Good news non-driving hikers – an express bus service from Vancouver to the provincial parks along the Sea To Sky Highway is coming this summer.
The bad news? It’s only a pilot scheme and it’s only for two days, so you’d better get organized.
On August 20 and September 10, buses will run from multiple locations in Vancouver to Garibaldi, Alice Lake, Shannon Falls and Stawamus Chief provincial parks.
The service will be run by Parkbus, a non-profit which usually operates out of Ontario, in partnership with Better Environmentally Sound Transportation, BC Parks and MEC.
“The parks we aim to service along the Sea to Sky highway are absolutely stunning, and they are so close to the city, yet for many they are inaccessible,” co-founder Alex Z. Berlyand told Daily Hive.
“I think it is very easy to forget about our natural environment when we spend so much time surrounded by big buildings and concrete, and the benefits of connecting with nature and discovering the beautiful parks we have in our backyard are often underestimated.”
There’ll be 38 seats available on each bus, which will be staffed with volunteer Parkbus Ambassadors to provide info on the outdoor opportunities available in the area.
Berlyand says the buses have a pretty friendly community atmosphere and they often raffle different prizes from their partners on board.
Buses will start heading back from Garibaldi at 5 pm, picking up at all Sea To Sky stops, dropping off at all Vancouver stops and returning to MEC Vancouver at 7:15 pm.
If you want to bring your dog for a hike too, they are allowed on the bus, but must be tethered the whole time and a $10 pet fare applies per one-way trip.
If all goes well, Parkbus are hoping to expand; in Ontario they already offer overnight camping adventures and outfitting packages in the great outdoors.
“Based on popularity and demand, we would love to expand our operations and have both day trip and overnight options available on a regular weekly basis… running from Vancouver to Sea to Sky provincial parks, and potentially other parks and outdoor destinations in the region,” said Berlyand.
“We want to improve public access to outdoor destinations and encourage people to explore, discover and treat these places with respect. We believe that parks shouldn’t look like parking lots and that each and every one of us is responsible for the protection and conservation of our natural heritage.”
Return tickets on the Sea To Sky bus will cost $44 for adults and $40 for students. For tickets and more information check parkbus.ca/vancouver
Here are some more snapshots of the new Parkbus destinations: