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Divers Caution - Lk. Minnewanka Poor Vis Plus: Banff Parks - Scuba allowed only in Two Jack Lake & Lake Minnewanka

January 30, 2020

 

VISIBILITY in Lake Minnie: As of Fall 2019: Still rated as very poor (6-12 ft).  This was partly due to the massive flood event in spring of 2013,  with some improvement this year but still lots of silt & debris in most areas.  Also watch for possible entanglement hazard from branches, logs, etc, which is also greatly increased.  Water levels here are often very low and do fluctuate (which is normal for this reservoir) - depending on the time of year, rainfall, snow melt, etc., (and power draw requirements from town of Banff).

 

BANFF PARKS REGULATIONS: Scuba is only allowed in Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka.  Closed to scuba in Johnson Lk, Lake Louise, etc. Scuba Diving permit requests accepted & usually approved for scuba in Emerald Lake in Yoho Park nearby.

 

AUC's Safety Marker or Dive Flag Buoys -  AUC's "Safety Marker Buoys" in Lake Minnie are installed every spring & removed in fall by AUC VOLUNTEERS to help keep boaters away from the submerged 1912 Dam site & the "Bridge Pilings" Dive Site in Lake Minnewanka near the causeway. This has greatly increased safety of divers from boaters in this area.        

 

See the AUC's Alberta Dive Guide for further descriptions of these dive sites in Banff.  

 

Note that the "Submerged Townsite of Minnewanka Landing" is a boat dive & does not have safety marker buoys.  The boat must fly a "Dive Flag" when diving there.  Live boat is recommended. DO NOT MOOR your boat to the marker (if present).

 

Two Jack Lake is open for scuba diving and the visibility isn't too bad & but varies depending on local conditions.  Please share the parking lot & beach area with other public users.

 

Scuba divers are reminded to stay clear of dams, weirs, marinas, boat channels and boat launches.  

 

WARNING: Boat rentals are available to the public at Lake Minnewanka (and other AB Lakes) without the prerequisite of a "boating license". This means these are often very inexperienced boat operators that are even more unaware & uneducated about what the "dive flag" means = Diver Below - Keep Clear at least 100 ft, Slow Down!
 
DIVERS: ALWAYS use common sense & good judgement when deciding to dive or not dive -  due to safety concerns, change of local conditions, your own experience & even fitness level! 

 

NEVER assume that the presence of the "Dive Flag" will ensure your safety! Always do controlled ascents (and descents) while diving, close to shore if possible.  Use caution & common sense, be aware & don't dive in heavy boat traffic areas.

 

Dive safe, always!
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