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Kananaskis Conservation Pass

Overview

Purchase a daily or yearly pass now to experience Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley Corridor while supporting conservation efforts in the area.

Buy your conservation pass

Easy to buy, easy to use

Vehicles parked at provincial park and public land sites in Kananaskis Country and the Bow Valley need a Conservation Pass.

Buy your pass online and register your licence plate. Passes can also be purchased in-person or by using Wi-Fi at Kananaskis Visitor Information Centres (Barrier, Elbow and Peter Lougheed) and the Canmore Nordic Centre Day Lodge.

By purchasing a pass you're helping keep this special part of Alberta beautiful and protected for generations to come.

Cost

Only one pass per personal or commercial passenger vehicle is required. There is no extra cost for trailers or additional passengers. Pass purchases are non-transferable to another vehicle.

Personal vehicles

  • Day pass - $15 (registers one vehicle)
  • Yearly pass - $90 (registers up to 2 vehicles)

Commercial – 15 people or less

  • Day pass - $22.50
  • Yearly pass - $135

Example: shuttles, taxis, small group transport

Commercial – more than 15 people

  • Day pass - $30
  • Yearly pass - $180

Example: large group transport, coach buses

Pass details

  • Where the pass applies

    Pass applies

    Pass does not apply

    • Vehicles traveling through the area without stopping
    • Vehicles that are only loading or unloading passengers do not need a pass
    • People arriving without a vehicle (on foot, horseback, bicycle)

    Pass is not required*

    • Ghost area
    • McLean Creek Public Land Use Zone
    • McLean Creek Provincial Recreation Area
    • Fisher Creek Provincial Recreation Area
    • Canmore townsite or other municipal land within the boundary

    *Applicable camping and/or facility user fees still apply.

  • Where to buy a pass

    Visitors are encouraged to buy their pass before arriving in the area. You can purchase your pass up until 11:59 pm on the first day of your visit.

    Online

    In-person

    Cell service areas

    Some areas in Kananaskis have reliable cell service to buy the pass on your mobile device.

    • Available service: Kananaskis Village area, Canmore Nordic Centre area, select day use areas accessed off of Trans Canada Highway 1, Highway 1A and 1X.
    • Not typically available: Along the eastern reaches of Hwy 1A, Hwy 68 (Sibbald Corridor), Smith Dorian/Spray Trail - Hwy 742, Hwy 66 (Elbow Valley), Hwy 546 (Sheep Valley), Hwy 541 and 532 (Highwood), Hwy 40 South including Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, and is generally intermittent along Hwy 40 into Kananaskis Country.
  • Pass conditions

    • Only one pass per personal or commercial vehicle is required.
      • The pass qualifies the vehicle, not the passengers.
      • Vehicles registered to different addresses cannot be used with the same annual pass.
      • If you purchased an annual pass online and only entered licence plate information for one vehicle, you can call the contact centre to have your second vehicle added under your pass (1-877-537-2757).
      • Commercial passenger vehicle is a vehicle operated for the purpose of providing non-personal transportation, such as tour bus, group transport and shuttle vans.
    • Day passes expire at 11:59 p.m. on the day for which the pass is valid.
    • Annual passes are valid for a full calendar year (365 days) from date of purchase.
    • Camping fees in parks, and user fees for specialized facilities like the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, still apply.
    • The public land camping pass will not be needed in the Kananaskis Conservation Pass area.

    Learn more:

  • Free days

    Free Days will occur on Wilderness Wednesdays, on the first Wednesday of every month starting July 7.

    Other 2021 free days:

    • June 21 – Indigenous People’s Day
    • July 17 – Parks Day
    • September 22 – Kananaskis Country’s birthday
    • November 11 – Remembrance Day
    • December 21 – First day of winter
  • Gift a pass

    Online purchases are available for customers wishing to gift an annual pass.

