2021 Watercraft and Gear Permit Program FAQ’s
What do visitors and residents need to know about using non-motorized watercraft and gear in Yoho, Kootenay and Banff national parks?
- Complete a self-certification of all non-motorized watercraft and aquatic recreational equipment.
- Possess proof of inspection for motorized watercraft launching in Lake Minnewanka reservoir.
- Never use felt-soled waders or live bait.
Visitors and residents coming from outside of Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon or Northwest Territories must dry their non-motorized watercraft and gear for 30 days or visit a provincial inspection station in Alberta or British Columbia. The inspection form will act as a permit.
Why does Parks Canada require visitors and residents to obtain a non-motorized watercraft and gear self-certification permit and proof of inspection for motorized watercraft in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks?
Healthy aquatic ecosystems are vital to the overall health of our national parks and are threatened by aquatic invasive species.
Aquatic invasive species (AIS):
- alter aquatic ecosystems.
- cause irreversible damage.
- impact already vulnerable species at risk.
- are introduced by people.
- may cause water body closures and changes to visitor experience.
What type of watercraft and gear require a self-certification permit?
All non-motorized watercraft, fishing equipment, and aquatic recreational equipment used in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks require a permit, including but not limited to:
- Fishing Gear
- Stand up paddle boards
- Wading Boots
Can the self-certification permit be used in other national or provincial parks?
Self-certification permits are valid only for the date and waterbody indicated on the permit. You must obtain a new permit and meet the permit conditions if you decide to relocate to a new body of water in Banff, Yoho or Kootenay national parks. Please follow local guidelines for areas outside of Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.
How should visitors and residents clean their watercraft and gear?
Visitors and residents should rinse all mud and debris from equipment and gear, drain water from boats before leaving an area, and allow all equipment and gear to dry before entering another water body. If it is not possible to clean watercraft directly after use, visitors and residents can clean it at home away from watercourses.
Why are some visitors required to dry their watercraft and gear for 48 hours and others for 30 days?
Watercraft coming from outside of British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories are required to dry for 30 days and those coming from inside of British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories are required to dry for 48 hours. This is because certain areas carry a higher risk of specific types of aquatic invasive species and this helps to eliminate their spread.
If a visitor or resident cannot meet the 30-day drying time they are able to visit the nearest decontamination station to satisfy the conditions of the self-certification permit.
Is it necessary to clean, drain, and dry watercraft and gear if it’s being used in the same body of water for multiple days?
If a visitor or resident decides to use their watercraft in the same body of water for multiple days, it is not necessary to clean, drain, and dry their watercraft until they decide to relocate to another body of water. Visitors and residents must obtain a new permit and meet the permit conditions if they decide to relocate to a new body of water in Banff, Yoho or Kootenay national parks.
Non-motorized watercraft and water recreational gear
How does the non-motorized watercraft and gear self-certification permit system work?
All visitors and residents must complete a mandatory self-certification of their hand-launched watercraft before entering any new body of water in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.
Self-certification permit stations are located throughout the parks at boat launches and the most popular boating areas. People recreating on the water must have their permits available for examination. Since the permit is a legal requirement, Park Wardens will be checking that visitors have completed the self-inspection. Information from the self-certification permits will be gathered to determine the number and type of watercraft in the park, where watercraft come from, and will help quantify the risk of contamination.
Where can visitors obtain a non-motorized watercraft and gear self-certification form?
Self-certification forms are available on our website and at self-certification stations in the park at the following locations:
Banff National Park
- Baker Creek Chalets
- Banff National Park Visitor Centre
- Boom Lake Trailhead
- Bourgeau Lake Trailhead
- Bow Lake – Day Use Area and near Num-Ti-Ja
- Cascade Ponds
- Coleman Day Use Area
- Fish Creek Trailhead
- Glacier Lake Trailhead
- Hector Lake
- Helen Lake Trailhead
- Herbert Lake
- Howse Trailhead
- Johnson Lake
- Lake Louise Canoe Launch
- Lake Louise Visitor Centre
- Lake Minnewanka Boat Dock
- Lake Minnewanka Loop Road
- Moraine Lake
- Mosquito Campground
- Mosquito Creek Trailhead
- Park Gate (David Thompson and 93N at TCH)
- Rampart Campground
- Redearth Creek Trailhead
- Smith/Copper Lake Trailhead
- Taylor Lake Trailhead
- The Bow River - Castle Junction, 5 Mile, Bow Falls, Golf Course Road and Station Restaurant access points
- Two Jack Lake and reservoir
- Two Jack Lakeside Campground
- Vermillion Lakes
- Vista Lake Trailhead
- Waterfowl Campground
Yoho National Park
- Emerald Lake
- Field Pond (near Visitor Centre)
- Finn Creek
- Hoodoo Campground
- Kicking Horse Campground
- Lake O’Hara Bus Station
- Yoho National Park Visitor Centre
- Yoho Park Gate
Kootenay National Park
- Dolly Varden Day Use Area
- Kootenay Crossing Day Use Area
- Kootenay National Park Visitor Centre
- Kootenay Park Gate
- Kootenay River Day Use Area
- McLeod Meadows Campground (Dog Lake Trailhead)
- Redstreak Campground
- Simpson River Trailhead
- Vermillion Crossing Day Use Area
What if a visitor or resident is unsuccessful in the non-motorized watercraft and gear self-certification process or does not meet the Clean Drain Dry standards?
