A Maple Ridge horse rider has started a petition to have parking monitored at two lots in Golden Ears Provincial Park for horse trailers only.
So, Crystal Ireland, a member of the Haney Horsemen, the Back Country Horsemen of B.C., and the Horse Council of B.C., started an online petition that had collected 1,331 signatures as of Friday afternoon.
Early last week, Ireland was meeting a number of her friends at the Main Horse Corral in the park.
However, when they got to the lot they found it full of cars.
The parking lot is supposed to be designated for horse trailers with room for a horse staging area – space with enough room for riders to load and unload their horses and tack up their horses on the side of the trailer.
Not only is it usually an issue over the summer months, which tend to be really busy, said Ireland. But with COVID there is now a huge influx of hikers and other park users.
“I’ve had friends we go to meet in there and then we have to turn around after they’ve spent over an hour driving,” said Ireland.
There is also supposed to be a lot designated for horse trailers at Gold Creek, at the far end of the park. But, over time, the same thing has happened there as well, she said.
On Saturday she was planning to send the petition along with a letter she wrote containing other signatures and comments to B.C. Parks and the Ministry of the Environment.
Ireland can’t believe the overwhelming response she has had to the petition posted on change.org.
Laura Siteman wrote on the petition posting platform that she has been riding in Golden Ears for 40 years and never had a problem parking at the Main Horse Corral until the last couple of years.
“It has become dangerous for rider and horses as the lot is jammed pack with cars let alone manoeuvring a truck and trailer (through) the lot once you’ve pulled in there,” she said.
Chris Smith wrote that the Main Corral is crowded with randomly parked cars all the time.
The East Canyon Trail parking lot had a gate which Haney Horsemen paid for, explained Smith.
It was going to be a dedicated horse trailer site, she said, but now the gate is gone and the lot has been “chopped up” for car parking.
Mike Lake road parking access is very limited, noted Smith, adding that even the Woodlands horse camping site is used for overflow car camping on a first come first serve basis.
“People haul their rigs to the park and find no available parking because of preference given to cars. The boaters have a dedicated lot, why not horses,” he asked.
What Ireland is hoping to see is signage indicating the lot is for horse trailer parking.
“Right now it is just a big gravel lot that ends up getting full with cars,” explained Ireland, adding that a lot of people are coming in all the way from Langley, Mission, Chilliwack, and Aldergrove.
And, if they use the lot, then others are boxed in and now, she said, it’s a safety issue.
“We’re just asking that it be monitored or something be done so that there are spaces available when trailers come in because that was the meaning of the lot,” said Ireland.
“Now it’s not even possible to get a trailer in there.”