Frequently asked questions
It is mandatory to:
- Complete a self-certification of all watercraft and aquatic recreational equipment
- Release all fish (zero possession limit)
- Never use felt-soled wading boots
Find out more by reviewing the mountain national parks fishing regulations summary and the self-certification form for Yoho and Kootenay national parks
How does the watercraft and gear self-certification permit system work
1. Obtain a self-certification permit at visitor centres in Yoho National Park or Kootenay National Park, campgrounds, park gates or from a self-certification station. See below for a list of locations.
2. Ensure that watercraft and aquatic recreational equipment have met the conditions listed on the self-certification form before using these items. This includes drying your watercraft and gear for a minimum of 48 hours after being used in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and/or the territories of Canada; and a minimum of 30 days after being used in the United States or provinces other than British Columbia, Alberta and/or the territories of Canada.
3. Sign, date and write the waterbody name the permit is for on the self-certification permit, if the conditions are met. Visitors are required to carry their permit with them while using their watercraft and aquatic recreational equipment.
4.. Complete the survey at the bottom of the self-certification permit, tear it and place it in a drop box at a self-certification station or leave it with a Parks Canada employee.
Where can visitors obtain a watercraft and gear self-certification form?
Self-certification forms are available on our website and at self-certification stations at the following locations:
- Park Gates
- Kicking Horse Campground
- Lake O'Hara Bus Station
- Yoho visitor centre
Self Certification Station:
- Emerald Lake
- Faeder Lake
- Finn Creek
- Field Pond
What type of watercraft and gear require a permit
All watercraft, fishing equipment, and aquatic recreational equipment used in Yoho and Kootenay National Parks require a permit, including but not limited to:
- Fishing Gear
- Wading Boots
Why is Parks Canada requiring visitors to obtain a watercraft and gear self-certification permit in 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:
- alter aquatic ecosystems.
- cause irreversible damage.
- impact already vulnerable species at risk.
- are introduced by people.
This program aims to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering the parks, educate about the problem of aquatic invasive species and provide data that Parks Canada can use to further our knowledge of aquatic invasive species
Can the self-certification permit be used in other national or provincial parks?”
The mandatory self-certification program is being piloted in Yoho and Kootenay national parks. Information collected from this program will be shared with other national parks, including Banff National Park, to help develop consistent and effective solutions to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species.
Have aquatic invasive species been found in Yoho or Kootenay National Parks?
To date, aquatic invasive species have not been found in Yoho or Kootenay national parks. Parks Canada regularly tests for whirling disease and invasive mussels.
How are aquatic invasive species introduced?
Aquatic invasive species are introduced through activities such as canoeing, kayaking, stand-up paddle-boarding and fishing. 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 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, people 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 watercraft and gear of all water from coolers, buckets, compartments, and other items that may hold trapped or standing water.
- Dry completely for 48 hours before entering any river, lake or stream (in the Provinces of AB, BC, YK, NWT)
- Leave compartments open and sponge out standing water.
- Dry a minimum of 30 days after being used in the United States or provinces other than British Columbia, Alberta and/or the territories of Canada.
What if a visitor is unsuccessful in the watercraft and gear self-certification process or does not meet the clean, drain, dry standards?
Visitors that are unable to meet the clean – drain – dry standards and do not use the gear self-certification process are prohibited from launching in Yoho and Kootenay National parks until they meet the specific conditions. These visitors are able to have their watercraft decontaminated at a provincial station and must retain proof of the process. Once decontaminated they are still required to fill out a self-certification permit. Not complying with the mandatory self-inspection could result in legal action ranging from a small fine to a court date and maximum fine of $25,000.
Where are the nearest wash/decontamination stations?
There are no wash/decontamination stations in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks. The closest provincial wash/decontamination station to Yoho National Park is located in Golden, near the Golden Visitor Centre (1000 Trans-Canada Highway). The closest station to Kootenay National Park is located in Radium, just off of Highway 95 on the way to Invermere (west side of the highway).
Where and how do you report an aquatic invasive species sighting?
Aquatic invasive species sightings in the Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay Field Unit can be reported to email@example.com. 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.
Why are some visitors required to dry their watercraft and gear for 48 hours and others for 30 days?
Watercraft coming from outside of the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and Northwest Territories are required to dry for 30 days and those coming from inside the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, the Yukon and Northwest Territories are required to dry for 48 hours. This is because certain areas carry the risk of different types of aquatic invasive species and this helps to eliminate the spread.
If a visitor cannot meet the 30-day drying time they are able to visit the nearest decontamination station.
What if a watercraft has been decontaminated the day before they entered the park by one of the provincial stations?
Proof of decontamination from a provincial inspection station will be accepted for those not meeting regulations.
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 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 must obtain a new permit and meet the permit conditions if they decide to relocate to a new body of water in Yoho or Kootenay National Parks.