Far more visitors are expected in national parks this year with there being free admission, so users should be aware of some restrictions in Banff areas.
Even though fees have been waived for 2017, anyone stopping in a national park still needs to exhibit a pass on their vehicle. Go to the Parks Canada website to order a Discovery Pass or pick one up at the entrance to any national park.
To keep a lid on late-night revelry, Banff has a ban on campfires and alcohol consumption between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily in eight areas. The prohibition is in effect from April 1 until March 31, 2018, at the following campgrounds: Tunnel Mountain Village I, Tunnel Mountain Village II, Tunnel Mountain Trailer Court, Two Jack Main, Two Jack Lakeside, Cascade Overflow, Johnston Canyon and Castle Mountain.
The order is quite clear what the consequences may be for scofflaws: immediate cancellation of camping permits, eviction from the campground or charges.
The summer long weekend alcohol ban brought in a number of years ago will continue at a number of campgrounds in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks.
Wild animals of another sort have led to restrictions on one campground and two backcountry areas. Until further notice, the main and overflow Lake Louise campgrounds are closed to all tents and tent trailers and any trailer units with soft-sided pop-outs.
To prevent wildlife disturbance, the Fairholme Bench area south of Johnson Lake and northeast of the Trans-Canada Highway is closed until July 15, and the Spray River Valley (from Canyon Dam to the confluence of Goat Creek) is off-limits until Nov. 15.
With whirling disease recently discovered in Banff National Park, boating, fishing, and even swimming, is prohibited on Outlet Creek, which is on the Bow Valley Parkway near Lake Louise. Officials hope to protect the threatened westslope cutthroat trout by restricting the use of certain lakes and rivers.