Starting at noon on Thursday, Aug. 4, there will be a campfire ban at both Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks – and it will be strictly enforced.
The ban was announced by the Coastal Fire Centre and will cover the entire jurisdiction, excluding the Haida Gwaii Forest District.
Coastal Fire Centre covers all the area west of the height of land on the Coast Mountain Range from the U.S.-Canada border at Manning Park, including Tweedsmuir South Provincial Park in the north, the Sunshine Coast, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii.
Stu Burgess, operations manager for Golden Ears and Rolley parks, noted that at a minimum, campers will be evicted if caught with a campfire during the ban. Campers will also face a possible $1,100 fine if RCMP, conservation officers, or park rangers are involved.
The ban is set to take effect after a busy long weekend at both parks.
Rolley Lake averaged about 1,000 vehicles into the park per day over the long weekend. Golden Ears averaged about 3,200 vehicles per day – and nearly 3,500 vehicles on Sunday.
Camp sites were also really busy, said Burgess, noting that all the campgrounds were at capacity.
There were about 30 check-ins for campsites at Rolley Lake on July 29, and about 130 at Golden Ears. On Aug. 1, about 55 campers checked in a Rolley and about 360 at Golden Ears. Due to a three night minimum rule, there were no check-ins either Saturday or Sunday.
However, despite the volume of people, Burgess noted, there were no major incidents.
“Very smooth weekend other than the overwhelming number of check-ins at the parks, which always happens after the end of summer long weekends,” said Burgess.
The day pass system is also running well, he said.
In 2020 the province announced a day pass system for Golden Ears Provincial Park to minimize overcrowding. This year they came into effect at the beginning of July.
Passes become available at 7 a.m. online and are now issued up to two days before arrival at the park.
Burgess noted there are still people showing up without a pass but there is more awareness about the passes as summer goes on.
If someone arrives without a pass, he added, the pass can still be downloaded at the checkpoint, if passes are still available.
The campfire ban will be in place until Oct. 28, or until the order is rescinded.
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