Kootenay National Park by Golden. (Black Press Media photo)

Kootenay National Park by Golden. (Black Press Media photo)

Emergency satellite phones installed in Kootenay National Park

There is currently no cell coverage or WiFi along most of the 105-kilometre stretch of Highway 93

Parks Canada is helping make Highway 93 a little safer, installing two new emergency satellite phones along the highway in Kootenay National Park.

There is currently no cell coverage or WiFi along most of the 105-kilometre stretch of Highway 93 South between Castle Mountain and Radium Hot Springs.

No cell service or wifi in the park creates challenges for emergency communications along the highway, which has seen an increase in traffic over the last year due to scheduled detours caused by closures of the Kicking Horse Canyon Project on the Trans Canada Highway east of Golden, which has rerouted traffic through Radium.

The phones are located at the Simpson River Trailhead and Kootenay River Day Use area and connect callers directly to 911, which provides emergency dispatch services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The locations of the phones are marked by signs along the highway.

A third satellite emergency phone was installed at Marble Canyon earlier this year in advance of the extended closure of the Trans Canada Highway that occurred in the fall of 2021.

A fourth emergency phone is located at the Kootenay Crossing Operations Centre.

The venture is a joint project between Parks Canada and the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

B.C. is paying $40,000 toward purchase and installation of these emergency phones.

Parks Canada will be responsible for covering the remaining purchase and installation costs, operational costs and will maintain the emergency telephones once the project is complete.

Additional emergency telephone access is also available year-round at the Radium Hot Pools during business hours.

Visitors may also seek assistance at Storm Mountain Lodge and Kootenay Park Lodge when these businesses are operating.

Visitors are reminded to plan ahead by checking Drive BC and Alberta 511 for the most up to date road information, a reminder that safety is a shared responsibility.

Conditions along the road can change rapidly, particularly in the winter.

Parks Canada encourages motorists to drive with care while travelling along Highway 93 during winter months.

Snow tires, all-season radials or chains are required by law for travel on Highway 93 South between Oct. 1 and April 30.

Parks Canada