USING THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS TO PROMOTE GEOTOURISM – AN EXAMPLE: PASSING THROUGH TIME: A GEOLOGICAL TOUR THROUGH BANFF, YOHO AND JASPER NATIONAL PARKS
Nearly 7 million visitors visited Banff, Yoho and Jasper National Parks in 2015. Busloads of tourists stop at roadside pullouts to view spectacular scenery. Many of these travellers are interested in natural history such as birding, vegetation and wildlife, for which numerous books are available. They are also interested in the origin of the geological wonders that they are observing.
There is unfulfilled demand for geological guidebooks directed at tourists that describe Canada’s Rocky Mountains. Elsewhere in Canada two recent geotourism books about the geology of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia are extremely popular. Another geotourism book on the geology of southern British Columbia is a best seller. A geology guidebook of the Okanogan, BC is in its third printing. The market is the educated tourist, such as touring retired professionals who are interested in natural history. These individuals will purchase a bird book, or a plant or flower guide when they travel.
A geological guidebook to the Rocky Mountain Parks should assist geotourists to choose and visit sites that exemplify the sensational geological vistas in the parks. These sites have a geological underpinning to their spectacular nature for which the parks were allocated United Nations World Heritage Site status. A geological guidebook for non-geologists must be reader-friendly and well illustrated, informative, easy to use and not overly technical. It will assist the traveller on how to arrive at the site, where to park and where to walk. The book should describe to the geotourist the geology that they are looking at and how it originated.
In the example, the geological stops serve to describe and explain a large variety of geological features that create the mountain landscape. This includes modern depositional processes, mountain building and erosion, continent evolution, paleogeography and glacial modifications of the mountains. Modern debris flows and their disruption of the Trans-Canada Highway and railroad are presented. The tourist is taken back in time to understand the setting and fossils of the Cambrian Burgess Shale.