The hot dry weather has forced the Cultus Lake Park Board to take precautionary steps in advance of the B.C. Day long weekend.
Effective immediately, the Cultus Lake Park trail system is closed and there is a ban on all fires, barbecues and the use of gas-fuelled cooking appliances in public areas.
Fire Chief Warren Mazuren said he made the recommendation because of the “extreme weather conditions” the park is experiencing.
Cultus Lake Park Board chair Joe Lamb said the move was necessary with extremely dry conditions and a long weekend that brings an increase in visitors to the area.
“Any decisions we can make to keep the fire risk low – including closing the trails – have been thoroughly considered and the decision was made with the safety of our community in mind,” Lamb said.
As of 3 p.m. Friday, entrances to the Cultus Lake Park trail system will be barricaded and roped off. The areas to be closed include access to the trailhead off Lakeshore Drive to Parmenter Road, the trail access off 44 Lakeshore Drive, all trailhead accesses off Sunnyside Boulevard into the forested area, the trail access behind Funland, and the trail access off the end of Mountain View Road.
In addition, the large walkway access at the end of Park Drive that leads to Columbia Valley Highway will be closed as well.
“Looking at the long term forecast, I recommend closing the trails immediately to reduce any fire risk in the park,” Mazuren said.
The barbecue and fire ban, meanwhile, does not affect the residential lots, or the designated camping sites at Sunnyside Campground.
Areas affected are all public areas including Main Beach; Birch Street Park; Oak Street Park; Westside public areas; Parking Lots A, B, C and D; Cultus Lake Park Foreshore; Trails; and the Sunnyside Campground beach area.
“Cultus Lake Park is a very popular place to visit, and the number of visitors increases substantially over long weekends in the summer,” Lamb said. “Cultus Lake Park is extremely dry right now, and any decisions we can make to keep the fire risk low are sound ones. The safety of our community is paramount.”