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

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

Bella Coola’s new WildSafeBC co-ordinator, Rae Kokeš, has spent the last 10 years in Africa working in lion, human, conflict, and is a wildlife biologist by trade. (Photo submitted)
From the savannas of Africa to the Bella Coola Valley

New Wildsafe BC coordinator ready to tackle wildlife conflict

Bella Coola Valley Ridge Riders Horse Club board member Annika Granander watches, and participates in the gymkhana Sunday (Photo submitted)
Sunshine and smiles all around Bella Coola Ridge Riders Horse Club gymkhana

The event was the first of the year, with COVID-19 safety precautions in place

A build up of lint in a clothes dryer is believed to have caused a house fire in Alexis Creek Sunday evening, April 4, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Clothing dryer suspected cause of Alexis Creek home fire, owner wants to warn others

Neil Miller is thankful he still has his horses, community support and his life

This will be the second year the Bella Coola Valley Rodeo won’t take place due to the pandemic. (Michael Wigle file photo)
Bella Coola Valley Rodeo cancelled for 2021

Club organizers say next year’s rodeo will be bigger and better than ever

Jose Marchand prepares Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination doses at a mobile clinic for members of First Nations and their partners, in Montreal, Friday, April 30, 2021. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization is coming under fire after contradicting the advice Canadians have been receiving for weeks to take the first vaccine against COVID-19 that they’re offered. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Trudeau says he is glad he got AstraZeneca, vaccines are only way out of pandemic

‘The most important thing is to get vaccinated with the first vaccine offered to you’

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Most Read