British Columbia

Free day passes to be required at some popular B.C. parks and trails

B.C. Parks said the passes are part of a pilot program, starting Monday, that will test their usefulness as a crowd management tool.

Pilot program, starting Monday, will test whether free passes can be used to manage crowds at parks

All trails and day-use areas in Golden Ears Park will require a free day pass as of Monday. (CBC)

Several provincial parks popular with trail walkers and hikers will require entry passes as of Monday.

B.C. Parks said the passes will be required for trails at six parks where crowds are damaging trails and visitors are challenged when it comes to physical distancing.

"People in B.C. love the outdoors, but some of our most popular parks are experiencing a high number of visitors, resulting in crowded facilities, packed parking lots and safety issues, such as parking along the highway," Environment Minister George Heyman said in a statement.

The passes are free and available online, B.C. Parks said. They will be required for the following parks and trails:

  • Mount Robson Park: Berg Lake Trail.
  • Stawamus Chief Park: Chief Peaks Trail.
  • Cypress Park: upper mountain trails, including the Howe Sound Crest Trail, Hollyburn Mountain Trails and the Black Mountain Plateau trails.
  • Mount Seymour Park: upper mountain trails including the Seymour Main Trail, Dog Mountain Trail and Mystery Lake Trail.
  • Garibaldi Park: trailheads at Diamond Head, Rubble Creek and Cheakamus.
  • Golden Ears Park: all trails and day-use areas.

B.C.'s provincial parks were closed April 8 as a pandemic response measure but most have now reopened. A few, like Stawamus Chief or Garibaldi parks, remain partially or fully closed.

B.C. Parks said the free day passes are part of a pilot program to test their usefulness as a crowd management tool. 

It's also released a list of limits on people or cars as part of the crowd management strategy.

  • 50 (vehicles) for Mount Robson - Berg Lake Trail parking lot.
  • 500 for Cypress – Howe Sound Crest Trail.
  • 300 for Cypress – Hollyburn Mountain trails.
  • 500 for Cypress – Black Mountain Plateau trails.
  • 800 for Mount Seymour – upper mountain trails.
  • 250 for Garibaldi-Diamond Head trailhead.
  • 340 for Garibaldi – Rubble Creek trailhead.
  • 150 for Garibaldi – Cheakamus trailhead.
  • 400 for Stawamus Chief – Chief Peaks Trail. 
  • 970 (vehicles) for Golden Ears – South Beach day use parking lot.
  • 100 (vehicles) for Golden Ears –  Alouette boat launch parking lot (trailers).
  • 190 (vehicles) for Golden Ears –  East/West Canyon parking lot.
A view of Vancouver from Mt. Seymour. Several trails at Mount Seymour Provincial Park will require entry passes as of Monday. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

Park operators will be checking for passes at the specified areas. Passes can be printed or displayed on visitors' phones.

Some parks have become notorious for parking issues in recent years and B.C. Parks said overuse of some trails is leading to problems like soil erosion and damaged vegetation.

The passes will be released daily at 6 a.m. on the Discover Camping website.

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