Local horse riders are breathing a sigh of relief after they were informed by BC Parks that a number of measures will be taken to ensure they have parking available to them in Golden Ears Provincial Park.
Recently riders, including Crystal Ireland, a member of the Haney Horsemen, the Back Country Horsemen of B.C., and the Horse Council of B.C., have been finding the two designated lots for equestrians – one at the main corral and the other at Gold Creek – filled with vehicles without horse trailers.
So Ireland, started an online petition and collected 1,462 signatures, asking for both lots to be monitored, enforced and made available to horse riders during busy and peak periods.
And on Jan. 22, after meeting with BC Parks, Brian Harder, chair of the Aldergrove chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of B.C., said BC Parks has agreed to designate spots for horse trailer parking, in addition to other measures in support of equestrians.
“Looks like we have maintained our right to ride,” said Harder.
Stu Burgess, operations manager for Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks, said this winter has been a record year for winter visitors – which could be a contributor to the packed parking lots. He believes the large numbers of people at the park is a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
A response from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy confirmed that BC Parks is in the process of reconfiguring equestrian parking areas to have designated areas for trailer parking, including four spots in the main horse corral parking lot.
There will also be new signage indicating trailer parking only. A road pullout area is also being reconfigured in the park to accommodate trailer parking near the East Canyon Trailhead for summer use and a new campground will soon be available for equestrian use.
Staff at BC Parks will be monitoring the new parking areas for compliance, the response went on to say, and take necessary action, if required.
The Ministry also said it is committed to working with the Back Country Horsemen of B.C. to develop trail projects that include input from the equestrian community.