State of the Park Assessment 2018
Table of contents
- Ecological Integrity Indicators
- Cultural Resource Indicators
- External Relations Indicator
- Indigenous Relations Indicators
- Visitor Experience Indicator
- Built Assets Indicator
- Appendix 1: Species at Risk Indicator
- Appendix 2: Key issues
Overview of indicators
“State of the Park” assessments are used to communicate the overall condition of key aspects of the park. These assessments are undertaken every ten years to support identifying key management issues for the next park management plan.
|Cultural resources||Archaeological Sites||N/R|
|Buildings and Engineering Works||N/R|
|Incorporation of Traditional Knowledge||N/A|
Seven of 12 rated measures are in good condition, 3 are in fair condition, and 2 are in poor condition. None of the rated measures are in decline. The long-term Ecological Integrity condition monitoring program in Kootenay National Park has evolved considerably since the last State of the Park assessment in 2008. Changes were implemented to achieve greater consistency with national indicators and provide a more comprehensive assessment. These changes mean that trends are only evident for 7 of the 15 measures, and 2 of the 3 indicators. Three of the measures remain unrated because sufficient data have not yet been collected. The Alpine Tundra indicator is not given a trend as there is no previous assessment to compare with.
|Area Burned Condition Class||Fair||Improving|
|Non-native Vegetation||Fair||Not Rated|
|Terrestrial Birds||Good||Not Rated|
|Multi-species Mammal Occupancy||Good||Stable|
|Winter wildlife corridors||Not Rated||Not Rated|
- Area burned measure is rated in fair condition. This reflects decades of fire suppression that altered forest ecosystems. Although progress has been made at restoring fire, the effects of long-term fire exclusion cannot be restored over a 10 year assessment window.
- Non-native forest vegetation is rated as fair. Significant efforts have been made in the control of non-native vegetation.
|Non-native Vegetation||Good||Not Rated|
|Avian Species Relative Abundance||Good||Not Rated|
|Alpine Extent||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Sensitive large mammal species - Goat||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Small mammal alpine obligate - Pika||Good||Stable|
|Lake Fish Index||Poor||Stable|
|Stream Fish Residency||Fair||Not Rated|
- The Freshwater indicator is rated as poor overall. The poor condition is the result of a poor Connectivity rating due to historic improper culvert design and placement, and the condition of two measures of fish biodiversity that are affected by historical stocking of non-native fish species.
- Some problematic culverts have been replaced but there are still many barriers to fish passage that need to be addressed.
- The lake fish measure is poor because six of eleven (55%) lakes contain non-native fish. A fair rating is given when non-native fish are absent from 50%-70% of lakes, and a good rating means that more than 70% of lakes have no non-native fish. Some naturally fishless lake systems that were negatively affected by stocking of non-native fish have reverted naturally to fishless condition, thereby improving the health of these ecosystems.
- Stream Fish residency is rated as fair. Watersheds must contain only native fish to achieve a good rating. A fair rating is assigned when native fish outnumber non-native fish, and a poor rating is given to watersheds where non-native fish are more abundant than native species. All watersheds in the park contain non-native fish. Six watersheds are rated fair and three are rated poor.
- Since the last State of the Park Report, the indicator for the aquatic ecosystem aspects (now Freshwater) and most of the measures that support it have changed. These changes have resulted in more robust data on the total state of the park’s freshwater systems. The overall water quality in the park is rated as good and stable throughout most of the park. Because these changes occurred partway through the 10 year period, there is insufficient data to determine an overall trend.
A variety of cultural resources within Kootenay National Park (KNP) provide evidence of centuries of human use. These include archaeological sites, heritage buildings, and archaeological and historical objects.
|Archaeological Sites||Fair||Not Rated|
|Buildings and Engineering Works||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Landscapes and Landscape Features||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Objects (Historical)||Not Rated||Not Rated|
- There are 104 known archaeological sites within KNP.
