By Jeff Doherty
While Canada’s national parks continue to provide plenty of opportunity for vigorous outdoor adventure, Parks Canada has added a new experience that is entirely contemplative: reclining.
As park visitors may have noticed during the past few years, red Adirondack chairs have been strategically set out to allow visitors to comfortably view fiords, mountain lakes and prairie grasslands.
The Red Chair Program began in Gros Morne National Park in 2013 and today the chairs are found across Canada in national parks and national historic sites. Parks Canada staff occasionally relocate the chairs to keep the experience fresh. For their part, park visitors only need to relax in the red chairs and enjoy the views. Of course, selfies are central to the Red Chair Program. Those who want to share their experiences can turn to social media using #ShareTheChair.
1. Grasslands National Park
Location: East Block
Grasslands National Park, located in southern Saskatchewan, protects a broad swath of natural grassland. In addition to visiting nearby national historic sites, such as Fort Walsh, visitors can relax under the wide-open prairie panoramas that give Saskatchewan its moniker “Land of the Living Skies.” Grasslands National Park is also designated as a Dark Sky Preserve by the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, making it the perfect place to contemplate the night skies.
2. Jasper National Park
Parks Canada-Ryan Bray
Location: Wilcox Pass Trail
Jasper National Park, located in the Canadian Rockies, is one of Canada’s largest national parks. Visitors to the Icefields Parkway have the option of viewing the Athabasca Glacier from the Wilcox Pass Trail. As they ascend the airy ridge, hikers can take advantage of a set of red chairs to rest their legs and lungs. The views are classic Canadian Rockies.
3. Gros Morne National Park
Parks Canada/Chris Reardon
Location: Woody Point
Gros Morne National Park, located in western Newfoundland, protects a stark landscape of fiords and mountains. A set of red chairs, perched above Woody Point on the Lookout Trail, encourages hikers to rest just a little longer before heading back down.