    How to gift an annual pass

    • Select the pass type and choose annual.
    • Select vehicle type and choose personal.
    • When selecting the start date, choose the date on which you would like the pass to become active. Please note the start date needs to be within 90 days of the purchase date.
    • When entering the license plate, write “GIFT”. If you know the license plate of the recipient, enter their license plate information.
    • Select Alberta for the province.
    • When entering the contact information, enter the recipient’s name, mobile number and postal code. Please enter your email, as you will receive a confirmation of purchase.

    Activating a gifted pass

    • Passes are not valid until the applicable license plate information has been entered. Recipients must provide their license plate information in order to validate the pass.
    • Recipients of the gifted pass can call the Alberta Parks Contact Centre at 1-877-537-2757, or a visitor information centre, to validate their pass.

    Holiday information

    Refunds

    For online purchases only: Passes can be cancelled by the purchasing customer up to 11:59 pm the day before it is set to start.

Pass exemptions

  • How to apply

    An exemption means an individual or group is not required to purchase the Kananaskis Conservation Pass for their vehicle(s).

    The focus for enforcement initially will be on education. Exempted users will be able to apply and receive their exemption before fines are issued.

    How to apply

    • Residents, businesses and organizations who are eligible for an exemption, sign up online to receive further information about how to apply for an exemption by email.
    • Low income Albertans who qualify for an exemption can request a free day or multi-day pass at any of the in-person purchase locations.
    • Engagement is occurring with First Nations to determine how to best administer the First Nations exemption.

    Eligible groups

    You may be eligible for an exemption if you are a(n):

    • First Nations person with Status
    • Albertan with low-income participating in a provincial support program
    • Resident of Kananaskis Improvement District
    • Facility operator agreement holder
    • Business or organization conducting approved activities under a government-issued authorization (for example, contract, disposition, permit)
    • Provincial or municipal employee commuting to the work site or utilizing a fleet vehicle
    • Volunteer who has met specified criteria for a rebate

    For more details regarding eligibility, review the information in the sections below.

  • First Nations People with Status

    • First Nations individuals with status as defined under the Federal Indian Act qualify for an exemption and do not need to purchase a pass. This applies to personal vehicle(s) or the vehicle(s) being travelled in. This also includes trailers or towed vehicles. Annual and/or multi-year passes will be available.
    • We are engaging with First Nations on how best to implement the vehicle exemption for the Kananaskis Conservation Pass for their members once licence plate scanning technology and the online exemptions portal are in place.
    • This website will be updated with additional information once engagement is complete.
    • In the interim, First Nations individuals with status do not need to show or carry proof of exemption - no physical pass or hangtag is required for the exemption to be valid. Staff or officers will not ask for proof of status card or issue a warning or ticket.
    • If individuals feel more comfortable having a pass on hand during this interim engagement period, they can pick up a free day pass or multi-day pass at any of the in-person purchase locations:
      • Canmore Nordic Centre Day Lodge
      • Elbow Valley Visitor Information Centre
      • Kananaskis Visitor Information Centre at Barrier Lake
      • Peter Lougheed Park Discovery and Information Centre
    • Due to the location of Kananaskis Country in the province, this exemption will only apply to First Nations individuals with status.
    • There are no traditional Métis harvesting areas in Kananaskis, which are defined under the Métis Harvesting in Alberta Policy (2018). In contrast, the Public Lands Camping Pass boundary includes Metis harvesting areas north of the Red Deer River, which is why some Métis groups are exempt from the camping pass in those areas.
  • Low-income Albertans

    • Recipients of Assured Income for Severely Handicapped (AISH), Income Support (IS), and the Alberta Health Benefits (AHB) programs qualify for an exemption and do not need to purchase a pass.
    • You can request a free low-income day pass or multi-day pass for your vehicle or the vehicle you are travelling in at any of the in-person purchase locations (download the map) (PDF, 3.9 MB):
      • Canmore Nordic Centre Day Lodge
      • Elbow Valley Visitor Information Centre (not yet wheelchair accessible; accessibility upgrades are underway)
      • Kananaskis Visitor Information Centre at Barrier Lake
      • Peter Lougheed Park Discovery and Information Centre
    • You will be asked to show your Government-issued identification that you received to participate in each of the support programs (benefit card) as proof of eligibility.
    • Annual passes are not available for the low-income exemption
    • Free days for all visitors are being offered periodically to support access for Albertans with low-income.
  • Residents of Kananaskis Improvement District

