Water supply protection

Rainbow Lake and 21 Mile Creek supply between 38 and 53 per cent of Whistler’s water.

Several hiking trails in Whistler’s Alpine Trail Network pass through this area, known as the 21 Mile Creek Watershed. These include the trails to Rainbow, Hanging and Beverly Lakes.

The 21 Mile Creek Watershed: Source Water Protection Plan provides recommendations for the long-term sustainability of this critically important surface water resource.

The two largest risks to this water course are recreational activities and wildfires.

Measures that have been taken to protect it include:

  • Installation of Municipal Water Supply Area informational signage
  • Construction of a boardwalk and low fencing at Rainbow Lake to restrict human access and protect the shoreline
  • Construction of a new outhouse at Rainbow Lake and an improved outhouse part way along the Rainbow Lake Trail
  • Improvements to the trail to Rainbow Lake
  • Improvements at the Hanging Lake campsite located outside of the water supply area, including a new outhouse to encourage camping outside of the Municipal Water Supply Area
  • Continuation of the Alpine Trail Ranger program for monitoring, enforcement and education
  • An annual observation hike with Vancouver Coastal Health, the municipal water authority 

Additional trail construction approvals within the Municipal Water Supply Area are on hold while the trails’ use and impacts to water supply area are monitored in accordance with the RMOW’s 21 Mile Creek Source Water Protection Plan.

Protect Whistler’s water supply

Follow these tips in the 21 Mile Creek Watershed to help protect Whistler’s precious surface water supply:

  • Respect signage and restrictions in the Municipal Water Supply Area.
  • Only hiking and backcountry skiing are permitted in the 21 Mile Creek watershed.
  • Dogs, bikes and snowmobiles are prohibited.
  • Do not fish, camp or defecate in the watershed.