Day pass program returns to three B.C. parks to manage summer traffic

Beginning June 17, visitors to three popular provincial parks will have to book a free online day-use pass in advance. One of the parks is Garibaldi Park, shown here. Credit: Rick Powell

The province’s free day-use pass program is returning to three popular parks this summer to manage the flow of traffic and conserve the environment.

Effective June 17, visitors to Golden Ears, Joffre Lakes and three trailheads at Garibaldi will need to reserve their spot online, the Ministry of Environment confirmed Tuesday.

“Overuse has become a growing challenge in these three parks,” said Environment Minister George Heyman in a news release.

“We need to ensure that, above all, we are protecting what makes these parks special through sustainable recreation.”

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Passes can be booked online on the BC Parks website at 7 a.m., two days before a planned trip. Passes can be cancelled if plans change.

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Those visiting Golden Ears and the Diamond Head, Rubble Creek and Cheakamus trailheads at Garibaldi will require vehicle passes, while all visiting Joffre Lakes Park require an individual trail pass, said the province. As in previous summers, Discover Parks ambassadors will be checking for passes.

There will be no first-come, first-served system for parking where passes are required.

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According to the Ministry of Environment, an “unmanaged increase” in visitors can result in trail damage, vegetation trampling, wildlife displacement, and negative impacts to “Indigenous cultural values.” Parking can also become a challenge, it added.

Over the next three years, BC Parks is investing $21.5 million to expand outdoor recreational opportunities, including adding new campsites and trails to parks, and upgrading existing facilities.

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