Parks are the property of all Canadians...and given that this company was allowed to build on park lands as such, we should all have the right to access and build whatever the hell we want in them. That's democracy. Personally, I want to build private cabins along Lake Louis as I feel it would draw in more tourists and enhance the overall experience of the park. j/k
Yes, but seriously, this was/is little more than a money grab.

Absolutamente absurdo y escandalosamnete caro. Como es posible en un PARQUE NACIONAL?

(Absolutely absurd and scandalously expensive. How is it possible in a NATIONAL PARK?)

Kind of an old article, but I think some of the comments kind of miss the point that the Canadian government treats its national parks differently than how NPS goes about business.  I mean - there's a town with luxury accomodations and a permanent population within the boundaries of Banff National Park.  They don't seem to have anything similar to the USFS that has extensive land holdings, and it sounds as if many of their parklands are managed in similar ways to that which BLM or the USFS would manage lands, which includes major recreational opportunities such as ski resorts.

I've been to other parts of the world where their national parks included aerial gondolas, hotels located at high peaks, and extensive development unlike what we would see under NPS management in similar places.  I was joking with a Chinese colleague that if Half Dome were in China, there would probably be a gondola to the top.

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