More and more people are flooding into Mount Seymour Provincial Park and other natural spaces to enjoy the sunshine and fresh snow, which has led to massive headaches when it comes to parking and highway traffic.
B.C. Parks has taken note of the problem and is looking at various solutions, including investing in the building of a parkade or even a gondola.
But Steven Jones, leader of parks advocacy group North Shore Dawn Patrol, says such large capital projects are not necessarily the answer.
“It’s hard to justify,” Jones said. “The use is concentrated in a few peak days each year, and within a few hours within those days. So I think we need to look more at how we can distribute the demand across more parks and across more hours within this park.”
Jones suggests B.C. Parks should instead look at providing services that would ultimately decrease the number of vehicles in the area, including shuttles and ride-share programs.
He also says rises in provincial tourism have resulted in overcrowding throughout the B.C. parks system, and that more investment is needed to meet demand.
“We’re up against a hard wall right now,” Jones said. “A lot of our parks are at capacity, whether it’s parking, campsites, trails that are washing out.
“I think our tourism industry is going to start to hit a cap and have a hard time to grow in the coming years if we don’t get serious about reinvesting in our parks.”
B.C. Parks recently conducted a survey among park visitors asking their opinions about solutions to overcrowding and other park issues. The results are expected to be made public sometime in the spring, after which more public consultation may take place.