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 issue
Overview of indicators
Based on monitoring data for a national suite 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||Not Rated|
|Buildings and Engineering Works||Not Rated|
|Landscape Features||Not Rated
|Incorporation of Traditional Knowledge||N/R|
|Area burned condition class||Poor||Stable|
|Non-native vegetation||Fair||Not rated|
|Terrestrial birds||Good||Not rated|
|Multi-species mammal occupancy||Good||Stable|
|Winter wildlife corridors||Not rated||Not rated|
- The Area Burned Condition Class measure is rated as poor. This reflects decades of fire suppression that altered forest ecosystems. The effects of long-term fire exclusion cannot be restored over a ten year assessment window.
- Non-native forest vegetation is rated as fair. Significant efforts have been made in the control of non-native vegetation. However, the weighted percent cover of invasive plants is 3.25%, above the 1% threshold for a good rating, but well below the threshold for a poor rating, which is 10%.
|Non-native vegetation||Good||Not Rated|
|Terrestrial birds||Good||Not Rated
|Alpine extent||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Sensitive large mammal species: Goat||Not Rated||Not Rated|
|Sensitive large mammal species: 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.
- Stream Fish residency is rated as fair. Watershed streams 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 and water measure is poor because 16 lakes contain non-native fish. Six watersheds are rated fair and seven are rated poor.
- Lake fish measure is poor because 16 water bodies (53%) 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 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.
- 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 Yoho National Park provide evidence of centuries of human use. These include archaeological sites, heritage buildings, and archaeological and historical objects. There are three national historic sites (NHS) within the park that are assessed independently and are not reflected in the indicators presented here. A summary of these historic sites is included on the next page.
|Archaelogical Sites||Fair||Not rated|
|Buildings and engineering works||Not rated||Not rated|
|Landscapes and landscape features||Not rated||Not rated|
|Objects - Historical||Fair||Not rated|
|Objects - Archaeological||Fair||Stable|
The There are 142 known archaeological sites within the park. 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. 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 a total of 10 Recognised Federal Heritage Buildings in the park (excluding NHSs). The asset condition of four buildings is considered to be fair, while four buildings are considered to be in poor condition, and two buildings require condition assessments.
Nine of 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.
Restoration is underway at the Superintendent’s Residence and the Takakkaw Falls Patrol Cabin. This work is expected to improve the condition rating of both buildings from fair to good.
Landscape 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. The cultural features associated with the Trans Canada Highway corridor have recently been documented as part of the planning work associated with the Trans-Canada Highway twinning.
The condition of 21 historical objects has been assessed with 47% in good condition, 43% in fair condition, and 10% in poor condition. An additional 82 historical objects require assessment. The historic object collection includes artifacts from the national historic sites in the park.
There are 1,946 artifacts in the YNP archaeological collection. This excludes those associated with the national historic sites. A 2017 evaluation of the collection indicates that 64% of the objects are in good condition, 19% are in fair condition, and 5% are in poor condition. The collection is not at threat of deterioration.
Twin Falls Tea House National Historic Site
Twin Falls Tea House is a Recognised Federal Heritage Building constructed in the upper Yoho Valley during the 1920s to provide overnight shelter for trail riders. The building is in fair condition based on an informal assessment in 2016. This rating has declined from good condition in 2008 due to slow deterioration in a mountain climate. Plans are underway to rehabilitate the chalet. In 2008, the archaeological sites and historical objects were rated as good, but have not been re-assessed since then.
A Management Statement for Twin Falls National Historic Site has been drafted.
Kicking Horse Pass National Historic Site
Kicking Horse Pass National Historic Site commemorates the route chosen for the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway through the Rocky Mountains in the 1880s. The site extends from the Town of Field in Yoho National Park to the Village of Lake Louise in Banff National Park. There are 30 known archaeological sites within the national historic site. In 2008, the condition of the archaeological sites was rated good, but they have not been fully re-assessed since then.
There are 3,400 archaeological artifacts in the collection for this site. The collection is in good to fair condition (6% is poor - primarily metals), and 11% is threatened. Corrosion in metal artifacts is likely due to the presence of chloride ion contamination, and important items require conservation treatment (Hickey et al. 2017).
The heritage features associated with the Trans-Canada Highway corridor through the site were studied in 2017 (Stanley and LeParlouer 2017). In 2008, the landscapes and landscape features directly related to the NHS designation were generally considered in fair to good condition, but rated red, or poor, in the Commemorative Integrity Evaluation 2008/9 due to repairs needed to the Big Hill bridge.
A Management Statement for Kicking Horse Pass National Historic Site was completed in 2017.
References: Condition Assessment Report, (Hickey et al. 2017); Heritage Study of TCH Corridor Cultural Landscapes Within Yoho NP, (Stanley and LeParlouer, 2017).
Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin National Historic Site
The The Abbot Pass Refuge Cabin is a Classified Federal Heritage Building located on the Continental Divide along the boundary between Yoho National Park and Banff National Park. The cabin was built in 1922 on a high col between Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria to provide a refuge for mountaineers. In 2005, the building was in fair condition (Commemorative Integrity Evaluation 2005/6). Today the building is in good condition (informal assessment 2017, structural assessment: VanRijn 2014). Since 2012 the roof has been replaced and repairs have been made to the stone mortar. There are no archaeological sites/ objects or historical objects associated with this NHS. Environmental risks and hazards will be mitigated where feasible to protect the integrity of the building.
A Management Statement for the site has been drafted.
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 Yoho 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.
|Promotion - Events||Contacts||Good||Improving|
|Support - Volunteers||Volunteer hours||Good||Stable|
|Measure||2017 - 2018||Change since 2015-16|
|Volunteer hours||657||- 1%|
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 Burgess Shale guided hikes, non-native vegetation control programs, wildlife surveys, and the campground host program.