- Monitoring of archaeological sites is completed as needed on a limited number of sites, primarily in response to proposed development projects, or threats related to landscape dynamics such as river bank erosion. The measure is rated fair based on professional judgement, as most of the sites have not been formally monitored.
Buildings and Engineering Works
- There are two Federal Heritage Buildings in the park. The Floe Lake Patrol Cabin (Recognised) has been restored recently and is in good condition. The Radium Aquacourt (Classified) is in fair condition, but significant restoration work is underway.
- These buildings have not been formally evaluated by heritage specialists to confirm the condition of their heritage character-defining elements. The condition of this indicator is not rated due to this knowledge gap.
Landscapes and Landscape Features
- Cultural landscapes and landscape features in the park have not been formally identified, therefore this measure is not rated at this time.
- Most of the historical objects in the park have not been formally assessed for heritage character, so this measure is not rated at this.
- The KNP archaeological collection contains 3,945 artifacts. A 2017 assessment found that 76% of the objects are in good condition and 24% are in fair condition.
External Relations includes public outreach and promotions, partnering, stakeholder engagement, media relations, and web and social media presence. Whether to reach Canadians who may never visit Kootenay National Park or to increase awareness and pre-trip planning of potential visitors, Parks Canada strives to reach Canadians where they live and work to make meaningful connections to Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. The indicators in this section are relatively new and cannot be directly compared to the last State of the Park Report completed in 2008. The 2015/16 fiscal year was used as a baseline for comparison of statistics.
|Promotions (Outreach - Contacts)||Good||Improving|
|Support (Volunteer Hours)||Good||Improving|
|Measures||2017-2018||Change since 2016-17|
Contacts at Events*
*Events in Calgary, Vancouver, Toronto and through regional mobile exhibits
Parks Canada staff participate in a number of events in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto to bring the stories of Kootenay National Park to these cities. Overall, 191,966 contacts were made in 2017/18 through our outreach efforts, as compared to 250,928 in 2016/17, and 137,555 in 2015/16.
A permanent exhibit at Vancouver’s Telus World of Science and a travelling exhibit through Alberta allowed Park’s Canada to reach additional urban audiences. Parks Canada works with local destination marketing organizations to identify opportunities for collaboration.
The 2017 National Parks Canada Visitor Survey indicated that 80% of first time visitors felt a sense of connection to national parks. Promotional campaigns and outreach activities help to strengthen Canadians’ appreciation and understanding of Parks Canada’s places and ensure they remain connected and supportive of Parks Canada’s mandate.
|Measures||2016-2017||Change since 2015-16|
Volunteer opportunities provide some Canadians a meaningful way of connecting with national parks while giving back to programs that are important to them. Volunteers support Stanley Glacier Burgess Shale guided hikes, non-native vegetation control programs, wildlife surveys, and the campground host program.
In the 2016/17 year, twenty volunteers contributed 520 hours of volunteer time in the park.
Social Media and Digital Engagement
- All Kootenay National Park social media platforms (in both English and French) have seen increased use in recent years. Social media engagement increased between 20% and 125% (depending on the platform) since 2015/16.
- Website visits and page views have grown since 2015/16 by an average of 37%.
The Ktunaxa Nation, comprised of four Ktunaxa band communities in British Columbia, and five Secwepemc Nation communities (Pespesellkwe) have traditional ties to lands within the park. The park also engages with the Métis Nation British Columbia.
Parks Canada is in the early days of building its relationship with these groups and in understanding their history, interests and perspectives on this place. The indicators and measures of the relationship between Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples should be collaboratively determined based on shared understanding and evaluation of what is meaningful to both parties. The indicators and measures to the left have not yet been discussed with the groups concerned, so rating at this stage would be premature.
