Rules and Regulations 

  • An AIS Prevention Self-certification Permit or Parks Canada AIS Prevention Inspection permit is required for all non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear (e.g., canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, fishing gear).
    • The Self-certification Permit requires mandatory clean, drain, dry of all non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear, and attestation to these actions. Permits will be available online and at visitor centres and self-serve kiosks at waterbodies in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks, or at Parks Canada watercraft inspection stations in Banff National Park.
    • Non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear users that do not meet Self-certification Permit requirements, but still wish to use their equipment within a park should visit a Parks Canada watercraft inspection station. Inspections and issue of a Parks Canada Inspection Permit will occur on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of inspectors.
  • Parks Canada Inspection Permit is mandatory for motorized watercraft on Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park.
    • Parks Canada will no longer accept provincial inspection permits for motorized watercraft launching on Lake Minnewanka.
  • Dry time requirements - Parks Canada Self-certification and Inspection Permits will require watercraft that has travelled outside of BC, AB, Yukon and Northwest Territories to dry for 30 days and those travelling within BC, AB, Yukon and Northwest Territories to dry for 48 hours.
  • Inspection of non-motorized watercraft and water gear will be available at inspection stations in Banff at Lake Minnewanka (motorized and non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear) and Lake Louise overflow parking lot (non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear only). 

General

What are aquatic invasive species (AIS) and why is Parks Canada requiring watercraft and water-related gear users to obtain an AIS Prevention Self-certification or Inspection Permit 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) are non-native plants, animals, and diseases. Many AIS are harmful to freshwater ecosystems. AIS reproduce fast, they rarely have natural predators and often out-compete native freshwater species.

Aquatic invasive species:
  • alter aquatic ecosystems;
  • cause irreversible damage;
  • impact already vulnerable species at risk; and,
  • are introduced by people.

Following Clean Drain Dry procedures between bodies of water is a best practice across North America and is a requirement for all watercraft and water gear users in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.

  • An AIS Prevention Self-certification Permit or Parks Canada AIS Prevention Inspection Permit is required for all non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear used in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay National Parks.
  • A Parks Canada AIS Prevention Inspection Permit is mandatory for motorized watercraft on Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park. AIS Prevention Permits aim to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering the parks, educate water recreationalists about the problem of aquatic invasive species and provide data that Parks Canada can use to further our knowledge of aquatic invasive species.
How can the public help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species?

Everyone can help prevent the spread of AIS in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks by following Clean Drain Dry procedures and obtaining a mandatory AIS Prevention Permit for all watercraft and water-related gear.


All users of watercraft and water related-gear must:

  • Clean all mud, sand, plant, and animal materials from your watercraft and water-related gear.


  • Drain coolers, buckets, compartments, and other items that may hold water on land before leaving the waterbody.


  • Dry all watercraft and water-related gear coming from outside of British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories for 30 days; those coming from inside British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and Northwest Territories are required to dry for 48 hours. When entering a new waterbody within Yoho, Kootenay, and Banff national parks, watercraft and water-related gear must be dried for 48 hours.


Once the Clean Drain Dry procedure has been completed, watercraft and water-related gear users are required to obtain an AIS Prevention Permit for all watercraft and water-related gear:

  • An AIS Prevention Self-certification Permit or Parks Canada AIS Prevention Inspection Permit is required for all non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear (e.g., canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, fishing gear).
    • The Self-certification Permit requires mandatory clean, drain, dry of all non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear, and attestation to these actions. Permits will be available online and at self-serve kiosks at waterbodies in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks, or at Parks Canada watercraft inspection stations in Banff National Park.
    • Non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear users that do not meet Self-certification Permit requirements, but still wish to use their equipment within a park should visit a Parks Canada watercraft inspection station. Inspections and issue of a Parks Canada Inspection Permit will occur on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of inspectors.
  • Parks Canada Inspection Permit is mandatory for motorized watercraft on Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park.
    • Parks Canada will no longer accept provincial inspection permits for motorized watercraft launching on Lake Minnewanka.
  • Inspection of non-motorized watercraft and water gear will be available at inspection stations in Banff at Lake Minnewanka (motorized and non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear) and Lake Louise overflow parking lot (non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear only).
  • When entering any new waterbody within Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks, users of watercraft and water-related gear must obtain a new AIS Prevention Permit.
What type of watercraft and gear require a self-certification permit?

All watercraft and water-related gear used in Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay national parks require a permit, including but not limited to:

  • Motorized watercraft (gas or electric)
  • Canoes
  • Kayaks
  • Paddleboards
  • Kiteboards
  • Windsurfers
  • Rowboats
  • Inflatables
  • Fishing Gear
  • Wading Boots
  • Waders/Lifejackets
  • Wetsuits
  • Paddles

Water-related gear means: personal floatation devices, throw bags, water shoes, wetsuits, or any other type of recreational gear that comes in contact with the water.

