Parking poses problems at Bonshaw Provincial Park

Too many vehicles parking in the main lot of the new Bonshaw Provincial Park is raising safety concerns.

'We just, I think, have to be a bit cautious that we don't love the park to death'

People parking along the Trans-Canada Highway at the Bonshaw Provincial Park. (Donna Allen/CBC)

Hikers, bikers and trail runners may be loving the warm fall weather at the Bonshaw Provincial Park but too many vehicles parked in the area around the highway are posing a problem, officials say.

On busy days when the main parking lot is full, people have started parking vehicles on the grass and along the Trans-Canada Highway.

"When you're getting that capacity of people in the park it's fantastic to see in some ways, in terms of active living and outdoor living, we just, I think, have to be a bit cautious that we don't love the park to death," said Megan Harris, co-chair of the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee.

New map released

The new, expanded park has more than 20 kilometres of hiking and mountain bike trails that can be used year-round by the public.

This new parking lot was added to take the pressure off the main parking area. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

A new parking area off Riverdale Road with 50 spaces was even added this summer to take the load off the main parking area.

"Personally, that area at the back of the park, the northern area of park, is the most beautiful area of the park because it's the oldest forest," Harris pointed out. 

The committee thinks people may not know about the additional spaces yet, which is why it's released a map to show the public where to park.

Parking has been tight at the new provincial park says Megan Harris, co-chair of the Bonshaw Hills Public Lands Committee. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"That shows some of the other areas where people can park, particularly those that are walking the trails or biking the trails and not using the playground … that they could use and alleviate some of that parking pressure at the Bonshaw Hills parking lot," Harris said.

Bonshaw trails and parking map. (Submitted by Island Nature Trust)

It's hard to determine an exact number of park users on a given day, Harris noted. She plans to work with the province to get a better sense of park use.

With files from Brian Higgins