Twin falls in Yoho National Park. Yoho is one of the mountain parks that will see its management plan updated to provide direction for park policies for the next five to 10 years. (Claire Palmer photo)

Twin falls in Yoho National Park. Yoho is one of the mountain parks that will see its management plan updated to provide direction for park policies for the next five to 10 years. (Claire Palmer photo)

Management plans unveiled for Yoho, Kootenay

The plans were released in August

Parks Canada recently revealed its management plans for several national parks, including Yoho National Park and Kootenay National Park near Golden.

A management plan is a strategic guide for future management of a national park.

It is required by legislation, guided by public consultation, approved by the federal minister responsible for Parks Canada, and tabled in Parliament.

It is the primary public accountability document for each national park.

The seven key strategies for both parks have been identified as:

• conserving natural and cultural heritage for future generations;

• true-to-place experiences;

• strengthening Indigenous relations;

• connecting with Canadians within and beyond the park;

• managing development and park communities;

• regional connectivity and landscapes; and

• climate change and adaptation.

The key strategies represent Parks Canada’s planned approach to park management for the next five to 10 years.

Both plans also include direction for specific areas in the parks.

In Yoho, this incudes the Upper Yoho and Littel Yoho Valley management areas, encompassing the Takakkaw Falls day-use area and the upstream area of the watershed.

There are approximately 46 kilometres of designated hiking trails, including popular routes in the forested valleys of the Yoho and Little Yoho rivers, and the Iceline, Kiwetinok Pass and Yoho Glacier trails in this area.

This management area provides access to the wilderness area, which is to be maintained in a natural state with minimal intrusion of infrastructure or technology.

Visitor facilities will be upgraded, with plans to move Little Yoho Valley Campground to a new site, and upgrading backcountry sites at Twin Falls and Laughing Falls.

New human waste management solutions will also be explored as will be the feasability of relocating the Whiskey Jack Hostel.

Managing increasing demand by visitors is one of the key issues identified in the State of the park assessment from 2018.

Many of the key directives for the park were identified through public feedback, which identified widespread support for the protection of the park.

Topics where respondents indicated a high degree of support include maintaining functional wildlife corridors, maintaining wilderness character, employing visitor use management strategies to address increasing visitation, restoring local populations of species at risk, maintaining sustainable visitor facilities, and working to monitor and mitigate threats from climate change.

For Kooetenay National Park, specific direction was given for the Rockwall area, a popular multi-day hiking area in the park.

Restoring the role of fire as a key process in forest ecosystems is a ket part of conservation in the plan – this work will continue in priority areas such as montane open forest grassland and meadows, with a goal of restoring 50 per cent of the historic fire cycle.

This will further increase the natural diversity of the forest so that these ecosystems become more varied in age and composition.

This will provide a greater range of wildlife habitat and make park forests more resilient to stresses such as insects, disease, and climate change.

Management attention will also focus on improving the ecological integrity of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems, maintaining landscape connectivity, and managing species at risk and non-native invasive species.

Parks Canada