Named by a Finnish settler after his native town of Vasa in Finland, Wasa is based around the small Wasa Lake. The village features most tourism amenities and is a growing recreational area.
Wasa Lake Provincial Park was established in 1955 to provide recreational access to the warmest swimming lake in the Kootenays. The Wasa area was logged by the railway in the early 1900's and irrigated for years through a ditch and flume system begun in 1915. Later cattle ranching became the agricultural mainstay.
Wasa is located on Highway 93/95 in the Kootenay River Valley, between Skookumchuk and Fort Steele, 38 km (24 mi) northeast of Kimberley and 25 km (16 mi) north of Cranbrook.
A family vacation destination since the 1950's, Wasa Lake village advertises the warmest swimming lake in the Kootenays. Wasa Lake Park offers camping, swimming, hiking, cycling, boating and nature viewing opportunities. There is an 8 kilometre wheelchair and bike accessible trail around the lakeshore and a 2.7 kilometre self-guided interpretation trail.
In addition to being a popular recreation spot, the park protects a representative grassland ecosystem. It includes a portion of North America's most northern ponderosa pine forest set amid blue bunch wheatgrass meadows that provide habitat for a wide diversity of animals and plants.
There is a boat launch located on the east shore of Wasa Lake, across from the campground at Camper's Beach. Canoeing on the lake is allowed, however, keep an eye out for power boats.
Warm waters and 2,000 metres of developed gently sloping beaches provide excellent sunbathing and swimming areas. Change rooms, picnic tables, and washrooms are provided. There are no lifeguards available at the park.
Perch and bass fishing are allowed at Wasa Lake.