It’s been roughly three weeks since Yannick Bastien was supposed to return from his canoe trip near Banff.
The 26-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., took his canoe and a tent to Lake Minnewanka on Sept. 21. When he didn’t show up to work on Sept. 23, his family began to worry.
RCMP in Banff took the lead on the investigation not too long after police found Bastien’s canoe, tent, backpack and shoes along the south shore of the lake.
Ever since that weekend, his family hasn’t stopped searching.
“On average, we’ve been having about 20 to 25 hikers a day,” said Mackenzie Burdek, Bastien’s friend, on Sunday. “Our largest number was approximately 50 hikers and that was on Saturday, Sept. 28.”
Burdek said family and friends aren’t the only ones who have shown up to help look for Bastien. Strangers who saw the missing post on the Hike Alberta Facebook page have shown up to provide assistance as well.
Collectively, the group has searched every possible shoreline around the lake.
“We’ve done everything on the north side of the lake… up towards the Wardens Cabin,” Burdek said. “Today, we’re searching from the Wardens Cabin towards Ghost Lake.”
The group has also searched around Two Jack Lake and the surrounding area.
Friends and family said they have exhausted all options from ground to helicopter searches, even bringing in a specialized sonar team from the U.S. when there was a possible lead.
Now the family hopes to be able to move on to more advanced technology, but friends said their search funds are running low. They have created a GoFundMe page to help finance tools to aid in the search.
The family is asking anyone who may have information on Bastien’s whereabouts to contact RCMP.