Just in time for summer hikes and other fresh-air outings, the BC government is relaunching its day-pass system for a trio of provincial parks.
“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, in a release.
“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.”
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Starting on June 17, free passes can be reserved online for Golden Ears Park and Joffre Lakes Park, along with three trailheads at Garibaldi Park: the Diamond Head, Rubble Creek, and Cheakamus access points. Vehicle passes are needed for Golden Ears and Garibaldi, while an individual trail pass is required for Joffre Lakes.
Passes for these provincial parks are available two days ahead of time, beginning at 7 am each morning, and can be cancelled without penalty. Cancelled passes get added back into the reservation system, so if your desired date is already full, check back later to see if any spots have opened up. Passes can’t be transferred to other dates, times, or locations.
Discover Parks ambassadors will check the passes, which are required during peak hours. The ambassadors will also be on hand to answer questions and provide information to visitors.
“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 BC’s most beautiful places,” said Sandra Riches, executive director of 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.”
Though British Columbia’s parks are vast, the trails and trailheads can easily become congested in the busy summer season. The use of a pass system in provincial parks during warm-weather months ensures that trails, vegetation, wildlife, and Indigenous cultural values are minimally affected by visitors. Plus, the day-use pass program helps to reduce congestion in the parks’ parking lots.
BC Parks is investing $21.5 million over the next three years to improve and expand outdoor recreation throughout the province.