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

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election.
Ross presumptive Skeena winner in snap B.C. election

Election outcome will not be official until mail-in ballots are counted

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Tyrell Giroux was arrested by Williams Lake RCMP on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Facebook video screenshot)
Tsilhqot’in leaders call for suspension of officers seen in controversial Williams Lake arrest

Disturbing video demands an immediate, independent investigation, says TNG

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

Most Read