Progress is being made however; in recent years Parks Canada and various Indigenous groups have engaged in numerous activities together and relationship building has begun. Some activities include:
|Collaboration in park planning and management||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Collaboration in park operations||Not Rated||Not Rated|
Parks Canada (Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke and Glacier) is currently developing collaborative working arrangements with the Ktunaxa Nation and with five Secpwepemc Nation bands, respectively. Once established, these arrangements will provide a means to strengthen relationships and guide how the parties will engage on park management matters based on interest. They will also provide a framework for discussions on matters such as accessibility, traditional knowledge and support for Indigenous communities.
|Access to traditional lands and activities||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Team member commitment to building mutual respect, trust and understanding with Indigenous partners||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Extent of reconciliation with local Indigenous communities||Not Rated||Not Rated|
Meetings have been held with Indigenous partners over the past five years to establish and build relationships based on interests. A field trip through Kootenay and Yoho national parks with Shuswap and Splatsin members was held in August 2016. A field trip with Shuswap members was held in Kootenay National Park in 2018.
Incorporation of Traditional Knowledge
|Incorporation of traditional knowledge||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Use of Indigenous languages||Not Rated||Not Rated|
Support for Indigenous Communities
|Economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Capacity Building for Indigenous Peoples||Not Rated||Not Rated|
Engagement and consultation has occurred on several projects, including Species at Risk Action Plans and Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) Twinning in adjacent Yoho National Park. A procurement training session was offered in 2017. Cultural review of site specific infrastructure improvements has also occurred.
The ratings for the Visitor Experience measures are based on regular Parks Canada attendance data and the Kootenay National Park Visitor Information Program (VIP) survey completed in 2018. A VIP survey conducted in 2011 was unsuccessful due to a low response rate. For this reason, no trends can be established for the measures.
This indicator is rated as good because attendance has continued to increase.
Between 2011-12 and 2017-18 visitation increased by 23.7%, exceeding the management plan target of 3% per annum for the 6-year period.
|Enjoyed visit - 95%||Good||Not Rated|
|Satisfaction with availability of services - 87%||Fair||Not Rated|
|Satisfaction with availability of activities - 86%||Fair||Not Rated|
|Satisfaction with staff demonstrating passion - 86%||Fair||Not Rated|
|Satisfaction with condition of facilities - 85%||Fair||Not Rated|
Visitors surveyed in 2018 expressed a high level of satisfaction with all enjoyment measures, although some fell below the 90% threshold for a good rating.
|Learned something - 61%||Good||Not Rated|
|Overall visit satisfaction - 93%||Good||Not Rated|
|Satisfaction with information prior to arrival - 82%||Fair||Not Rated|
|Satisfaction with value for entry fee - 83%||Fair||Not Rated|
Overall satisfaction with park visits was very high, however, pre-trip information and value-for-entry received lower satisfaction scores.
|Building - All types||Fair||Not Rated|
|Dams - High hazard dams, significant hazard dams||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Fortifications - All types||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Marine structures - Locks, marine rails, walls, wharves and docks||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Roads - Special Attraction roads and access roads to visitor facilities||Fair||Not Rated|
|Vehicular bridges - Highway and roadway bridges, canal bridges, crossing structures||Fair||Not Rated|
|Visitor facilities - Campground, day-use areas, trails, parking lots, pedestrian and trail bridges||Fair||Not Rated|
There are 232 assets listed in the asset management database that are considered in this assessment. These assets include buildings, Highway 93S, roads, vehicular and pedestrian bridges, day use facilities, campgrounds, and trails. This is the first year that built assets have been included in the State of the Park Assessment. As such, no trends can be established.
There are 124 buildings in the park. The majority of these are administrative/operational buildings, with relatively few buildings used solely by visitors. Recent investments are assisting in improving the condition of park operational buildings.
KNP includes 93km of Highway 93S. There has been significant investment in and subsequent improvement to the condition of this key transportation corridor since 2015. Key bridge and culvert maintenance, as well as wildlife fencing and animal underpasses have been completed for motorist safety and wildlife connectivity.
This category includes Redstreak and Marble Canyon campground roads in KNP.
