Parks Canada makes changes to visit Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park

Currently only 32 day-use visitors and 90 campers are allowed to take the bus into the area each day

Parks Canada makes changes to visit Lake O’Hara in Yoho National Park

Parks Canada is making changes next year for people hoping to visit a highly sought after destination in British Columbia’s Yoho National Park.

Visitors to Lake O’Hara, which has a quota system in place to protect the sensitive alpine area, are required to advance book for a bus that takes them up an 11-kilometre road for day hiking and overnight camping.

“It’s a high-elevation alpine ecosystem that Parks Canada has been working hard to preserve and protect … ever since Yoho National Park was established,” said Jed Cochrane, acting visitor experience manager with Yoho National Park.

“This system that we have in place, that is one of the main reasons it stays in the pristine shape that it is in.”

The quota system, which has been in place since the 1980s, means only 32 day-use visitors and 90 campers are allowed to take the bus into the area each day. Others are permitted if they have overnight reservations through an Alpine Club of Canada hut or Lake O’Hara Lodge.

ALSO READ: Parks Canada asking for feedback on management of Rocky Mountain region parks

Cochrane said more than 20,000 people have logged on to the online system to book the day-use spots available through Parks Canada each summer.

“It’s a really popular experience,” he said. “Normally the just over 3,000 seats that we have for the summer are sold out within the first few minutes. That pressure is causing visitor frustration.”

The changes will see a random draw that will give day hikers the month of February to submit a $10 application for the bus through the Parks Canada reservation system.

“There’s no rush, people can go on, they can register, they’ll pick their options in terms of how many seats they want and which days they want to go,” he said. “Then they’ll be drawn and, if they are selected, their first choice will be picked or their second choice or whatever.

“It’s just meant to open it up and have the opportunity for everyone to apply to have the opportunity to go up to Lake O’Hara for a day.”

Visitors will then be given two weeks to confirm and pay for their spot on the bus.

“It’s all meant to take the rush and panic out of it for everybody,” said Cochrane.

Overnight camping spots will now be offered through the Parks Canada reservation system on a first-come, first-served basis starting Jan. 24.

“Historically you phoned in,” he said. “That creates some frustration for visitors because they get a busy signal. There was no way to see if sites were reserved.

“It just generally makes it easier for folks to get on there and do their reservations.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Tarpaulin-covered tents sit next to one of the ponds in Beacon Hill Park. The location of the Meegan community care tent has still not been nailed down, as Victoria council rejected the recommendation offered by city staff. (Don Descoteau/News Staff)
Location of care tent for Victoria’s Beacon Hill campers still not settled

Council roundly rejects Avalon Road site, road’s edge on Cook Street appears the top alternative

Central Saanich will investigate ways in which the municipality along with funding partners Sidney and North Saanich can financially support the Panorama Recreation Centre. (Black Press Media File)
Central Saanich to spell out options for financially supporting Panorama Recreation Centre

Municipality looks for best use of COVID-19 restart grant worth some $3.5 million

The Songhees Wellness Centre is a symbol of First Nations strength in the region. Representatives of local First Nations will soon play a greater role in decision making and governance relating to the Capital Regional District. (Courtesy Royal Roads University)
Capital Regional District to add First Nations representatives to advisory committees

Board approves bylaw, looks forward to Indigenous input on future decisions

Coaches with the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey association have had to get creative during their weekly practices to keep players interested and improving their skills without physical contact. (Damian Kowalewich photo)
West Shore minor hockey coach shares what it’s like on the ice without parents, fans

Most practices consist of relay races, goalie shots and passing drills

Willow, a kitten belonging to a Victoria family, was rescued by firefighters on Thursday after she got stuck in a basement drain pipe. (City of Victoria/Twitter)
Victoria kitten stuck in basement drain pipe rescued by firefighters

Willow the cat on the mend, owner feeling ‘enormous gratitude’

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

A passer by walks in High Park, in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. This workweek will kick off with what’s fabled to be the most depressing day of the year, during one of the darkest eras in recent history. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Blue Monday’ getting you down? Exercise may be the cure, say experts

Many jurisdictions are tightening restrictions to curb soaring COVID-19 case counts

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19: Provinces work on revised plans as Pfizer-BioNTech shipments to slow down

Anita Anand said she understands and shares Canadians’ concerns about the drug company’s decision

Tourists take photographs outside the British Columbia Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday August 26, 2011. A coalition of British Columbia tourism industry groups is urging the provincial government to not pursue plans to ban domestic travel to fight the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. travel ban will harm struggling tourism sector, says industry coalition

B.C. government would have to show evidence a travel ban is necessary

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Everett Bumstead (centre) and his crew share a picture from a tree planting location in Sayward on Vancouver Island from when they were filming for ‘One Million Trees’ last year. Photo courtesy, Everett Bumstead.
The tree planting life on Vancouver Island features in new documentary

Everett Bumstead brings forth the technicalities, psychology and politics of the tree planting industry in his movie

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Most Read