    • Kananaskis Improvement District residents who are employed and living at an address within the area and have a PO Box at the Canada Post in Kananaskis Village Centre qualify for an exemption and do not need to purchase a pass.
    • This exemption is only available to these residents because this is a public parking area and licence plates will be scanned for compliance. Licence plate scanning will not occur at staff residences or other private areas that are not available to the general public.
    • Vehicles of cottage owners and private landowners are not exempt, as there will be no licence plate scanning for compliance done on private lands.
    • When applying for an exemption, you will be asked to provide the name of your employer, residence location, PO Box, licence plate, as well as employment term (permanent or seasonal).
    • One vehicle per resident is eligible for an exemption.
  • Facility Operator Agreement holders

    • Work/fleet vehicles utilized for the primary purpose of conducting business under a Facility Operating Agreement (FOA) are exempt.
    • Employee/sub-contractor vehicles utilized for the primary purpose of conducting facility operator duties in public parking areas where licence plates will be scanned (day use, roadside, and campgrounds) do qualify for an exemption. These licence plates will be collected and submitted by the FOA holder within their application.
    • Generally, FOAs will be asked to provide their business contact, government contact, and the licence plates of fleet vehicles, sub-contractors and any eligible employee vehicles.
  • Business and organizations with government authorizations

    • Work or fleet vehicles used for the primary purpose of conducting approved business with the Government of Alberta or Kananaskis Improvement District qualify for an exemption, provided that accessing public parking areas is required to conduct the work. This will be assessed upon application.
    • Approved business types:
      • Commercial contract holders, including supply, utility, water, construction, and road maintenance contractors
      • Industrial disposition holders
      • Recreation and tourism disposition holders, including commercial and not-for-profit
      • Research and collection permit holders
      • Grazing allotment permit holders
      • Professional outfitters
      • Guiding and instructing permit holders
      • Trapline holder (RFMA)
    • Public parking areas include day-use areas, campgrounds, and roadside. Licence plate scanning for compliance will only occur in public parking areas.
    • There is no need to apply for an exemption for carrying out activities at non-publicly accessible sites where licence plate scanning will not occur.
      • This includes areas that are not available or open to the general public including construction sites, maintenance and utility servicing areas, grazing corrals, timber harvesting staging areas, industrial disposition sites with no public access (for example, well sites), non-public recreation leases (for example, children’s camps, research stations, and the Homestead Shooting Facility at Sibbald Flats) and any areas that have designated staff/contractor parking.
      • Vehicles in these non-public areas do not qualify for an exemption, as their licence plates will not be scanned at these sites.
    • Vehicles of employees and subcontractors are eligible to receive an exemption if their licence plate is collected and provided by the authorization holder and providing those employees are required to park in a public parking area for work purposes, they do not already qualify for an exemption as a resident, and there is not designated staff parking available.
    • Generally, applicants will be asked to provide their business information, authorization type and reference, Government contact, and the licence plates of fleet vehicles, sub-contractors and any eligible employee vehicles, up to a specified number of vehicles.
  • Provincial or municipal employees - commuting fleet vehicles

