It is a familiar local scene. Driving up or down the Sea to Sky Highway, nearing a packed Brohm Lake parking lot, a gaggle of individuals walk single-file along the shoulder.
Some carry towels or coolers, others have large inflatables.
At the Alice Lake turn off, a car skirts out into the heavy traffic of the intersection, barely fitting in between two speeding vehicles.
Both parks are bursting at the seams with visitors.
These are familiar scenarios to locals who dare to travel the highway on summer weekends.
On a recent Sunday afternoon, local Bob Brant headed up the highway to the Callaghan Valley Whistler Olympic Park.
"What we encountered at Alice Lake, Brohm Lake and Lucille Lake was scary," he told The Chief.
"Particularly at Brohm Lake, where, as we drove by, there were six cars in the northbound turn lane trying to get into the Brohm Lake parking lot, while there was another line up in the southbound entrance approach," he said. "The entrance was packed and unapproachable. As well, there were people walking down the hill on the shoulders with large inflatables. They had parked at the top of the northbound hill. All of this certainly made for a dangerous traffic situation."
Brant stressed that "it is certainly understandable why people — up from the city and locals — want to get outside."
He gets it, he said.
In addition to traffic, he also worries about the possible spread of COVID-19 at these local parks.
"I would call them jam-packed. Certainly not social-distancing situations. In light of the recent increase in COVID cases in Squamish, this is a concern. Especially as any of this crowd travel south and stop at any of our local eateries, coffee shops."
He would like to see regulated entrance/access control put in at these locations.
"I can appreciate that this is not an easy situation to come up with and implement a solution. And likely many areas in B.C. are facing these problems. But it is one that demands something be done and pretty quickly. Certainly, if there were a top-down solution, it would be more effective."
In a statement to The Chief, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure said people should not park along the shoulder of the Sea to Sky Highway in contravention of No Parking signs.
"Improperly parked vehicles risk being ticketed and towed," the statement said.
The ministry also said it continues to work with enforcement authorities to ensure existing signage is enforced and that "the highway functions as safely as possible for all road users."
Regarding Alice Lake, the ministry said there are no plans to install a traffic signal on the Sea to Sky Highway at the entrance to Alice Lake Provincial Park.
It added that BC Parks staff is aware of the challenges associated with the high visitation at Alice Lake Park during the summer season.
Park operators manage the parking lots and the roads within the park.
"BC Parks is also looking at measures including improved communications and signage," the statement said.
The Highway 99 intersection for Alice Lake Park is managed by the Transportation and Infrastructure Ministry.
"Any measures BC Parks considers will be done in concert with the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and the RCMP."
As for Lucille Lake, Canadian National Railway confirmed to The Chief that during the month of August, CN has had illegally parked vehicles removed from the areas where people park to access the lake.
These vehicles have been towed from CN’s right-of-way as they “interfere with the safe passage of trains or personnel,’ reads a statement emailed to The Chief.
“CN has signage in place to clearly indicate CN’s right-of-way and our property is not open for public use.”