There are 26 vehicular bridges included in the database. This includes nine wildlife underpasses constructed along Highway 93S since 2013. Significant improvements are currently underway to improve several vehicle bridges.
Multiple campgrounds (McLeod Meadows, Marble Canyon) and day use areas (Stanley Glacier, Paint Pots, Numa Falls) are in need of significant rehabilitation.
Species at Risk
|Badger||Maintain or increase amount of suitable habitat within the park||Reached: 240 ha of potential habitat restored. BC province Recovery Plan in place. Critical habitat to be identified.|
|Common Nighthawk||Maintain occupancy at confirmed sites in appropriate habitat.||Partial: Sites protected when identified|
|Little Brown Myotis||Maintain current distribution. Protect known hibernacula and maternity roosts.||Partial: Acoustic, visual and net surveys completed. No hibernacula detected. Maternity roost detected.|
|Olive-sided Flycatcher||Protect||Partial: Protection of nest sites through application of NPA, SARA and construction BMPs. Habitat maintenance and enhancement through active management (fire).|
|Whitebark Pine||Establish self-sustaining, rust-resistant population throughout species range.||Partial: Seeds collected. Planting begin. Use of prescribed and wildfire to create habitat. Ongoing mapping. Outreach communications|
|Bank Swallow and Barn Swallow||Recently added to SARA Schedule 1. No target yet established.|
Changes in species conservation status or trends
Kootenay National Park (KNP) contains seven species listed as threatened or endangered under Species at Risk Act Schedule 1. Six were listed within the last 10 years. Two swallow species were recently listed and are not included in the 2017 park multi-species action plan.
Key information and threats
Key threats that could negatively influence species at risk in KNP include:
- Road-related badger mortality, habitat change due to historic fire suppression, introduction of non-native species and climate change
- Lack of information on distribution and population status inside the park for bird and bat species
- Spread of white-nose syndrome within bat species
- Careful management of park infrastructure containing bat maternity roosts or hibernacula is required to ensure no loss or damage of species’ residences
Results of management actions
Parks Canada has made significant investments in the conservation and restoration of Whitebark pine, through collection of blister-rust resistant cones, propagation and planting of resistant seedlings in the mountain parks (Kootenay and Banff national parks).
Parks Canada has also invested in the restoration of badger habitat through the creation of fire-dependant open forest/grassland habitat on the Redstreak Bench.
Completion of recovery documents or other legal requirements
- Critical habitat has yet to be defined for all species except Whitebark Pine (partially defined at a landscape scale). Therefore the impact of establishment of critical habitat on park management is unknown
- Approved SARA Multi-species Action Plan for KNP completed
Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration
The condition of aquatic ecosystems is poor. These ecosystems are affected negatively by the presence of non-native fish and the existence of numerous human-built barriers that block fish passage between segments of habitat. Non-native fish have been introduced to waterways throughout the park and they threaten native biodiversity by displacing or hybridizing with native fish species. Barriers are most often roadways and poorly designed culverts that fail to maintain connectivity for fish species. The aquatic connectivity and lake fish measures are poor, and the stream fish measure is fair.
Forest Ecosystem Restoration
The Area Burned condition class is rated fair. Despite a significant increase in burned area within specific forest types, additional work is required to restore fire in several key areas. Non-native vegetation measure is fair. Additional efforts to control invasive species are required to prevent a loss of native biodiversity.
Parks Canada is seeking to advance reconciliation and develop a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Parks Canada is developing relationships with Indigenous groups with historical ties to Kootenay National Park. These efforts are at an early stage, so Indigenous indicators have not been rated in this report.
Built Asset Sustainability
Most asset indicators are rated as fair, with highways rating poor. Investments in built assets is needed to support delivery of Parks Canada’s mandate, sustain visitor experiences that connect Canadians to the park, and adapt to changing conditions including those linked to climate change.
Cultural Resource Inventory
There is a lack of information on the condition of heritage buildings in the park. Additional effort is required to evaluate heritage buildings in order to support the maintenance and/or restoration of heritage character.