BC Parks released plans for day-use passes in some parks again this year.

Our first impression is that they listened to us in part since they removed the pilot project from Cypress and Seymour parks. However, by reinstating the pilot project they have not explained why the program is actually required. Our best guess is that the park employees don’t want to deal with the parking chaos (mostly on weekends) at certain trailheads where there are barely enough parking spaces for the number of overnight backcountry users.

One improvement from last year is that passes will be reservable at 7 am the day before your planned trip.

We are disappointed that they have not announced any plans to resolve the issues at any of the parks. For instance, at Diamond Head, Garibaldi Lake and Cheakamus Lake trailheads the current parking lots narrowly handle the number of overnight backcountry users – there is little space for day users. In limiting the number of day users, hikers may be compelled to choose other trails outside of BC Parks that are not built to the same standards and can’t handle the increased usage.

Kudos to BC Parks

Thanks for providing the results from the survey in a transparent way. The report clearly showed where the public had concerns about the pilot program last year, and the way that BC Parks have changed the program to meet some of those concerns. We do take issue with the wording of some survey questions that was biased towards the result they wanted.


We have asked BC Parks for supporting documents in the past but have only received an incomplete rationale document from 2020 with little real detail other than saying that some pass numbers were based on the number of parking spaces and on trails: a percentage of the maximum counts from 2019. Jay MacArthur, the acting chair for the FMCBC Trails Committee met with BC Parks on June 15th and got some answers from BC Parks:

  • How many day passes will be allocated to each park or trailhead? Is that different than last year? How was that carrying capacity determined?
  • BC Parks said some of this information would be added to their website in the next week. BC Parks has now supplied us with some information that I will include below.
  • How much does the day pass system cost? Where does the money to pay for it come from what part of the budget? (Previously they’ve told us that the budget for trail maintenance and backcountry facilities is 1-2 million. If the day pass system cost 900k last year and will cost a similar amount this year, that’s a ton of money that could have been added to the trail maintenance budget)
  • BC Parks told us no t t o worry about the budget since they got some special extra funding for the pilot program. BC Parks clarified this wording to: The funding for the day pass system comes from government contingency funding related to COVID and does not impact the base budget of BC Parks. As contingency funding, the money is also not available to be deployed for any other purpose.
  • BC Parks said that they are working on a budget for trail improvements in 2021-2023. Here is a clarification from BC Parks: BC Parks received a budget uplift of $83M which includes funding for trail improvements over the next three years. We are still working on our plans for how this will be allocated, although we anticipate being able to invest in some trail work this fiscal, targeting high use trails where we can.
  • Comment from Jay: Unfortunately, due to budget constraints after the election money will not be available until about August when it will be difficult to hire contractors or staff for this year.
  • In what ways is this a pilot program? It seems that they are calling it a pilot because they want to make it permanent but are using this year to work out the kinks. Do they have a plan where day passes will not be required?
  • BC Parks thinks that Visitor Use Management strategies will continue to be required at some parks. They are trying to determine the best approach for each park. They think this will be a multi-year process to work on plans for each park.
  • Clarification fro m BC Parks: We are using the day pass pilot as an opportunity to evaluate the day pass and visitor capacities as a tool for managing day use in high use parks and are taking a continuous improvement approach so we can learn from this pilot to improve and adapt our visitor management strategies.
  • Did BC Parks work with or consult Sites and Trails BC about the impact of the day use system on other trails?
  • Recreation Sites and Trails BC doesn’t have the best trail counter information for many trails. BC Parks said that they couldn’t get any detailed information about the effect of park closures and day-passes on trails managed by RSTBC.
  • Wording from BC Parks: We are using the day pass pilot as an opportunity to evaluate the day pass and visitor capacities as a tool for managing day use in high use parks, and are taking a continuous improvement approach so we can learn from this pilot to improve and adapt our visitor management strategies.

Next steps:

We need our members and trail users to provide feedback on the pilot program in 2021.

Capacity Details for Each Park

Park Location 2021 Pass Quantity 2020 Pass


Golden Ears Boat Launch –All Day – Vehicle 100 70
  Gold Creek Parking – AM Pass – Vehicle 110 na
  Gold Creek Parking – PM Pass – Vehicle 60 na
  West Canyon Trail – AM Pass – Vehicle 55 80
  West Canyon Trail – PM Pass – Vehicle 30 30
  Alouette Lake (South Beach) – AM Pass – Vehicle 790 750
  Alouette Lake (South Beach) – PM Pass – Vehicle 285 250
Joffre Lakes Joffre – All Day – Person 1053  
Stawamus Chief Backside Trail – AM – Person 429 200
  Backside Trail – PM – Person 429 200
Garibaldi Diamond Head – All day – Vehicle 44 250 people
  Rubble Creek – All day – Vehicle 220 340 people
  Cheakamus – AM Pass – Vehicle 49 150 people
  Cheakamus – PM Pass – Vehicle 39  
Berg Lake Berg Lake Trail – AM Pass – Vehicle 35 25
  Berg Lake Trail – PM Pass – Vehicle 35 25