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Metro Vancouver stats show COVID prompted record number of people into regional parks

Last Updated Feb 1, 2021 at 9:50 pm PST

Brae Island Regional Park (Courtesy of Metro Vancouver)
Summary

COVID has prompted a lot of us to head outdoors but also stay relatively close to home

Park officials in the region looking at ways to expand our ability to enjoy more of Vancouver's beauty

Tally of the stats shows over 16-million people entered Metro Vancouver Regional Parks last year

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — With travel continuing to be discouraged during this pandemic, it seems many in Metro Vancouver have become more willing to explore the nature that surrounds us.

During the height of COVID in the late summer, finding parking at parks in Metro Vancouver was a daunting challenge and Metro Vancouver Regional Parks Director Mike Redpath is now confirming why.

“It’s been an incredible year,” he says. “In 2020 Metro Vancouver regional parks, all across the region in our 23 municipalities, saw 16 million people visit our parks. That’s almost a 40 per cent increase over our busiest year ever.”

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And with COVID not going anywhere anytime soon, Redpath says their top priority continues to be how to manage the capacity.

“Collaboration with the municipalities in the region is really important. We’re encouraging people to stay close to home,” he said.

Redpath is also encouraging people to check for updates from Metro Vancouver on Twitter.

“We still want people to get outside. We think it’s one of the greatest opportunities to responsibly physically distance and the health benefits are endless.”

Redpath says part of this is doing upgrades again this year to popular trails, like the Grouse Grind and the BCMC trail, while also eyeing the future, including the opening of a new park in northwest Coquitlam — which will be one-and-a-half times the size of Stanley Park — in the next couple of years.