A record number of people have been enjoying Maple Ridge parks and trails over the past five months.
Data collected using sensors installed at park entrances and parking lots showed that between Apr. 1 and Aug. 31, more than 630,000 visitors were recorded at five city-operated parks and an additional 130,000 visits were tracked at eight city-run trails.
The most popular destination was Maple Ridge Park, with more than 250,000 visitors entering its main parking lot over the spring and summer.
Whonnock Lake Park was also a popular destination with visitations increasing by approximately 57 per cent in July and August, compared to the same time period in 2019. And between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. on busy summer weekends, the park was at full capacity.
In addition, monitored trails across Maple Ridge have experienced a 50 per cent increase in use year-over-year. On peak days, certain trail locations recorded up to 700 users throughout the day.
“Since the start of the pandemic and especially this summer, we’ve seen unprecedented traffic at parks and trails across Maple Ridge,” said David Boag, general manager parks, recreation and culture.
Chad Cowles, manager of community social safety initiatives, noted that the city was proactive in educating parks visitors about physical distancing guidelines.
Bylaw Compliance Officers and Community Safety Officers will continue to patrol parks across the city, said Cowles, especially Maple Ridge Park because of the high volume of visitors.
The city will also implement any further recommendations issued by the Public Health Officer, he said.
“When discovering Maple Ridge’s amazing greenspaces, let’s all be mindful of others by respecting the direction of Dr. Henry to stay healthy and enjoy the outdoors at two metres apart,” added Mayor Mike Morden.
“We all need to continue to do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 and end this pandemic.”