Some Chilliwack residents who enjoy climbing Teapot Hill in Cultus Lake Provincial Park have been asking why all the teapots are being removed.
The topic exploded on a local Facebook page recently, with several posters lamenting what they perceive to be a recent phenomenon of disappearing teapots.
But people leaving teapots on Teapot Hill is actually a relatively new phenomenon, said Rob Wilson, area supervisor for BC Parks and Protected Areas in the South Fraser area.
The area was logged around 1940, and they built what was known as Road 918, now the Cultus Lake Horse Trail, and the trail that leads up to Teapot Hill.
During road construction, an equipment operator walked over to the hill and found a single teapot.
"That's how Teapot Hill got its name," Wilson told The Progress.
About four years ago, some park users started placing teapots in various spots on Teapot Hill, like on rocks or in trees. Some like to seek them out every time they come.
But the contractor who maintains Cultus Lake Provincial Park has been removing the teapots, upon the request of park management.
The reasons are threefold.
"One reason is that some of the teapots have been broken, for whatever reason, and the porcelain shards pose a cutting hazard, for people and dogs in particular," Wilson said.
It's like broken glass.
"So it's a public safety issue."
Another reason is environmental.
Unfortunately, there are new trails in the park being created by people who are either hiding teapots or climbing trees to do so.
"It's about the potential for damage to the natural environment in the park," he said.
Plus there's a rare orchid colony in the immediate area.
"The rare plants could also be decimated by the trampling effects of people walking off-trail," said the park official.
For those reasons, the contractor periodically removes the teapots.
About 30 teapots were counted last time they were collected and removed.
"I don't think they're all gone, but the effort will continue."
For anyone frustrated by removal, he said, they can keep in mind the 'pack it in, pack it out' strategy suggested for park visitors.
Another good one is "Leave no trace, take only pictures," he said.
"That's the philosophy we've used for many years in BC parks, which favours leaving the park environment as natural as possible."