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Upholding an impartial press

This week readers may have found it surprising to learn that a reporter with the Fitzhugh was a board member with the Friends of Jasper National Park, an organization that found itself at the centre of a story in this week’s paper. While the story speaks for itself, the larger issue was the conflict of interest between our newspaper and the Friends of Jasper, an organization that has a close relationship wi ...

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Environmental groups sound like a broken record

A statement released last week from 12 of Canada’s largest environmental groups opposed to development in Canada’s national parks is just the latest example of a group with nothing new to say. Last week, the group called on the government to “say no” to the proposed bike path from Jasper to the Columbia Icefield and the conceptual proposal to build overnight accommodations at Maligne Lake. The environmental ...

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Marmot Road needs to be repaired

Anyone who has driven up to Marmot Basin over the past year has likely grumbled at least once about the poor state of the road. Over the past 12 months the road has gone from bad to worse, raising serious questions about whether it will survive another season of freezing and thawing. For the unacquainted, the particular section of road that is causing drivers grief is located just past the Portal Creek park ...

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Ottawa is listening

Ottawa might be thousands of kilometres away, but it’s finally getting the message. Earlier this week members of the Standing Committee on the Environment and Sustainable Development held private meetings in Jasper to discuss the challenges our tiny mountain community faces. The members of parliament spoke with a variety of groups and organizations including, local councilors, major businesses like Brewster ...

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Backcountry deserves more attention

In 2014, Tourism Jasper decided that Jasper’s reputation needed an overhaul—something catchy and fun. After a year of research and planning, Tourism Jasper launched its Venture Beyond campaign, encouraging visitors and locals alike to explore all that Jasper has to offer, including its backcountry. The catchphrase was widely accepted and became Jasper’s official brand. And while the rebranding has been a su ...

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Live entertainment isn’t free

By just about all accounts the Jasper Folk Music Festival (JFMF) was a huge success, which is why the Fitzhugh was dismayed to learn that several locals were caught trying to sneak into the venue this year. According to organizers, it became a big enough issue that they may have to consider hiring paid security next year, which would increase ticket prices. While this would likely solve the problem, the rea ...

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Cost of tourism unsustainable

As Alberta’s energy industry continues to struggle, the province’s tourism has become a bright light for the provincial economy—more specifically tourism-based communities like Jasper, Banff and Canmore continue to remain choice destinations for visitors throughout Alberta, collectively netting an annual economic benefit of more than $2-billion. However, just how long that cash cow will last is anyone’s gue ...

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Parking fees need measured approach

With parking lots at capacity and the town in need of alternative revenue sources it’s time Jasper seriously considers charging visitors for parking. Last week administration suggested council consider implementing a pilot project charging visitors for parking in municipal parking lots. The idea split council, with those in favour arguing it would generate additional revenue for the town, while those oppose ...

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Jasper is full

Jasper often likes to think of itself as a quiet, mountain town, blissfully living in coexistence with tourists, but the reality is Jasper is struggling to cope with the influx of tourists this summer and the cracks are beginning to show. Nowhere is this more apparent than the number of people illegally camping in town. Since June, bylaw officers have been handing out at least six tickets a day. In fact, th ...

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Ending the stigma around suicide

Suicide. It’s a conversation we’ve been conditioned to avoid. It’s not something we’re suppose to talk about or even acknowledge, yet it affects all of us and is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age. That lesson was brought home again this week after a volunteer firefighter made the ultimate choice to take his own life. In a community as tight-knit as Jaspe ...

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