After a lengthy closure due to COVID-19, the ever-popular Stawamus Chief peaks trail will reopen — but with some conditions.
A free day-use pass system is being piloted in Squamish for that trail, as well as the Garibaldi Park trailheads at Diamond Head, Rubble Creek and Cheakamus.
The Squamish locations are among six places where the provincial government will be testing the program, which is intended to reduce overcrowding, according to a news release.
The passes can be obtained on the Discover Camping website and will be released daily at 6 a.m. for same-day bookings.
Park staff will be checking passes, which visitors can download onto their mobile device or print.
The program will be in effect as of July 27.
According to the news release, Garibaldi Park will fully reopen that day with the introduction of day-use passes in select areas.
Significant increases in visitors at Garibaldi have led to overcrowding, the province says.
"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 Environment Minister George Heyman in a news release. "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."
Backcountry campers with camping permits are not required to reserve a day-use pass, but should carry proof of their camping permit if they are using one of the select trails that require a pass.
Further details about the passes required in each park, along with detailed information about BC Parks' response to COVID-19 and which parks remain closed, can be found here: www.bcparks.ca
Before heading out, people are advised to visit the individual park page for any changes to available services.
The six locations where this program will be piloted are:
* Mount Robson Park: Berg Lake Trail
* Stawamus Chief Park: Chief Peaks Trail
* Cypress Park: upper mountain trails, including the Howe Sound Crest Trail, Hollyburn Mountain Trails and the Black Mountain Plateau trails
* Mount Seymour Park: upper mountain trails including the Seymour Main Trail, Dog Mountain Trail and Mystery Lake Trail
* Garibaldi Park: trailheads at Diamond Head, Rubble Creek and Cheakamus
* Golden Ears Park: all trails and day-use areas