There’s nothing quite like a visit to Canada’s first national park. Breathtaking mountains, wide open spaces and wildlife all around us make a trip to Banff an experience to remember. Places like this are precious, and we all want to do our part to keep them beautiful for years to come. More and more of us are thinking about our impact on the planet and how we can lessen it, especially when we’re travelling. Here are our 5 top tips for having a greener vacation in Banff National Park:
1. Leave Your Car Behind
Banff National Park is expanding its transit network every year to make getting around without your own vehicle easy. Don’t waste your vacation sitting in traffic or hunting for a parking space; hop on a free or low-cost shuttle between Banff town centre and sightseeing hotspots like Johnston Canyon, Moraine Lake and Sulphur Mountain. Banff’s Roam transit buses are all electric hybrids, making them even more eco-friendly. Or let a local company show you around the park; Hop on Banff is a flexible tour bus service that lets you plan your own day, while Banff Walk offer walking tours with knowledgeable local guides.
2. Choose to Reuse
Between bottled water, disposable shopping bags and to-go containers, a week’s vacation can end up creating mountains of plastic waste. Most of this doesn’t biodegrade, but ends up in landfill, or clogging our oceans and lakes. Treat yourself to some sustainable Banff souvenirs like a drinks bottle and a sturdy reusable shopping bag. There are water stations all around town for you to fill up your bottle for free, and many local coffee shops will offer you a discount on hot drinks when you bring your own mug, including local favourites The Wild Flour Bakery Café and Little Wild Coffee.
3. Don’t Toss Your Towels
Most of us don’t change out our sheets and towels every day at home, and there’s really no need to when you’re away. Just hang the towels you’re going to use again, and leave any that do need to be changed in the tub. At the Juniper, every guest who participates in our linen reuse program saves 140 litres of water; that really adds up!
4. Eat Local
One of the best parts of travel is experiencing the local food, so don’t head straight for familiar food outlets. Support local restaurants that are sourcing their ingredients locally from farmers with sustainable practices. Not only does your food travel less distance to your plate and have less impact on the environment, you also get to taste the unique flavours of the region. If you’re looking for somewhere to start in Banff National Park, explore the Juniper Bistro’s menu, packed with delicious ingredients from sustainable producers.
5. Be Wildlife Smart
Banff’s wildlife is one of the great attractions of a national park trip, but we all have a part to play in keeping wild animals and ourselves safe. If you’re heading out on a hike, travel in groups, make noise, carry bear spray and obey all advisory signs. Keep pets on leash at all times. If you see a wild animal, keep your distance, and stay in your vehicle if you have one. Never follow or chase a wild animal! And, of course, never feed a wild creature…even the small, cute-looking ones. Make sure to dispose of all your garbage, especially food containers, in one of the special locked bins all around the national park. Learn more about wildlife safety from Parks Canada.
We hope your Banff vacation is everything you dreamed of and more, and that you feel good about making it a little bit greener!
-The Juniper Team