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 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

A second wave of COVID-19 is probable, if history tells us anything

B.C.’s top doctor says that what health officials have learned this round will guide response in future

Back in Time

Historical Perspective

RV habitation once again a discussion topic for TNRD

“I don’t imagine for a moment that we’ve heard the last of the RV issue”

Man brought up on three charges after holding tow truck driver at knifepoint in Lac la Hache

The suspect produced a knife and held the driver against his will for upwards of 45 minutes

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Oak Bay man stumbles upon eagle hunting seal, grabs camera just in time

The eagle did ‘a perfect butterfly stroke to shore’ with its prey, photographer says

Most Read