To ensure the ongoing protection of Waterton Lakes National Park from non-native plants, Parks Canada is limiting horse use by the general public to areas unburned areas by the Kenow Wildfire, plus some additional areas.
Alpine Stables and Parks Canada’s horses are permitted in burned areas under specific conditions. This temporary protective measure will help vegetation to recover in burned areas.
The Kenow Wildfire created conditions which may significantly promote the spread of non-native plants in the park.
The wildfire burned over 50% of the vegetated area within the park. The wildfire’s severity was mostly high to very high and removed much of the vegetation and topsoil, leaving large areas of the park vulnerable to invasion by weeds.
Horse riding is a traditional way to experience Waterton Lakes National Park and is an important part of the park’s history.
Parks Canada realizes this decision will impact some visitors, including those from the local and regional area. However, this decision is based on evidence, is necessary to protect the park and neighbouring lands from the serious and long-lasting impacts of non-native plants, and will significantly reduce the risk of non-native plants colonizing areas burned by the Kenow Wildfire.
Parks Canada will update the park’s horse use guidelines and would like to involve this user group in the process to develop a collaborative strategy that will protect both the national park and neighbouring lands.
What trails are available for horse riding?
The general public can bring horses into the park and ride in areas unburned by the Kenow Wildfire, plus some additional areas. See the area closure map on our Important Bulletins page for more information.
Alpine Stables provides guided horseback trips ranging from one hour to full-day trips.
Play, Clean, Go
Waterton’s vulnerability to the spread of invasive plant species has increased as a result of the Kenow Wildfire. Visitors can help protect the landscape by remembering to Play Clean Go when horseback riding:
- Clean your equipment: Check your gear and footwear for any seeds, mud, or plant material before and after coming to the park.
- Brush your boots: Use boot brushes, or boot-brushing stations to remove plant material after using hiking trails.
- Scoop your poop. Put manure back in your trailer at parking areas.
- Stay on the trail: To limit the spread of seeds and tramlping of native plants.
- Buy certified weed-free hay: Feed it to your horses a few days before coming into the park.
- Walk your horse pastures to remove invasive plants before they go to seed.
For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-859-5133.