Joffre Lakes upping enforcement and parking to handle masses of visitors

Jun 25 2019, 4:51 pm

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In what it says is a response to the continued increase in the number of visitors flocking to Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, BC Parks said it is implementing measures to address pressing public safety concerns, recognize Indigenous values and improve the overall visitor experience.

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“Balancing increased visitation with our conservation mandate is a delicate matter,” said BC Environment Minister George Heyman. “Our government is committed to finding solutions for the exceptional growth at Joffre Lakes Park that protect the environment and improve public safety.”

The province has also partnered with the Lil’wat Nation and N’Quatqua to develop the Joffre Lakes Park Visitor Use Management Action Plan.

The action plan, Heyman said, “ensures the natural and Indigenous cultural values of the park are protected, while continuing to provide recreation opportunities for visitors of all abilities.”

The plan contains a range of actions that include:

  • increasing park presence with two First Nations stewards working alongside park rangers;
  • expanding the parking lots to increase vehicle capacity from 250 to 450 cars to accommodate approximately 1,350 people per day;
  • offering a shuttle service from Duffey Lake Park parking lot to the Joffre Lakes Park trailhead;
  • implementing a compliance plan and towing vehicles illegally parked on Highway 99;
  • installing an emergency satellite phone at the Joffre Lakes trailhead as a means of communication for public safety.

The two First Nations stewards are part of a pilot project with BC Parks. The stewards will educate visitors about the park’s natural and cultural values, provide outreach and conduct park management, including facility maintenance.

 

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The parking lot expansion will occur in phases, with the overflow lot expanded in early summer and the main lot expanded in the fall, the province said. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early, since the parking lot fills quickly, especially on weekends.

The public is also being reminded that parking is not allowed along the highway, and enforcement of illegally parked cars along the shoulder of Highway 99 will also continue.

 

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Located 35 kilometres east of Pemberton, Joffre Lakes Provincial Park has become one of the busiest parks in the province.  Last year, 183,000 people visited the park – a 168% increase since 2010.