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Op-ed: Keeping an eye on Jasper

There’s a lot going on in Jasper, and I’m not just talking about tourism’s high season. That’s certainly a part of it, but let’s stop to look at the big picture for a second.

Jasper National Park is more than 11,000 square kilometres of mountains, rivers, lakes, forests, bears, elk, deer, birds, fish, bees, flowers and oh so many insects too. The air is fresh, the mountain water is plentiful and the weather runs the gamut from wondrous to WTF. It really is unlike anywhere else on the planet.

The Rockies themselves represent a concentration of massive geological forces that are reflected in the equally massive biological and meteorological elements at work here. Naturally, these spectacular and unique features brought many of us here and kept us here too. Yes, they do also inspire the tourists to stay awhile.

The Town of Jasper itself sits there on the flats at an elevation of 1,000 metres, but it’s at the heart of a multitude of industries, not the least of which is sport and sightseeing tourism. There’s freight transport and natural resource delivery, among others. This little oasis is a pinpoint on a major roadway that connects people and facilitates commerce on many levels.

In short, the confluence of human and natural elements demands attention. Everything must co-exist in balance. With so much going on, it can be difficult to determine if that balance is being kept or not.

My name is Scott Hayes, and I’m the new face on the scene. A transplant from my previous employment as a community reporter at the St. Albert Gazette for the last 14 years, I have taken on the role of Ecology and Environment Reporter for the Fitzhugh. This year-long contract position was made available through Local Journalism Initiative funding provided by News Media Canada.

It’s my job to keep a keen eye on this bumpy part of the world and our interactions with it. There’s a lot going on in Jasper, and not all of it is visible either. If there’s an issue that you think needs to be looked into and reported on, please call or text me at 587-336-6919 or email me at I’m also on Facebook (@scotthayesreporter) and Twitter (@scoopshayes).

Stay in touch, and stay real.

Scott Hayes,

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