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BC Parks says day pass pilot can be adjusted after system criticized

Last Updated Jul 23, 2020 at 1:44 pm PDT

Joffre Lakes. (iStock Photo)

Some critics say BC Parks day pass system is doomed to fail, could put pressure on SAR teams

BC Parks notes it is a pilot program and can be adjusted depending on feedback

The agency says the use day passes is used by other park systems

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — As critics suggest a day pass pilot program is doomed to fail, BC Parks stands by the intent, saying the system can be adjusted if it isn’t working.

The new system releases passes at 6 a.m., which some critics and backcountry advocates say should be done the night before so people have time to plan their trip, as search as rescue teams recommend.

“While we recognize 6 a.m. will be a tight turnaround for some people, there are technical limitations that restrict us to same day issuance of passes,” BC Parks says in an email.

The agency notes it is a pilot program and will be monitored and evaluated.

“If the feedback we receive is that the reservation times don’t work for a significant number of people, BC Parks will address that concern prior to a full launch of the program.”

RELATED: Free day passes offered for trails in six B.C. parks to control overcrowding 

The intent of the day pass program is to control overcrowding at parks around the province. BC Parks notes there are 868 provincial parks, but popular parks see high numbers of visitors, overcrowding on trails and in facilities, and packed parking lots which could lead to people parking along the highway.

“Managing the number of visitors in popular parks through free day-use passes is intended to help keep parks safe for everyone to enjoy,” the agency says, noting managing day passes is used in other park systems.

RELATED: BC Parks day pass pilot will have domino-like damage on other trails, say critics

“Our mandate as a park agency is to protect and conserve these areas to enable their continued enjoyment for all British Columbians. Unmanaged and growing use has adverse impacts on the very values that make these areas special.”

Limits on park capacity are broken down by BC Parks as follows:

  • 50 (vehicles) for Mount Robson – Berg Lake Trail parking lot;
  • 500 for Cypress – Howe Sound Crest Trail;
  • 300 for Cypress – Hollyburn Mountain trails;
  • 500 for Cypress – Black Mountain Plateau trails;
  • 800 for Mount Seymour – upper mountain trails;
  • 250 for Garibaldi – Diamond Head trailhead;
  • 340 for Garibaldi – Rubble Creek trailhead;
  • 150 for Garibaldi – Cheakamus trailhead;
  • 400 for Stawamus Chief – Chief Peaks Trail;
  • 970 (vehicles) for Golden Ears – South Beach day use parking lot;
  • 100 (vehicles) for Golden Ears – Alouette boat launch parking lot (trailers);
  • 190 (vehicles) for Golden Ears – East/West Canyon parking lot;

Starting July 27, Garibaldi, Stawamus Chief, Seymour, Cypress, Golden Ears and Mt. Robson will be accessible only with a same-day pass registration.

Joffre Lakes, which is the province’s most infamously overcrowded hiking destination, remains closed and is not included in the pilot project.

Watch: Day passes required for six B.C. parks