It has been just announced today (Feb 9, 2012) that Parks Canada has given the OK to a private company to construct a 300 metre (988 feet) Glacier Discovery Walkway and massive glass-floored “skywalk” at the side of the “Icefields Parkway” in Jasper National Park.
The Glacier Discovery Walk will be an audacious promenade that will match it’s epic landscape. To be located off the Icefields Parkway in Jasper National Park, the soaring steel track and viewing promontory will lead visitors on a guided tour along the edge of a cliff, ultimately inviting them to travel about 30 metres beyond land to stand in the sky, the better to absorb the Athabasca Glacier that’s receding down the Sunwapta valley.
Brewster Travel Canada, a major provider of bus transit and tourism centres throughout Banff and Jasper national parks, commissioned the design and is planning to start construction next year. Though the design has the potential to become an international icon of structural darling. The migratory patterns of mountain goats in Jasper National Park are currently being monitored to check whether the walkway intervention would negatively impact their movement.
The startling shape and thrust of the promenade is meant to seduce tourists out of their cars and onto the land. That’s because there’s an increasing trend among tourists to simply drive by the icefields, snapping photos from the comfort of their cars, rather than bothering to get out and walk along the barren rock.