The historical activities surrounding Lake Minnewanka reflect the development, growth and changing attitudes towards national parks. This townsite is the best preserved, rare example of a submerged historic village in Canada. It contains unique specimens of early 19th century technology that are in the same location as they were when they were submerged.
Most scuba diving in Banff National Park takes place at Lake Minnewanka or Two Jack Lake.
Lake Minnewanka is 1450 m above sea level, 18 km long with a maximum depth of 100 m. All dives at Lake Minnewanka are cold water, altitude dives. Visibility fluctuates depending on the time of year and the number of divers at the site. Depths vary depending on the time of year, rising up to 5.5 m (18') from spring to fall. Depths listed below were taken in October. There are 16 features located in three main diving areas.
The submerged features of Minnewanka Landing are important cultural resources, rare within a national park. This submerged heritage belongs to each and every Canadian. Anything altered or removed from it diminishes this heritage. Individual visitors may not have a great impact on the site, but hundreds of divers and heavy boat traffic for sightseeing and fishing causes major cumulative and irreversible damage to the sites. Activities such as artifact retrieval, attaching objects to the features, graffiti, anchor dragging and down rigging fishing are all very harmful to these resources.
- Under the Canada National Parks Act, anyone removing, damaging or destroying prehistoric or historic artifacts or structures, is subject to a fine of $2000.00.
- Please help us to protect this resource by minimizing your impact and reporting any vandalism to the Warden Service at 1-888-WARDENS (toll free)
- Certification: All divers should be trained and certified by a recognized organization. Trainees must be under the supervision of a certified diving instructor.
- Never Dive Alone: The buddy system is your protection in the event of unexpected problems.
- Cold Water: Low water temperatures in this area can create special hazards. Only experienced divers should attempt deeper dives. Regulator freeze-up can occur, so divers should
take appropriate precautions.
- High Altitude: High altitudes alter dive times. Dives at Lake Minnewanka are high altitude dives, and most are deeper than 14 m (50'). This shortens dive times dramatically.
- Use the Dive Flag: Always display a fully visible dive flag when in the water. Restrict all diving to within 30 m (100') of the flag and do not confuse boaters by flying the flag when no activity is underway. Do not attach your dive flag to the structures. Attachment anchors for this purpose are provided at many sites.
- Boat Diving: Never leave a boat unattended, especially when it is used for diving. At least one person must be left on board when the boat is anchored or moored.
- Night Diving: Only experienced divers should engage in night diving. Each diver should be equipped with an adequate underwater light and a backup light.