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

First VegFest of the South Okanagan coming to Penticton

The festival is scheduled for Aug. 23, with speakers and entertainment all day.

Penticton Vees score a 9-1 win against Merritt Centennials

The win is their third in a row in their latest streak.

‘Lift for Wills’ community fundraiser to support Penticton boy fighting cancer

This Sunday, stop by World Gym Penticton for by-donation drop-in classes, a silent auction, more.

Petition to install safety barriers on Hwy 97 garners over 500 supporters

Yesterday a fatal collision on Hwy 97 claimed the life of one individual

Oliver Health Centre celebrates expansion of ER

Minister of Health was in Oliver for the official opening of the improved emergency department

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

Update: Collision halts highway traffic west of Revelstoke

Drive BC also reported a vehicle incident 10 km east of Golden.

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

Priest Camp near Summerland was created in 1845

Agreement formed between Grand Chief Nicola (1793-1859) and Father Giovanni Nobili (1812-1856)

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Royal deal clears way for Harry, Meghan part-time Canada move: experts

Keith Roy of the Monarchist League of Canada said the deal is exactly what Harry and Meghan asked for

Most Read