Kootenay National Park

Mountain Pine Beetle Initiative graphic

Forest created by beetle: the southern portion of Kootenay National Park

 Blow up Kootenay section of the mountain parks map, indicating the Spar Mountain, the Mitchell Ridge area and the Kootenay Valley.


Kootenay quick beetle facts

  • There have been two known major outbreaks in the last century.
  • Kootenay National Park beetle populations fluctuate similarly to populations outside park boundaries.

Mountain pine beetle is not a new sight around Kootenay National Park. In the southern part of this park, beetles have helped create the forests we see today. There have been two major outbreaks in Kootenay, first between 1930 and 1945, and then from 1981 to present. The current outbreak is still ongoing, with concentrations of beetles located on Spar Mountain, the south end of the Mitchell Ridge adjacent to the BC boundary, and scattered through the Kootenay Valley.

Beetles and fire in the Vermilion drainage

The Vermilion River Drainage – a drainage predominately of spruce – was able to sustain a minor mountain pine beetle outbreak in the mid 90’s due to small pockets of pine. The beetle outbreak was static, if not decreasing when the fires of 2003 removed the majority of good mountain pine beetle habitat in the drainage. Scattered spots of less than five trees remain in a few areas. These fires contributed to the rate of decline of this beetle population.

Fires burns in the forests of Kootenay National Park’s Vermilion River area during the fires of 2003. Kootenay National Park’s Vermilion River area during the fires of 2003.
© Parks Canada / Brad White

Fire and Disturbance Ecology

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What is a hectare?
1 hectare = 100 metres x 100 metres
1 hectare = 2.47 acres
1 hectare = approximately 2 football fields (side by side)
100 hectares = 1 square kilometre



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