The free BC Parks day-use pass program will continue in three popular provincial parks this summer to maintain a balance between growing numbers of visitors and conserving the natural environment.
Beginning June 17, 2022, people accessing Golden Ears Park, Joffre Lakes Park and three trailheads at Garibaldi Park during peak hours will need to obtain a free day-use pass.
The passes will be available online and can be reserved at 7 a.m., two days prior to the planned visit: https://bcparks.ca/reserve/day-use/
People will be able to cancel a pass if they don’t intend to use it.
“Some of our most popular parks continue to experience more visitors than ever who are connecting with nature and enjoying the health benefits from outdoor recreation,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Overuse has become a growing challenge in these three parks. We need to ensure that, above all, we are protecting what makes these parks special through sustainable recreation.”
People visiting Golden Ears Park and three trailheads at Garibaldi Park (the Diamond Head, Rubble Creek and Cheakamus access points) require vehicle passes, while each person visiting Joffre Lakes Park requires an individual trail pass. The free passes are required during peak hours and will be checked by Discover Parks ambassadors. BC Parks is partnering with the BC Parks Foundation to provide more than 30 full-time ambassadors to welcome visitors and provide information about safe and responsible recreation.
“We are pleased to see ongoing improvements to the day-use pass program and welcome solutions that aim to manage increased visitation in a way that respects and protects nature in some of B.C.’s most beautiful places,” said Sandra Riches, executive director, BC AdventureSmart. “Having park ambassadors greet people and talk about responsible recreation also helps ensure everyone can enjoy a safer experience when exploring these three parks. Before heading outdoors, we encourage everyone to be prepared and follow our BC AdventureSmart 3Ts: trip planning, training and taking essentials.”
Managing high numbers of visitors through day-use passes is common in many other provincial park systems.
“We are all looking forward to another season of exploring B.C. parks,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment. “We continue to make improvements to the program, which has proven to be an effective tool to reduce the impact on the natural environment and provide a more enjoyable visitor experience by preventing congested parking lots, roads and trails.”
Although these provincial parks are large in land size, most of the recreation occurs on developed trails and trailheads that get highly congested. An unmanaged increase in visitors can result in trail damage and vegetation trampling, wildlife displacement and impacts to Indigenous cultural values. Parking is also challenging in these parks.
During the next three years, BC Parks is investing $21.5 million to expand and enhance opportunities for outdoor recreation, including adding new campsites and trails and upgrading facilities. The investment is part of an $83-million budget increase to the BC Parks operating and capital budgets to strengthen management of the parks system and provide a more enjoyable visitor experience.
For more information about the day-use pass program, visit http://www.bcparks.ca/reserve/day-use/
For more information about BC Parks, visit https://bcparks.ca/