The primary role of Pilot Bay Provincial Park is to provide visitors and the local community marine destination recreational opportunities, with upland day use
and boat or walk – in camping adjacent to the confluence of the north and south arms of Kootenay Lake.
Pilot Bay Provincial Park is an integral part of the visitor experience and appreciation of the lake, offering not only one of the few safe natural harbors for boat moorage, but also an unprecedented opportunity to enjoy and understand the area’s rich cultural heritage and natural features.
a variety of hiking trails along the upland and beach areas create additional opportunities to experience the park’s pristine lakefront setting. Those wishing to camp in the park will enjoy the Sawmill Cove camping area featuring several tenting sites, picnic tables, pit toilets and animal proof bins to store food.
The secondary role of the park is to protect a variety of endangered flora situated amongst distinctive karst formations. Karst formations are recognized as a highly valuable, non-renewable resource that can be especially vulnerable to disturbance, more so than many other land resources. The intricate relationship between karst’s unique surface characteristics and hydrology make for a delicately balanced system. In addition, carbonate rock often supports a a variety of rare plant species and Pilot Bay Provincial Park is no exception.
One of the highest known occurrences within the province of the giant helleborine orchid is found within the park. This red-listed plant’s dependency on a calcareous water supply is paramount and land use (logging, road building) adjacent to Pilot Bay Provincial Park has a high potential to disturb the natural hydrology in the area.
Two other flora at risk have been recorded in the park; marsh muhly, a blue-listed species, and prairie wedge grass, a red-listed species. These plant species also rely on a complex hydrological balance associated with the calcareous -rich watersupply. Trampling, spreading of non-native plants, and habitat loss because of fluctuating water levels related to dam control on Kootenay Lake, are further compounding threats to the species. It’s important to stay on the trails.
The important conservation role of Pilot Bay Provincial Park is strengthened by the presence of a rookery within the park for the endangered great blue heron (blue listed). This colony, one of nine within the interior of the province, provides a vital nesting and staging habitat for up to 10 nesting pairs. These sites are highly sensitive to human disturbance and disruption within the rookery can lower reproductive rates. By placing a high emphasis on protecting the known rare and endangered species/ecosystems in the park, by default it also provides an opportunity to maintain critical winter range for ungulates. Pilot Bay Provincial Park supports healthy populations of both mule deer and blacktail deer.