Protection for the Snail
In order to reduce the level of human-caused threats, it is illegal, under a Park Superintendent’s Order, to swim in or touch any of the thermal spring water where Banff Spring Snails live. This includes all the thermal spring water at the Cave and Basin National Historic Site uphill of the multi-use trail that bisects the Marsh Boardwalk downhill of the buildings. Under both the National Parks Act and the Species at Risk Act, it also is illegal to harm, kill, or collect any of the snails or their eggs or destroy any of the Critical Habitat of the snail. Fines for illegal swimming imposed under the National Parks Act have ranged up to $1000 per person for an incident in the Basin Spring pool in February 1999. Under the Species at Risk Act, fines can range up to $50,000 and one year in jail for each snail killed or harmed. Punishment is more severe for subsequent offences or if a corporation is responsible for the offence and for indictable offences.
Several of the springs where Banff Spring Snails live also are off-limits to the general public. These springs include the Kidney Spring, near the Upper Hot Spring and Rimrock Hotel, and the Middle Springs within the Middle Springs Wildlife Corridor.
Anyone who enters these closed areas will trigger the alarms, be caught, and be charged.