Fishing gear means: fishing rods, tackle, waders, wading boots, gloves, nets, or any other type of fishing equipment that comes into contact with water.

What can I expect at the Parks Canada inspection station?

At the inspection stations, trained Parks Canada staff will be available to provide inspections of watercraft and water-related gear for AIS or evidence of potential contamination with AIS. If watercraft and water-related gear are found to have met the Clean Drain Dry protocols and have not been in high risk AIS positive waters, an AIS Prevention Permit may be issued. Inspections and issue of a Parks Canada Inspection Permit will occur on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of inspectors.

These inspections are available to all watercraft and water-related gear users in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks for no cost.

Inspection Station Locations and Operating Hours:

The Lake Louise Inspection Station (non-motorized watercraft) is located at the Lake Louise Overflow parking lot in Banff National Park, and is open:

  • Shoulder seasons (May 20 to June 4 and September 6 to October 10): 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 7 days per week or as operationally required.
  • Peak season (June 5 to September 5): 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. 7 days per week or as operationally required.

The Lake Minnewanka inspection station (non-motorized and motorize watercraft) is located along the Minnewanka Loop Road in Banff National Park, and is open:

  • Shoulder seasons (May 20 to June 4 and September 6 to October 10): 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 7 days per week or as operationally required.
  • Peak season (June 5 to September 5): 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. 7 days / week or as operationally required.
Why do dry times differ for some watercraft and water-related gear?

Watercraft and water-related gear 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. When entering a new waterbody within Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay national parks, watercraft and water-related gear must be dried 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 watercraft or water-related gear cannot meet the required drying time it cannot be used in any waterways and users should visit a Parks Canada inspection station.

Is it necessary to Clean Drain Dry watercraft and water-related gear if it is being used in the same body of water for multiple days?

If a visitor or resident decides to use their watercraft or water-related gear in the same body of water for multiple days, it is not necessary to follow the Clean Drain Dry procedures until they decide to relocate to another body of water. Watercraft and water-related gear users 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 AIS Prevention Self-certification Permit system work?

An AIS Prevention Self-Certification Permit or Parks Canada AIS Prevention Inspection Permit is required for all non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear (e.g., canoes, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, fishing gear).

  1. Obtain a Self-certification Permit from a visitor centre, a self-certification station (listed below), or print your Self-certification Permit at home using the online form.
  2. Ensure that watercraft and water-related gear have met the Clean Drain Dry conditions listed on the self-certification form before using these items.
  3. Sign, date and write the waterbody name the permit is for on the Self-certification Permit, if the conditions are met. Users are required to carry their permit with them while using their watercraft and water-related gear.
  4. Complete the survey at the bottom of the AIS Prevention 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 at a visitor center.
  5. If you do not meet the Clean Drain Dry requirements indicated on the Self-certification Permit, you are prohibited from launching a non-motorized watercraft or water-related gear in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks until the permit conditions are met. Non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear users who do not meet the Self-certification Permit requirements can visit a Parks Canada watercraft inspection station for possible issue of an AIS Prevention Inspection Permit.

It is a legal requirement for people recreating on the water to have their permits available for examination. Permits are valid only for the date and waterbody indicated on the permit and users must obtain a new permit and meet the permit conditions if relocating watercraft to a new body of water.

Where can you obtain an AIS Prevention Self-certification Permit in Banff, Kootenay and Yoho national parks?
Are the AIS Prevention Self-certification Permits available online?

The Self-certification Permits can be found on the Parks Canada website:

Banff National Park
Locations:
Watercraft inspection stations
  • Lake Louise Inspection Station- Located in the Lake Louise overflow parking lot approximately 7 km southeast from the town of Lake Louise on Highway 1
  • Lake Minnewanka Inspection Station- Located along the Minnewanka Loop Road, approximately 6 km northeast from the town of Banff
Banff Visitor Centres
Lake Louise Visitor Centre
Park gates
  • Niblock Gate (Lake Louise 93N)
  • David Thompson (Sask. Crossing 93N)
Two Jack Lakeside Campground
Lake Louise Campground
Baker Creek Chalets
Boom Lake Trailhead
Bourgeau Lake Trailhead
Bow Lake - Day Use Area and near Num-Ti-Ja
Cascade Ponds
Fish Creek Trailhead
Glacier Lake Trailhead
Hector Lake
Helen Lake Trailhead
Herbert Lake
Howse Trailhead
Johnson Lake
Lake Louise (Lake) Canoe Launch and kiosk
Lake Minnewanka Boat Dock
Lake Minnewanka Loop Road
Moraine Lake
Mosquito Campground Kiosk
Mosquito Creek Trailhead
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, Trans-Canada Highway across from Morant’s Curve (un-named)
Two Jack Lake and reservoir
Vermillion Lakes
Vista Lake Trailhead
Waterfowl Lakes (Campground, Kiosk and Viewpoint (pullout))
Yoho National Park
Locations:
Yoho National Park Visitor Centre
Park Gate
Kicking Horse Campground
Lake O'Hara Bus Station
Emerald Lake
Faeder Lake
Finn Creek
Field Pond
Wapta Lake
Hoodoo campground
Kootenay National Park
Locations:
Radium Hot Springs Visitor Centre
Kootenay Park Gate
Redstreak Campground
Dolly Varden picnic area
Kootenay River picnic area
McLeod Meadows campground (Dog Lake trailhead)
Olive Lake
Simpson River trailhead
Vermillion Crossing picnic area<
Numa Falls (or Marble Canyon)
What if a watercraft or water-related gear user is unsuccessful in the obtaining an AIS Prevention Self-certification Permit or does not meet the Clean Drain Dry standards?

