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Maple Ridge provincial park remains closed due to fallen trees and snow

Manager hopes to open Golden Ears Provincial Park next week
Golden Ears Provincial Park is currently closed. (The News files)

Golden Ears Provincial Park remains closed after a storm exactly two weeks ago downed trees and dumped a large amount of snow.

The park was initially shut down on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Park manager James Hall said a windstorm hit them quite unexpectedly.

“I follow the weather very closely in the job I do and there was no mention of a horrible windstorm, the way we received it,” he explained.

When staff showed up at the gate first thing in the morning, it was already quite windy, noted Hall, calling the wind gusts “concerning”.

Staff monitored the wind throughout the morning, but when the afternoon arrived they were already experiencing trees falling in the park.

There were three campers at the time and staff went to the campgrounds to warn them of the danger and advised them to pack up and head out of the park for safety reasons.

Hall says around 12 trees toppled in the wind, some across the main road.

On Friday, Feb. 24, crews started working on cleaning up the trees. But, the calm weather was short-lived as that evening snow started falling and on Saturday the park was hit with a large dump of snow. Hall also had to close Rolley Lake Provincial Park.

“We received an accumulation of over 14 inches (35 centimetres),” he said.

Two weeks later Hall is still trying to clean up and has yet to be on the trails or access the campgrounds.

READ ALSO: Golden Ears Provincial Park open again

Alouette Campground, at the north end of the park, still has about 60 centimetres of snow, he said.

Staff has had to use snowshoes to get around.

This storm, though, was not even close to the storm in 2008 when about 400 trees toppled in the park. Hall was part of the cleanup crew for that weather event and, he said, they didn’t know where to start.

Snow has to recede before Hall can open the park again.

ALSO: Reservation system open for camping at Golden Ears park in Maple Ridge

Part of the problem is the road into Golden Ears Provincial Park is considered a mountain road and the province will not allot any money for snow removal, so snow has to melt naturally.

There are still a couple of big trees that require professionals to clear – including one big tree leaning against another on the road to Mike Lake – but again, snow has to melt before they can gain access.

On Thursday, March 9, crews were on site at park headquarters, fixing the power for their infrastructure, which was also knocked out.

Park staff are still working on tabletops and cleaning up branches in the areas that they can get to without snow.

“It’s very common in the winter to receive these storms. And, usually the worst come in February when we really start thinking of spring and let our guard down and all of a sudden Mother Nature reminds us we are still in winter conditions,” added Hall, crossing his fingers that he will be able to open the park next week.

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Colleen Flanagan

About the Author: Colleen Flanagan

I got my start with Black Press Media in 2003 as a photojournalist.
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