BC Parks is doing another survey about their day-use pass program.  Please read our concerns before filing out the survey.

BC Parks initiated the Day-Use Pass program in 2020 as part of BC Parks’ response to manage risks and physical distancing requirements associated with COVID-19. In 2020, the Day-Use Pass program applied to selected trails in Cypress, Garibaldi, Mt Seymour, Stawamus Chief, Golden Ears, Joffre and Mt Robson provincial parks, all located in the South-east Region, except the Berg Lake trail in Robson Provincial Park. By 2021, summer day-passes were no longer required at both Cypress and Mt Seymour. By 2022, the Day-Use Pass program was further limited to selected trails and parking lots in Garibaldi, Joffre and Golden Ears provincial parks (Berg Lake trail was closed after sustaining heavy damage in an early summer 2021 storm).

A recent BC Parks’ blog explains the evolution of and the rationale for the day-use pass program:  While excessive crowding on trails may contribute to trail braiding and vegetation trampling, much of the damage to trails in provincial parks in southwestern BC, including many of the popular trails in Mt Seymour, Cypress, Garibaldi, Stawamus Chief and Golden Ears, is due to poor trail design, inadequately built and maintained water bars, lack of or inadequate signage, and absence of regular trail maintenance for more than 25 years. Further, over the past 20 plus years, BC Parks has failed to expand the outdoor recreation opportunities to keep up with the population growth in the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley.

Gates at a provincial park with the new day passes (submitted by Jay MacArthur)

Photo of gate at Mount Seymour in 2020.  Mount Seymour trails were not gated in 2021 or 2022.

Photo of gravel washing away on Howe Sound Crest trail due to poor trail construction with no waterbars and drainage ditches.

Several park management plans, which would outline potential recreation and trail opportunities in parks such as Pinecone Burke, Mt Seymour and Callaghan Lake remain outstanding. With washouts, loss of bridges and infrastructure on popular forest service or resource roads (for example, Ashlu, Downton and Elaho), we continue to lose access to trails, routes and backcountry recreation areas outside of provincial  parks. Without alternate places to go, where is the public supposed to go? We strongly believe that each park restriction should be matched with a new recreation opportunity, whether in a provincial park or on Crown Land outside of provincial parks. We also believe that the Day-Pass program is mostly a response to reduce the staff required to manage overcrowded parking lots.  We understand this need to some extent since some special places shouldn’t be overrun with people.

We encourage club representatives to circulate the survey link to their members and for club members to complete the survey. Even if you did not obtain or were unsuccessful in obtaining a day-pass or declined to use the day-pass program in 2022, we encourage you to complete the survey. Near the end of the survey, you are asked to rate (from strongly disagree to strongly agree) a number of statements, including a statement about whether the day-pass program is a fair way to manage visitor volumes in select BC Parks. You are also given the opportunity to explain why you agree or disagree with the day-pass program and to offer suggestions to improve the day-use program or visitor experiences.

Please fill out the surveyThe deadline for completing the survey is October 31, 2022.