If you are unable to meet the Clean Drain Dry standards, you can visit the Parks Canada inspection stations at the Lake Louise Overflow parking lot or Lake Minnewanka Loop Road where trained staff will provide a free inspection. Parks Canada staff will issue an AIS Prevention Inspection Permit at their discretion based on the risk-level of the watercraft. Without meeting the requirements for the self-certification process, or obtaining an AIS Prevention Inspection Permit, you are prohibited from launching watercraft or water-related gear in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks until standards are met.

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.


Motorized watercraft

What does the public need to know about using motorized watercraft and water-related gear in Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay national parks?

Lake Minnewanka is the only waterbody in Banff, Yoho, and Kootenay national parks where boats with motors, both gas and electric, are allowed.

It is mandatory to:

  • Clean Drain Dry your watercraft; and,
  • Obtain proof of a Parks Canada watercraft inspection for all motorized watercraft before launching.

You can obtain a Parks Canada AIS Prevention Inspection Permit for motorized watercraft at the Lake Minnewanka inspection station, located 6 km from the town of Banff along the Minnewanka Loop Road. The Lake Minnewanka Inspection station is open:

  • Shoulder seasons (May 20 to June 4 and September 6 to October 10): 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 7 days / week or as operationally required.
  • Peak season (June 5 to September 5): 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 7 days / week or as operationally required.

Aquatic invasive species

Have invasive mussels or whirling disease been found in Banff, Yoho or Kootenay national parks?

Parks Canada regularly tests for invasive mussels and whirling disease. 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 (AIS)can be introduced by people through the movement of mud, water and live or dead organisms (e.g., plants and fish) from activities such as boating, canoeing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding and fishing. Motorized watercraft are the highest risk watercraft to introduce AIS. Everyone can help keep aquatic invasive species out of the national parks by following the Clean Drain Dry standards as a best practice across North America.

Where and how do you report an aquatic invasive species sighting?

Aquatic invasive species sightings in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks can be reported to: llykaisprevention-eaeprevention@pc.gc.ca.

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.

What are other mountain national parks doing to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species?

To find out what other mountain national parks are doing to manage aquatic invasive species, please see the following sites:


Definitions

Non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear: hand-launched boats, fishing equipment, and aquatic recreational equipment, including but not limited to: canoes, fishing gear, inflatables, kayaks, kiteboards, paddles, rowboats, stand up paddle boards (SUP), waders/lifejackets, wading boots, wetsuit, windsurfers or any other type of equipment that comes into contact with water, sediment or plant material.

Motorized watercraft: Boats with motors (gas or electric). The only waterbody in Banff, Yoho or Kootenay national parks which allows motorized watercraft is Lake Minnewanka in Banff National Park.

Clean Drain Dry: Series of actions undertaken to rid watercraft or water-related gear of AIS before moving them between water bodies intended to reduce the risk of transporting AIS. Actions include: clean all mud, sand, plant, and animal materials from boat/stand-up boards (SUP)/fishing gear; drain coolers, buckets, compartments, and other items that may hold water; dry all watercraft and water gear completely before entering any river, lake or stream. Includes mandatory dry times based on location of last use.

Inspection: Examination of a watercraft or piece of water-related gear for AIS or evidence of potential contamination with AIS carried out by trained inspectors.

Parks Canada AIS Prevention Self-certification Permits (Self-certification Permit): These permits are required for non-motorized watercraft and water-related gear in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks. Users applying for a permit attest to meeting the Clean Drain Dry requirements. Permits are valid only for the date and waterbody indicated on the permit and users must obtain a new permit and meet the permit conditions if relocating watercraft to a new body of water.

Parks Canada AIS Prevention Inspection Permit (Inspection Permit): Permits issued following inspection by trained inspectors. For non-motorized watercraft, Parks Canada requires watercraft and water-related gear users to have either a valid AIS Prevention Self-certification Permit or an AIS Prevention Inspection Permit prior to launching. For motorized watercraft entering Lake Minnewanka in 2022, Parks Canada will require mandatory inspection and a valid Parks Canada AIS Prevention Inspection Permit for all motorized watercraft entering Lake Minnewanka. Provincially-issued permits will no longer be accepted in Banff, Yoho, or Kootenay national parks.