Note: Closures and restrictions may happen at any time, in any location and without prior notice. See the Important Bulletins page for a current listing.
Prescribed fire in Waterton Lakes National Park: Red Rock Complex
Parks Canada fire crew working on the Red Rock prescribed fire
© Parks Canada
April 4, 2016
Parks Canada has completed the second portion of its prescribed fire plan for Waterton Lakes National Park this season.
Fire crews successfully burned areas of open grassland, and some aspen in the Red Rock Complex (area between Blakiston Creek and the height of land to the north in the Blakiston Valley from Bellevue Hill to Red Rock Canyon).
Next, Parks Canada will target select forested areas on the mid and lower slopes in the Red Rock Complex.
The goal of fire management in national parks is to restore and maintain historical fire frequency, while protecting people and facilities from wildfires. Restoring fire is important to the health of the ecosystem, including the wildlife it supports. The objectives of this fire are also related to the conservation and restoration of fescue grass and whitebark pine habitat.
Prescribed fires are only carried out by trained specialists when a set of predetermined conditions is met relating to weather, terrain, fire behaviour, fire control and smoke management. Significant preparations are made to minimize risk by burning only in conditions that allow the fire to be controlled and contained within identified boundaries, and which minimize the amount and duration of smoke affecting neighbouring lands.
Fire crews light fires during good venting conditions, so the majority of smoke is dispersed high into the atmosphere.
New Visitor Reception Centre in Waterton Lakes National Park
March 7, 2016
Parks Canada confirmed today that a new Visitor Reception Centre will be built in a central location in the community of Waterton Park. It will be situated on an open area along Windflower Avenue, close to the entrance of the Townsite Campground and adjacent to the tennis courts and playground.
The townsite location provides easy visitor access from anywhere in the village, which receives all of the national park's visitors. This location will maximise the opportunity for Parks Canada to connect directly, multiple times during a single visit, with the greatest number of visitors through welcome, orientation and the full range of interpretive programing possible from early morning to evening.
Parks Canada will consult on the design of the new facility in 2016. Construction of this new Visitor Reception Centre will start in 2018, with expected completion in 2019.
To learn more, go to the News Release
Upcoming work in Waterton Lakes National Park
March 3, 2016
Parks Canada wishes to inform visitors and residents of the Waterton Park community of the following infrastructure projects in Waterton Lakes National Park taking place this spring and summer.
- Cameron Lake Day-Use Area: Closed April - November 2016
- Akamina Parkway: Closed April - November 2016
- Red Rock Parkway: Closed until May 2016
- Blakiston Falls Viewing Platforms
- Staff Housing
- Waterton Townsite Infrastructure Replacement
To learn more, go to Infrastructure projects in Waterton Lakes National Park
Cameron Lake day-use area: restricted access in work zones during parking lot tree removal project
As previously announced, Parks Canada will replace the Cameron Lake day-use area facilities as part of the Federal Infrastructure Investments to Waterton Lakes National Park.
The scope includes resurfacing the entire length of the Akamina Parkway, future flood mitigations, reconfiguring its trailheads (which are presently heavily congested) and replacing the Cameron Lake day-use area facilities.
Winter is the best time of year to do preparatory tree removal work at the Cameron Lake parking lot. It reduces the impact to nesting migratory birds, minimizes soil disturbance and protects adjacent wetland areas. As such, starting January 18, 2016, trees will be removed from the Cameron Lake parking lot, the majority of which are in a small island in the centre of an existing lot, surrounded by pavement. The reconfiguration of the Cameron Lake day use area will increase the density of the parking lot with minimal disturbance to the surrounding area, including adjacent wetlands.
In addition, providing more parking spaces reduces the amount of overflow parking and reduces the environmental degradation of vehicles parking off the edges of the road. The redesigned parking lot will also include environmental benefits to better manage storm water, directing it away from the wetlands. Parks Canada is working towards conservation gains by reducing the direct flow of storm water into these sensitive areas.
The tree removal work is expected to last three weeks and will take place from Monday to Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. The day-use area and lake front will be open to the public during this time but access around work zones will be restricted to maintain a safe visitor experience. Closed areas and detours will be clearly identified. There will be noise and slight traffic impacts.
Parks Canada will maintain the cross-country ski tracks along the Akamina Parkway from Little Prairie day-use area to Cameron Lake.
Experience winter in Waterton Lakes National Park
The former warden's cabin near Cameron Lake is now an Alpine Club of Canada hut
© Parks Canada / Edwin Knox
With new guided snowshoe hikes and backcountry accommodations, Waterton Lakes National Park offers outstanding programs for winter enthusiasts of all levels.
Visitors looking to experience the tranquility offered by the backcountry can spend the night at the former warden’s cabin within the park, recently restored by the Alpine Club of Canada. Only a short ski or hike from Little Prairie picnic area will take winter enthusiasts to the oldest existing backcountry cabin in the park. Bookings are available from December 1st to April 30th at the Alpine Club of Canada website.
On weekends, Parks Canada staff are available at the entrance gates to provide information on conditions and park facilities. Day passes are discounted throughout the winter. During the week, visitors can obtain day passes and bulletins at the Operations Building.
A sensitive season for elk
Elk are the most numerous large animal in Waterton © Parks Canada
Watching elk during the rutting season can be a wonderful experience for visitors. For the elk, being disturbed during this critical time can affect their ability to reproduce.
To minimize the disturbance caused by human movements on the Blakiston Fan, Parks Canada has closed the area to foot or horse travel. Visitors should stay in their vehicles and minimize how often they move their vehicles. This will minimize disturbance to the elk and create the best viewing experience for all visitors.
Your cooperation ensures that visitors will continue to be able to safely enjoy this amazing wildlife viewing opportunity.
*Park personnel supervising educational or invasive plant control activities will continue to enter the area under prescribed conditions.
Season Area Restriction: Blakiston Fan
Wildlife movement project
Waterton Lakes National Park scientists are gathering information on wildlife movement around the perimeter of the Waterton Park community and between the Waterton and Akamina valleys.
Wildlife corridors are important for maintaining wildlife populations © Parks Canada
Wildlife corridors are important for maintaining wildlife populations. Wildlife movement through corridors in this area may be affected by natural and human features such as the canyon above Cameron Falls and the Visitor Reception Centre.
The goal of this five-year project is to provide information to aid in making decisions regarding wildlife movement through this area. The focus will be on cougars, bears, deer, elk and bighorn sheep.
A variety of information sources will be used, including remote cameras. These cameras are used for tracking wildlife movement. Public notices will be posted at trail heads and other areas where cameras are deployed. Cameras will not be located within the core of the community.
Concerned about your privacy? So are we. Images of people will be classified by the number of people and type of use, and then deleted. However, images that show illegal activities that may have serious impacts on wildlife, or put the safety of visitors at risk may be used for law enforcement purposes.
This project is part of the Waterton Lakes National Park Conservation and Restoration Program.
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