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Glacier walk

Jasper Glacier Skywalk offers unparalleled views of Rocky Mountains

Scott Sutherland
Meteorologist/Science Writer

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 4:06 PM -

Over a million people every year step out onto the Columbia Icefields, in Alberta's Jasper National Park, to experience what it's like to have tons of ancient glacial ice beneath their feet.

Starting Thursday, a new attaction is opening up in the park that will take everything from under your feet except a glass walkway and nearly 300 meters of clear mountain air, and in return, give you an unparalleled view of the valley and the surrounding glacier-topped mountains.

This new development is the Jasper Glacier Skywalk - a 400 meter-long arc that extends some 30 meters out from the cliff wall, over Sunwapta Valley. Talking about the view offered by the skyway couldn't do it justice, but luckily Brewster Travel Canada has given us this roughly minute-long sneak-peak video:

"We are very excited to be opening the Glacier Skywalk on May 1. This is a Canadian project to be proud of," Brewster Travel Canada's interim president David McKenna said, according to Hinton-Parklander. "Along with our partners like PCL Construction in Edmonton and the design/architecture team in Calgary, we can't wait to get our friends and family out to experience this new attraction."

As is often the case with these types of projects, though, the Jasper Glacier Skywalk has caused some controversy. A movement called simply 'No Glacier Skywalk' has pointed out that the skywalk is unnecessary, since the view from the location beforehand was just as good and free of charge (there is a $24.95 ticket price for adults and $12.50 for kids older than five to use the skywalk), and it only benefits Brewster's bottom line. Also, they say that the skywalk and resulting influx of new visitors may actually damage the ecosystem - specifically by threatening the local population of mountain goats. 

The skywalk opens to the public on Thursday, May 1st, so it will now simply be a matter of time before we know the effects the attraction will have on tourism and the local wildlife. 

What do you think? Is this project good, is it just unnecessary, or was it a bad idea? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

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