Call it growing pains in relation to Vancouver’s increasing population or blame it on burgeoning backcountry interest, but either way, things are getting a little crowded at Mount Seymour.
So much so, that the BC government recently conducted and completed a survey to gather information on park users’ preferences to help develop strategies to resolve access needs to the popular North Shore recreation area.
“We know people are passionate about their parks, whether it’s camping, hiking or enjoying a picnic or heading into the backcountry with family and friends,” the Ministry of Environment told Daily Hive. “BC Parks has experienced significant growth in visitation to Provincial Parks in the Lower Mainland and Sea to Sky Corridor, and will be looking at strategies to address growing demand while providing a high quality visitor experience.”
The survey was also intended to aid in the future planning and management of both the park and the ski resort.
“Mt Seymour Resorts Ltd. operates a Controlled Recreation Area (CRA) comprising of the ski area and parking lots. The CRA occupies 81 of 3,500 hectares (approximately 2%) of park land,” the resort says on its website.
Essentially, this means that any plans for future expansion of the resort fall under provincial jurisdiction.
The resort itself has “has experienced exponential growth in the last five years of backcountry visitors, to Dog Mountain, First Pump Peak and Mount Seymour Peak,” the statement adds. “We are working hard with BC Parks to find solutions to the resulting parking shortage for backcountry users.”
Mount Seymour spokesperson Simon Whitehead told Daily Hive the ever-increasing popularity in backcountry use is certainly one factor behind the growing number of resort visitors, but added this particular year has also been “a fantastic season with great conditions.”
To help mitigate traffic concerns, Mt. Seymour will, on occasion, set up a traffic stop meant to manage traffic flow in and out of the park.
The resort also offers a shuttle bus service from Rupert SkyTrain Station and Parkgate Community Centre at the bottom of the mountain, to help decrease congestion.
“BC Parks is constantly working to improve visitor safety and services,” the Ministry continued. This includes “periodic reviews and visitor surveys to ensure they are best meeting the needs of the majority of our park visitors including visitors to parks such as Mount Seymour.”