Patrons must have a day pass to enter Golden Ears Provincial Park beginning Monday, July 27, and anyone who doesn’t will be turned away at the gate.
Park users will now be able to go to the Discover Camping website starting at 6 a.m. each day to download a vehicle pass for either entering the park between 7 a.m and 3 p.m. or entering the park between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m., said Stu Burgess operations manager for Golden Ears Provincial Park.
“The 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. day pass, that’s an entry time. That’s not an exit time. So, people do not have to leave by 3 p.m.,” explained Burgess.
Three different passes will be available, he said. A pass for the hiking trails at the north end, the Gold Creek and West Canyon parking lot. There will be a pass for the day use area and the main beach. A pass will also be available for the boat launch.
Spirea parking lot will be the checkpoint for passes. Some of the parking there will remain available without a pass so Burgess anticipates that it will be full almost as soon as the park opens.
A set number of passes will be available each day, depending on the category, continued Burgess.
“We are still working on finalizing those numbers,” he said, but they will be based on the parking capacity for each area.
Burgess is not sure what is going to happen with Mike Lake, where, for the past two weekends, it has been jammed to overflowing and park staff have had to turn people away.
Registered campers, Burgess added, will just need a copy of their reservation to show to the staff and people with back-country permits will need a copy of their permit.
“Hopefully this is going to help with the number of vehicles coming up here,” said Burgess of the pilot project launched by the provincial government to manage overcrowding in Golden Ears and five other parks across B.C.
“People in B.C. love the outdoors, but some of our most popular parks are experiencing a high number of visitors, resulting in crowded facilities, packed parking lots and safety issues, such as parking along the highway,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
“This pilot program acknowledges that frequent park users have an important role to play in protecting these important natural spaces and the species that depend upon them,’ he said.
Park operator staff will be checking passes upon arrival.
Passes can either be downloaded onto a mobile device or printed to show at the park.
Further details can be found at bcparks.ca.