BC Parks rangers will patrol Green Lake Provincial Park and other South Cariboo front-country parks this week following complaints that people are camping unlawfully in day-use areas and on boat launches.
If the situation persists, the B.C. government said it will consider closing the gates to day-use areas and, if warranted, may evict campers or ticket them. The move comes after the province was made aware that people were camping at boat launches and in day-use areas at Green Lake’s popular Arrowhead campsite.
“Using boat launches and day-use areas for overnight stays at Arrowhead is inappropriate and does lead to overcrowding and other issues. BC Parks staff and park operators will continue to address such issues, as for example through closing the gates to day-use areas at night if necessary,” a spokesman for the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change said in an email to the Free Press.
The email said B.C. Parks are more popular than ever and the province is working to manage visitor numbers, such as by issuing free day-use passes at the most popular parks. Although new to BC Parks, managing day-use numbers is common in other park systems where demand exceeds capacity.
When the pilot project ends, BC Parks will conduct a full review and make necessary adjustments based on the feedback received this year. BC Parks is not aware of any major environmental damage caused by an increase in visitors to parks but remains concerned with the potential for environmental impacts from overuse.
“Visitor safety is our priority and the day-use pass pilot program allows us to safely manage the amount of people in busy parks to prevent crowding on trails, provide opportunities for physical distancing, and a much more enjoyable experience,” the email said.