If you are unable to meet the Clean Drain Dry standards and do not meet the gear self-certification process, you are prohibited from launching a non-motorized watercraft in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks until standards are met. You can have your non-motorized watercraft inspected at a provincial station and retain proof of the process. Once inspected, you are still required to fill out a self-certification permit.
What do visitors and residents need to know about using motorized watercraft on Lake Minnewanka reservoir?
Visitors and residents launching motorized watercraft, that have been in waters outside of Alberta and British Columbia in the last 30 days, in Lake Minnewanka reservoir require proof of a provincial or Parks Canada watercraft inspection prior to launching. Parks Canada motorized watercraft inspections will be available along Lake Minnewanka Loop Road, 6 kilometres from the Town of Banff.
Information on provincial inspections can be found by contacting:
Alberta: 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT)
British Columbia: 1-888-933-3722.
Where are the nearest provincial inspection stations?
The closest provincial inspection stations are located in Golden, near the Golden Visitor Centre (1000 Trans-Canada Highway), and in the Village of Radium Hot Springs, off of Highway 95 heading south towards Invermere (west side of the highway).
Where can I get my motorized watercraft inspected in Banff National Park?
Parks Canada inspections are available along the Lake Minnewanka Loop Road, 6 kilometres from the Town of Banff.More information on Parks Canada motorized watercraft inspections.
Information on provincial inspections can be found by contacting:
Alberta: 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT)
British Columbia: 1-888-933-3722
What if I am unsuccessful in possessing a motorized watercraft inspection?
If you are unable to possess a valid inspection you are not permitted to launch a motorized watercraft in Lake Minnewaka reservoir.
What if my motorized watercraft has been inspected prior to entering the park by one of the provincial stations or another jurisdiction?
Proof of inspection from a provincial inspection station will be accepted for those motorized watercraft that have been in waters outside of Alberta and British Columbia in the last 30 days. The watercraft or gear must not have been launched or used anywhere since receiving the provincial inspection. Visitors and residents will still need to complete a self-certification permit and indicate the date and location the watercraft was inspected.
Aquatic invasive species
Have mussels or whirling disease been found in Banff, Yoho or Kootenay national parks?
Parks Canada regularly tests for whirling disease and invasive mussels. To date, neither has been detected in Yoho or Kootenay national parks. Banff National Park tested positive for Whirling Disease in 2016. Invasive mussels have not been detected in Banff National Park. Maintaining the integrity of aquatic ecosystems within national parks is a priority and it is our goal to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering the parks.
How are aquatic invasive species introduced?
Aquatic invasive species can be introduced through the movement of mud, water and live or dead organisms (e.g., plants and fish) from activities such as canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and fishing. Motorized watercraft are the highest risk watercraft to introduce AIS. Residents and visitors can help keep aquatic invasive species out of the national parks by following Clean Drain Dry as a best practice across North America.
How can visitors and residents help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species?
In addition to completing the mandatory self-inspection permit before using human-powered watercraft and aquatic recreational equipment in park waters, visitors and residents need to adhere to the Clean Drain Dry program, following these steps:
- Clean watercraft and gear of all mud, sand, plant and animal materials.
- Drain buckets, ballasts, bilges, coolers, internal compartments, and other containers that may hold trapped or standing water.
- Dry all watercraft, stand up paddleboards and aquatic recreational equipment completely for 48 hours before entering any river, lake or stream (in Alberta, British Columbia, Yukon or Northwest Territories).
- Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.
- Dry for a minimum of 30 days after being used in the United States or provinces other than British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon or Northwest Territories.
Where and how do you report an aquatic invasive species sighting?
Aquatic invasive species sightings in the Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks can be reported to firstname.lastname@example.org. Sightings outside of the national parks can be reported to 1-855-336-2628 (BOAT) in Alberta and 1-888-933-3722 in British Columbia.