Governance, Politics, and Environmentalism in the Age of Mass Recreation: The Campaign Against ‘Village Lake Louise’

Darcy Ingram, Sarah Smart


This article examines the successful environmental campaign against a massive ski resort development proposal known as ‘Village Lake Louise’ that was to be established in the 1970s in Banff National Park, Canada. Using postmaterialism and governance as conceptual lenses, the article presents this campaign as an early example of an environmental conflict that did not centre on primary resource extraction industries, for example forestry, mining, or hydroelectric development. At issue in this case was a growing recreation-based economy that drew on and reflected many of the same postmaterial values and perspectives that informed the environmentalists opposed to the project. In the process, the article demonstrates how the campaign against Village Lake Louise contributed to the institutionalisation of Canada’s environmental movement and to the development of a complex framework for environmental governance in that nation.


social movements; postmaterialism; Canada; Banff National Park; Lake Louise;; tourism; Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS); National and Provincial Parks Association of Canada (NPPAC)

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