In the 2016/17 year, seventy volunteers contributed 657 hours of volunteer time in Yoho National Park.
|Measure||2017 - 2018||Change since 2015-16|
|Contacts at Events||191,696||+ 40%|
Parks Canada staff participate in a number of events in Calgary, Vancouver and Toronto to bring the stories of Yoho National Park to these cities. Overall, 191,696 contacts were made in 2017/18 through our outreach efforts, as compared to 250,278 in 2016/17, and 136,830 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.
Social media and digital engagement
All Yoho National Park social media platforms (in both English and French) have seen increased use in recent years. Social media engagement increased between 20% and 130% (depending on the platform) since 2015/16.
Website visits and page views have grown since 2015/16 by an average of 44%.
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 listed on the left have not yet been discussed with the groups concerned, so rating at this stage would be premature.
Progress is being made however; and in recent years Parks Canada and various Indigenous groups have engaged in numerous activities together and relationship building has begun. Some activities include:
|Indigenous collaboration in park planning and management||Not rated||Not rated|
|Indigenous 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.
|Indigenous partner access to park 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.
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. A procurement training session was offered in 2017. Consultations underway on the TCH twinning project (phase IVB) will inform discussions around the project, including the potential to incorporate traditional knowledge. 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 Yoho National Park Visitor Information Program (VIP) survey completed in 2018. The trends reflect change relative to the previous VIP survey conducted in 2011.
|Attendance (Person visit)
This indicator is rated as good because attendance has continued to increase.
Between 2011-12 and 2017-18 visitation increased by 30.1%, exceeding the management plan target of 2% per year for the 6-year period.
|Enjoyed visit – 95%||Good||Stable|
|Satisfaction with Availability of Services – 85%||Fair||Declining|
|Satisfaction with Availability of Activities – 88%||Fair||Declining|
|Satisfaction with staff: Demonstrating passion – 92%||Good||Stable|
|Satisfaction with Condition of Facilities – 87%||Fair||Stable|
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 -70%||Good||Stable|
Seventy percent of visitors surveyed felt that they learned something about the natural and/or cultural heritage of the park during their visit.
|Overall Visit Satisfaction -95%||Good||Stable|
|Satisfaction with Information Prior to Arrival- 87%||Fair||Improving|
|Satisfaction with Value for Entry Fee – 86%||Fair||Improving|
Overall satisfaction with park visits was very high. Satisfaction with pre-trip information and value-for-entry are below the 90% threshold for good rating, but have improved since the previous VIP in 2011.
There are 276 assets listed in the asset management database that are considered in this assessment. These assets include buildings, the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH), 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.
|Buildings - All types||Fair||Not rated|
|Dams - High Hazard Dams, Significant Hazard Dams||N/A||N/A|
|Highways - Highways||Fair||Not Rated|
|Marine Structures - Locks, marine rails, walls, wharves and docks.||N/A||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 - Campgrounds, Day-use Areas, Trails, Parking Lots, Pedestrian & Trail Bridges||Fair||Not Rated|
The 131 buildings in the park are rated as fair. Operational buildings such as workshops, stores, and staff housing require some investment.Buildings are in fair condition with recent investments.
Highways are in fair condition. There has been significant investment and subsequent improvement in the condition of the TCH within the park.
Roads are rated as fair. Emerald Lake Road has recently been resurfaced.
Vehicular bridges are in fair condition. There are 22 vehicle bridges in the park, including one wildlife underpass on the TCH built in 2013.
Visitor facilities are in fair condition. There are 133 assets included in this category (no buildings are included). These include trails, backcountry and front-country campgrounds, day use areas and viewpoints.
|Little Brown Myotis
Ability to influence: Low
|Maintain current distribution. Protect known hibernacula and maternity roosts||Partial
Ability to Influence: Low
|Protect individuals and maintain habitat
Ability to influence: Low
|Establish self-sustaining, rust-resistant population throughout species range||
|Bank Swallow , Barn Swallow
Ability to influence: Low
|Recently added to SARA Schedule 1. No target yet established.|
Changes in species conservation status or trends
Yoho National Park (YNP) contains five species listed as threatened or endangered under Species At Risk Act Schedule 1. All five 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 threat
Key threats that could negatively influence species at risk in YNP include:
- 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).
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 impacts of establishment of critical habitat on park management is unknown.
- Approved SARA Multi-species Action Plan for YNP 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 health
The condition of park forests is fair. The main factor affecting forest health is the lack of wildfire on the landscape due to a long period of fire suppression throughout the 20th century. This resulted in a forest that is older and more uniform in age across the landscape than expected. The area burned condition class is rated poor. Prescribed fires in 2011 in the Ottertail Valley and on Mount King were successful in restoring fire to some small areas. Since that time the conditions for igniting additional prescribed fires have not occurred. The health of forest ecosystems is also affected by the presence of non-native invasive plant species that may displace native biodiversity. The non-native vegetation measure is fair.
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 Yoho National Park. These efforts are at an early stage, so Indigenous indicators have not been rated in this report.
Built asset sustainability
All relevant asset indicators are rated fair. 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. Some of the historic objects require evaluation by conservators in order to determine their condition.
Park visitation has increased dramatically since 2010, and is anticipated to continue increasing into the foreseeable future. Increasing visitation has the potential to lead to impacts on visitor experience and the ecological integrity of the park. For many years, innovation focussed effort has allowed Parks Canada to successfully address this through education, enforcement, active management of visitors and wildlife, and various infrastructure upgrades. To address increasing demand, additional management actions will be required.