Staff at Golden Ears Provincial Park are preparing for another busy August long weekend, and are asking campers and beachgoers to be respectful of the park while they are there.
More than 5,000 visitors are expected to come to the park each day this weekend, depending on the weather, and that can mean a big mess for staff to clean up when they are gone.
“We just want everyone to respect the environment, respect your neighbours, and have a great time,” said park manager Stu Burgess.
Leaving garbage and empty beverage containers can also attract bears.
While Burgess says bear encounters are rare in the park, last Monday a black bear had to be put down after it wandered into a campsite and helped itself to the campers’ food.
“The bear had no fear, so RCMP had to put it down,” he said. “We were sounding air horns a few feet away and it wouldn’t budge. It was very stubborn.”
If campers do encounter a bear while camping in the park, Burgess recommends getting out of the area as quickly as possible, and alerting park staff so they can deal with the situation.
A new recycling initiative will hopefully further reduce the number of bear encounters at the park.
The Ministry of Environment and Encorp Pacific are rolling out specially designed bear-proof metal bins so park users can safely recycle their used beverage containers. Expanding on a successful pilot launched in May 2009, the program promotes responsible recycling in provincial parks while deterring bears.
Sixty-one new bear-proof recycle bins are being placed in eight popular B.C. provincial parks, including Golden Ears.
“Our province has worked very hard to reduce waste and the number of bear- human conflicts,” said environment minister Terry Lake. “The continued support of the ‘bear-smart’ recycling program, without a doubt, has improved the way we co-exist with bears while keeping our BC Parks clean.”
Encorp Pacific has contributed 121 recycling bins to the program since 2009 with a total value of $184,000.
Campers this weekend can expect some sunshine, with Environment Canada calling for a mix of sun and cloud with highs in the low 20s throughout the weekend, with a 30 per cent chance of rain on Saturday.
The park’s 409 campsites have been fully booked for the upcoming weekend for the last three months.
“Actually, it booked up almost as soon as it became available,” said Burgess. “They were all gone in about two hours.”
There’s still a little bit of space available for Labour Day long weekend, but Burgess said the remaining campsites won’t last long.
Camping reservations can be booked online at www.discovercamping.ca.