Joffre Lakes Provincial Park.. (Black Press Media files)

BC Parks considering a day-use pass system for popular locations to avoid overcrowding

Although some parks have reopened, B.C.’s busiest parks have remained shut

The province is considering bringing in a free pass system for day-use of popular BC Parks to reduce crowding and maintain physical distancing.

In an email Monday (July 20), BC Parks said “the most popular parks pose some unique challenges” as it reopens areas around the province. Many BC Parks reopened for day-use on May 14, and others on June 1, but some of the busier ones, including Garibaldi, Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park and Joffre Lakes remain shut.

READ MORE: Selected B.C. parks set to open for day use May 14

“Ever since we closed parks, we have been working on a phased approach to reopen, working together so people can enjoy parks while managing issues of public safety and the health of the environment,” BC Parks said in a statement.

“A proposed free day-use pass program is one approach we have been considering to support the next phase of a safe and managed parks reopening.”

According to the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, more than 26 million people visit B.C.’s parks each year. In a recently released report, the society said COVID-19 “highlighted the deep cracks in a faulty system” that made it inevitable that parks would close down due to the pandemic.

“Parks are becoming increasingly overcrowded, with a marked increase in degraded and aging infrastructure,” the report stated.

“Park staff need resources to monitor visitors and the natural systems around them, from campgrounds to water quality to wildlife management.”

READ MORE: ‘We’re on the edge’: B.C. records 102 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths since Friday


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