Nestled between the rugged peaks of the Purcell Mountains in the west and the Rocky Mountains in the east, and just 3 km from the crossroads where the Invermere access road meets Highway 93/95, James Chabot Provincial Park is a tiny oasis of green at the northern tip of Lake Windermere.
The park is located in an area now known as Athalmer, which along with the northern end of the lake, contained first nation settlements in the pre-colonial period. These settlements were frequented during salmon runs in the Columbia River salmon beds (called Kwataqnuk, meaning ‘where the water leaves the lake’). These salmon beds are now gone, due to the damming of the lower reaches of the river.
Just 14 hectares in size, this little park offers a wealth of recreation for the family. A broad sandy beach rims the shore of the lake for great swimming and water play. There is an adventure playground and volleyball court in the open grassy play area, providing hours of fun for every member of the family. There are clean, wheel-chair accessible washrooms, change rooms and cold running water, as well as picnic tables. There is also plenty of RV-accessible parking.
The large, open lake is popular for more than swimming, though. Boating, water skiing, tubing, canoeing, fishing, kayaking and windsurfing are enjoyed by many. The adjacent Columbia wetland is a great place for paddling, bird and wildlife watching and photographing. In the park the short, 350m wheelchair-accessible Dragonfly Boardwalk is an interpretive pathway which takes the visitor very close to the wetland marsh. There are information signs placed along the trail, explaining the wetland habitat and wildlife.
So, pack up the kids, the towels and plenty of sunscreen and plan to make some great family memories at James Chabot Provincial Park.