Cypress trip - ScottW

Backcountry skiers at Cypress

Although not such an issue this year with the lack of snow on the south coast, our Recreation and Conservation Committee sent in a letter today to Vicki Haberl, BC Parks Planning Section Head for the South Coast Region, in response to BC Parks’ Discussion Paper on Parking Capacity as it relates to the private ski hill operations in Mt Seymour and Cypress Provincial Parks. The parking capacity situation for these two ski hills is complex.  For most days it’s not really a problem, but on the 20-30 peak days per season a lack of parking capacity for ski hill clients can pose a big issue for the ski hill operators and could impact whether or not these two skill hills are going to remain viable.

Why has this become such a problem over the past few years?  One of the big reasons is the growing number of snowshoers using the parks.  The ski hill operators promoted snowshoeing as a great activity (which it is), but there are free snowshoe trails within these two parks which are within easy access of the parking lots.  It’s great to see the increase in participation in this non-motorized sport, but it has caused a significant capacity issue for the ski hill operators at Cypress and Mt Seymour on peak days.

Mt Seymour's Parking Map

Map of Mt Seymour parking designations

Since 2012 we’ve been involved in meetings and discussions with BC Parks and the ski hill operators revolving around how best to accommodate parking for the commercial ski hill clients while still maintaining park access for public users.  BC Parks’ Discussion Paper poses several possible solutions and considerations relating to each.  Our letter, which relates mainly to the situation at Mt Seymour, provides our perspective on a few of the ideas suggested in the Paper and how we feel these would directly affect access for the general public if implemented.

Our main concerns:

  • – Safe, free winter access to these provincial parks for the general public be maintained.
  • – If additional parking is added that it is done so in a way that does not remove upper elevation park area and detract from the parks’ natural assets.
  • – The costs to expand parking capacity be paid for mainly by the ski area operators and not by BC Parks.