UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

An approach to integrated ecosystem planning: an evaluation of the Minnewanka area plan, Banff National Park Haid, Susan B


The Lake Minnewanka area is one of Banff National Park's most scenic and highly visited regions. Impacts such as the loss of significant montane habitat (characteristic of the Lower Bow Valley ecosystem) and social implications like crowding led to the need to develop a strategy for managing the area. The author worked with a planning team from the Canadian Parks Service(CPS) in Banff National Park (BNP) to develop the Minnewanka Area Plan. The primary purpose of the thesis is to evaluate the Minnewanka Area Plan to determine whether it effectively serves to maintain and enhance ecological integrity. A theoretical framework based on integrated ecosystem management was developed to evaluate the plan. Normative criteria from literature on recreational carrying capacity management and meaningful public participation were defined and applied to the plan. Overall, the plan was rated as successful according to the normative criteria. All of the criteria for an effective approach to carrying capacity management were considered and the plan reflected a fair and efficient public participation process. Stakeholder input influenced plan decisions to a high degree and several partnerships were developed through the planning process. Several inadequacies in the plan were identified through the evaluation. The adoption of an approach to ecosystem management called the Limits of Acceptable Change (LAC) was recommended as a guiding principle within the plan. The step-by-step LAC model was seen as overly complex in the context of the case study. Indicators and a monitoring program which are central to the LAC process were not defined as part of the plan. The evaluation of the public participation process indicated that stakeholder participation was high early in the planning process and reflected a partnership relationship where stakeholders shared the power of decision-making. During completion of the draft and final plan, the process became one of public consultation where the level and frequency of participation was lowered. Recommendations for improving the efficacy of the Minnewanka Area Plan are made within the thesis. A simpler approach to visitor and resource management which maintains the essential criteria of the LAC approach is suggested. Measures for maintaining a high level of public participation and improving the accountability of the CPS in decision-making are proposed. The normative criteria based on carrying capacity management and meaningful public participation processes are presented as a model for facilitating integrated ecosystem management in area planning within national parks.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.