    • Work/fleet vehicles and employee personal vehicles for commuting to the worksite used for the primary purpose of conducting provincial or municipal work qualify for an exemption, provided that accessing and parking in public areas is required.
    • Public parking areas include day use areas, campgrounds, and roadside. Licence plate scanning for compliance will only occur in public parking areas.
    • There is no need for an exemption for regular duties carried out at non-publicly accessible sites or where employees park within a designated staff parking area where licence plate scanning will not occur.
      • This includes areas that are not available or open to the general public including Kananaskis Emergency Services Centre, staff accommodation and residences, designated staff parking areas, administration and maintenance areas, fire bases, and field visits to industrials sites or other non-public areas.
    • Eligible provincial and municipal vehicles:
      • Government of Alberta fleet vehicles operating in the Kananaskis Conservation Pass area.
      • Personal vehicles of Government of Alberta employees whose place of work requires commuting to and parking in a public parking area with no designated staff parking.
      • Personal vehicles of KID commuting employees and councillors whose place of work requires parking in a public parking area with no designated staff parking.
      • Municipal fleet/work vehicles of emergency services including fire, AHS, EMS, and RCMP.
    • An internal submission process is in development and information about how and when to apply will be shared once available.
  • Volunteer rebates

    • Department volunteers or those who volunteer under a formal partnership agreement (for example, Cooperating Societies) may be eligible for a rebate on an annual pass.
      • This would apply to volunteers after they have performed 40+ hours of service per year or in exceptional volunteer circumstances as authorized by the department.
      • This rebate also applies to co-operating society employees (full-time, paid) whose primary work-site is within the Kananaskis Conservation Pass area, and they are required to park in a public parking area.
    • More information about this rebate will be provided once it is available.
    • If you think you may qualify for a volunteer rebate, please retain your payment receipt. A process to submit for rebates is in development, and information will be shared once available.
  • Not exempt

    The following individuals and groups are not eligible for exemptions, discounts, special rates, or rebates to the Kananaskis Conservation Pass and will need to purchase a pass when parking within the pass area.

    • Visitors, guests, recreationists, clients, and program participants to any business when vehicles are parked in a publicly accessible location; including ski hills, golf courses, lodges, spas, hotels, hostels, guiding, and outfitting
    • Filming and photography, weddings, and special events authorization holders (permits, Temporary Field Authorizations, or Kananaskis Improvement District business licences)
    • Student excursions, environmental education programs, school buses, educational institutions
    • Not-for-profit organizations and clubs, including youth, sports, outdoor recreation clubs/associations
    • New Canadian and settlement service programs, including ‘Canoo’ Pass holders
    • Seniors and veterans
    • Dedicated bench program participants
    • All drivers of rental vehicles unless the vehicle plate has been registered under an exemption
    • Cottage leaseholders when parking anywhere other than on their leased property
    • Private land owners when parking anywhere other than on their private property
    • Visitors, guests, program participants, and recreationists to specialized recreation facilities (for example, William Watson Lodge, Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park, including when ski grooming fees are in effect)
    • Hunting and fishing licence holders
    • Media
    • Elected officials (except Kananaskis Improvement District councillors)
    • Commercial buses and coaches, taxis, ride services
    • Commercial shuttling services authorization holders (permit, Temporary Field Authorizations, or Kananaskis Improvement District business licence)

How fees will be used

Each Kananaskis Conservation Pass helps pay for:

  • Conservation - protecting habitat and reducing wildlife conflicts
  • Public safety - enforcement, search and rescue
  • Services and facilities - trails, day-use areas, recreation facilities, visitor and information centres

How it’s enforced

Starting this fall, licence plates of vehicles parked in the area will be scanned. Owners of non-compliant vehicles may receive a warning or be sent a fine in the mail.

Visitors can purchase their passes online before midnight on the date of their visit, even if their plate has already been scanned that day. Pass receipts should be printed or saved to a mobile device in case proof of purchase is required.

Fines for not purchasing a pass:

  • $150 for personal vehicles (unless exempt)
  • $350 for commercial vehicles

During the first phase of implementation, enforcement efforts focused on educating visitors about the pass. In-person checks were carried out where officers were able to educate visitors or issue warnings as needed.

Contact us

If you have questions about the Kananaskis Conservation Pass, contact:

Alberta Parks Contact Centre
Toll-free: 1-877-537-2757