New bridge would provide another access point to Golden Ears Provincial Park. (THE NEWS/files)

B.C. launches free day-use passes for 6 provincial parks amid COVID-19 surge

The pilot is aimed at minimizing overcrowding

Just a day after B.C. officials confirmed they were considering a day-use pass system to help minimize over-crowding at popular provincial parks, the government has announced a pilot program at six of its most popular locations.

“People in B.C. love the outdoors, but some of our most popular parks are experiencing a high number of visitors, resulting in crowded facilities, packed parking lots and safety issues, such as parking along the highway,” Environment Minister George Heyman said in a statement Wednesday (July 22).

“This pilot program acknowledges that frequent park users have an important role to play in protecting these important natural spaces and the species that depend upon them.”

Beginning July 27, people will be able to get a free BC Parks day-use pass and visit certain areas in the six busy parks. The passes can be obtained on the Discover Camping website and will be released daily at 6 a.m. for same-day bookings.

The number of passes available each day depends on the park and ranges from vehicle passes to individual trail passes.

The six parks taking part in the pilot include:

  • Mount Robson Park: Berg Lake Trail
  • Stawamus Chief Park: Chief Peaks Trail
  • Cypress Park: upper mountain trails, including the Howe Sound Crest Trail, Hollyburn Mountain Trails and the Black Mountain Plateau trails
  • Mount Seymour Park: upper mountain trails including the Seymour Main Trail, Dog Mountain Trail and Mystery Lake Trail
  • Garibaldi Park: trailheads at Diamond Head, Rubble Creek and Cheakamus
  • Golden Ears Park: all trails and day-use areas

The pilot program comes as B.C. continues to record a daily increase in new COVID-19 cases.

“We strongly support BC Parks reopening these six popular parks, while working to manage visitation and conserve nature in the places we love,” said Bruce Passmore, executive director of Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society.

“With many people staying home this summer, the demand for outdoor recreation continues to surge, putting more pressure on our park system. We welcome solutions that will help manage overcrowding in certain areas and strengthen our opportunity to protect vital ecosystems.”

Backcountry campers with camping permits won’t be required to reserve a day-use pass, but should carry proof of their camping permit if they are using one of the select trails that require a pass, the province said.

Park operator staff will be checking passes upon arrival. Visitors can download the pass onto their mobile device or print it to show at the park.


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chilliwack Mural Festival comes alive in the downtown core

‘Murals offer a safe way for people to enjoy socially distanced artwork,’ says organizer

Chilliwack museum looking for public feedback on exhibits

Online survey will help drive three-year plan for future exhibit possibilities

Mission man who nearly died from COVID-19 at Abbotsford hospital reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Lavender hand sanitizer sale raises cash for Fraser Valley Health Care Foundation

Golf course and lavender farm partner up to support health care in the Fraser Valley

Donations of fresh produce sought from Chilliwack backyard gardeners

Hamper program from Chilliwack Citizens for Change to serve those with special dietary needs

578 British Columbians currently infected with COVID-19

Seventy-eight new cases confirmed in past 24 hours

Conservation seizes fawn illegally kept captive in Vancouver Island home

A Comox Valley resident charged and fined under the Wildlife Act

Pandemic could be driving more parents to get on board with flu shot: study

University of B.C. study gauges willingness for parents to vaccinate children for influenza

Watchdog clears Okanagan RCMP in death of man after arrest over alleged stolen pizzas

The man died in hospital after having difficulty breathing and broken ribs

35,000 doses of fentanyl part of huge Maple Ridge bust

Largest seizure in RCMP detachment’s history included submachine gun, body armour

Have you seen Berleen? B.C. pig destined for sanctuary goes missing

Berleen was less than two weeks from travelling to Manitoba when she vanished

Health Canada says several kids hospitalized after eating edible pot products

People warned not to store cannabis products where children can find them

‘It’s not just about me’: McKenna cites need to protect politicians from threats

Police investigation was launched after someone yelled obscenities at a member of McKenna’s staff

Michigan plans dedicated road lanes for autonomous vehicles

First study of its kind in the U.S. to figure out whether existing lanes or shoulders could be used

Most Read