Elfin Lake hutPurpose

This policy has been created to provide direction on when and where roofed accommodation including huts, cabins or lodges could be built within BC Parks. Historically, building projects in parks have gone through inconsistent review processes. The FMCBC would like to encourage the Ministry responsible for BC Parks to do systematic studies before any proposal is presented to the public for review.


Huts are usually smaller structures that sleep less than 50 people in dormitory style rooms. In Europe, huts provide accommodation for up to about 100 people.

Cabins are usually privately owned or associated with commercial enterprises.

Commercial lodges usually provide a variety of accommodations, food and other services.

More examples and photographs of different types of structures are included here.


The FMCBC recommends that the over-riding principle for BC Parks should be to protect ecological integrity and conservation of biodiversity. BC Parks has always tried to keep a balance between recreation and conservation. The emphasis on non-motorized access and protection of wilderness in provincial parks should be maintained. Our members support the policy that commercial development should occur outside of parks and within front-country zones close to communities.

The park master planning process is an important tool to discuss any changes to proposed zones in provincial parks. A transparent and inclusive park management planning process is essential for public acceptance of government decisions.

Recommended Policies

The following is a list of recommendations that the FMCBC has developed for roofed accommodation within BC Parks and includes the implications and rationale for each of these recommendations.

Recommended Policy

Implications and Rationale

1.  Huts, cabins and lodges should first be considered for areas outside of park boundaries, closer to communities and only if the accommodation is ecologically and socially appropriate. Facilities located outside of parks and near gateway communities can better benefit local communities and have less impact on parks ecological integrity.
2.  The FMCBC recommends that new commercial cabins and lodges should not be constructed within provincial parks. No new commercial accommodation should be permitted in any provincial park. Existing commercial accommodations should be allowed to continue but not allowed to expand. Public land in parks is intended to conserve ecological integrity.   Building commercial lodges does not align with that goal.
3.  New roofed accommodations should be oriented to modest, affordable, huts. The size and scale of accommodation facilities should be oriented towards low impact use by the general public and not that of exclusive tour groups and high yield clientele.
4.  New huts within parks should only be considered for those parks that have Park Management Plans in place. Park Management Plans need to be developed and reviewed with the public before any new facilities should be considered.
5.  Any new huts within a provincial park must be consistent with that park’s Management Plan. Huts should not be built in wilderness conservation zones. The FMCBC will actively participate in the development of Park Management Plans for parks where our members have an interest and knowledge.
6.  The evaluation of proposals for new huts must be a fair, open and transparent process.   Stakeholders such as the FMCBC must be given reasonable opportunities to comment on all proposals. Proposals for new huts will ultimately be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. However a clear provincial policy for the review of proposals should be developed.
7.  The development and management of such huts should be done either by government or non-profit clubs and community organizations. Reasonable access in parks is accommodated while not increasing the commercialization of park assets.
8.  New huts should not be built within 50 metres of lakes. In the past many huts, cabins and lodges have been constructed very close to lakes. This impinges on the natural beauty and esthetics.
9.  Huts should only be considered for the purpose of resolving existing environmental issues in areas with high use or where safety considerations require structures. An example of a safety structure would be the warming hut at Red Heather Meadows in Garibaldi Provincial Park.
10.  Any proposal for a hut must include a specific plan for the on-going maintenance and operation of the structure. This shall include a financial plan for funding the maintenance work including the funding of periodic major repairs. We must avoid the situation where a club builds a hut and then abandons it or does not maintain it properly.   One of the following scenarios are most likely to occur:Clubs commit to long-term maintenance of huts for which a higher fee (e.g., $15-$25 per night) can be charged. That fee will fund maintenance work.BC Parks will have to commit to maintaining the more basic structures that include minimal or no fees. This most likely will only include stand-alone outhouses (at campsites) and very basic lean-tos.
11.  New huts may be locked (or be staffed by a custodian) with access provided only to people with prior reservations. Clubs may build huts that restrict access to people who have made prior reservations.   Reservations must be available to club members and non-members.   There may be a difference in member and non-member fee rates. However the difference must be relatively small so that it is not perceived to be a barrier to usage by non-members.
12.  The reservation process must be transparent so that any priority given to specific groups can be seen to be fair. A limited percentage of accommodation can be provided for commercial groups which should not dominate the accommodation.   Accommodation must be available, at reasonable cost, to the general public. See above
13.  Any new hut should include an unlocked and basic covered emergency area to provide shelter for parties in difficulty requiring unexpected shelter. Perhaps the entrance or boot room could be unlocked.
14.  Access by facility users must be consistent with Park Management Plans For example, no motorized access to huts should be permitted in areas designated as non-motorized. (Fly-in access for maintenance work will be required for all huts, even those in non-motorized areas.)
15.  Hut system considerations: The planning for a new hut should be done in the context of the overall area. In some cases a system of two or more huts will be better than a single, larger hut.
16.  The planning for and design of new huts should take into account the points included in following sub-sections.16-1. Site planning and design for huts must consider full environmental and social impacts (including but not limited to impacts to watersheds) before development is approved.16-2. Net environmental impact: There must be a net environmental benefit to the area. I.e., the facility must solve more or greater environmental problems than it creates.16-3. Future removal: The design should consider the long-term impact to the site if the structure were to be removed at some point in the future.16-4. Trails leading to facilities: The possible initial building, maintenance and possible upgrading of access trails must be considered in the plans for any new hut. New accommodation facilities need to be well planned, taking into account several considerations. Full social and environmental impact assessments will need to be completed prior to facility approval.

For more information, please contact

This policy is part of a series of positions developed by the FMCBC to guide and inform on a variety of topics related to the interests of its members.

Click here to download a PDF version of the FMCBC’s Policy on Huts, Cabins and Lodges in BC Provincial Parks

Policy updated August 2, 2015