Search and Rescue Program

A search and rescue response will be initiated when:

  • a group has failed to de-register and initial investigation suggests a group is overdue, or
  • a distress signal is reported.

In the case of an overdue group, a physical search will not occur before 24 hours has elapsed, and may occur as late as 48 hours after the de-registration date has passed (dependent on weather conditions and availability of aircraft). The detailed information that you are required to give park staff during the registration process, such as the number and colour of your tents and canoes/rafts, and details of your itinerary will become very important in the event a search has to be initiated.

In a true emergency, visitors are encouraged to break into the following park staff cabins: Rabbitkettle, Sunblood, Virginia Falls, Flat River and Deadmen Valley (locations marked on river guides) to get assistance. Personal Locator Beacons (with instructions), park radios (operational from June 01 - September 30 only) food supplies and first-aid are located in each cabin. Non-emergency use of cabins is prohibited.

If you are in need of assistance or behind schedule, keep to the principal river channels, especially in the Splits.

There are logbooks situated at the locations below. These locations are all on River Right, except Moore’s Cabin, which is on River Left, and Glacier Lake, which is over 10 km from the South Nahanni River.

  • Moore’s cabin near Island Lakes;
  • The northwest gravel bar on Glacier Lake;
  • Information kiosk at Rabbitkettle Lake portage landing (river side)
  • Information kiosk at Virginia Falls (adjacent to the docking area);
  • The Parks cabin in Deadmen Valley, and
  • The cabin at Kraus Hotspings.

These check-in stations are not mandatory, but could assist rescuers in locating missing parties. Providing information such as planned off-river hiking routes will allow a search party to narrow the focus of a search if your group fails to de-register as scheduled.

Parks Canada maintains a professional search and rescue capability and will proved visitors with the information necessary to plan a safe and enjoyable trip. If an accident occurs within Nahanni National Park Reserve boundaries, Parks Canada will provide an appropriate search and rescue response. Normally such responses will be free of charge for the individual or group being rescued. However, Parks Canada may not provide search and rescue services free of charge for those individuals who do not comply with legal requirements such as the registration/de-registration process, or who fail to take responsibility for their actions. Individuals who, through court proceedings, are found to be negligent, may be held responsible for the full cost of search and rescue.

Visitor Safety | Minimizing Risk | River Hazards | Wildfire | Bear SafetyRegistration and De-registration | Rating River Difficulty | Search and Rescue Program