What did you think of BC Parks Day-Use Passes?
The non-profit advocacy group, Friends of Garibaldi Park Society, has launched a short online survey to gather feedback on the system, which was implemented in 2020 as a way to manage high visitor volumes to some parks during the pandemic.
They were reintroduced for summer 2021.
Passes were implemented in six of the province's busiest provincial parks: Cypress, Mount Seymour, Garibaldi, Golden Ears, Mount Robson and Stawamus Chief.
(As a pilot project, free day-use vehicle passes are required to visit Mount Seymour Provincial Park from Dec. 15, 2021, to March 31, 2022.)
Taryn Eyton, president of the Friends of Garibaldi Park Society says the survey aims to fill gaps that are missing from the BC Parks survey.
In April of 2021, BC Parks conducted its own survey about the 2020 season.
"Any survey, produced by any group, will have its inherent biases in the way that they design the survey the questions, they ask, who to send it to. And we really felt that BC Parks' survey was very biased in a few ways. They only sent a survey out to people who had previously registered for a pass," she said. "There is no room in that survey to comment on if you didn't get a pass."
Eyton said her own partner started to do the BC Parks survey but stopped because he had not obtained a pass to a park during the season.
This means important information in terms of the impact of the pass system is missing, she added.
"If you didn't get a pass or you chose not to get a pass, where did you go instead? Because anecdotally and through some trail counter data, we know that people went elsewhere. And in a lot of places, they were pushed to areas that were volunteer-managed, so managed by some of our partner clubs and outdoor groups, like Watersprite Lake."
She said some were likely pushed onto Crown land to places that aren't actively managed, that don't have toilets or proper parking lots.
"Anecdotally, we heard that a lot of places that got a lot busier, because people weren't even trying to go to provincial parks, because they didn't think they will be able to get a pass."
The Friends of Garibaldi Park Society survey is meant to capture the experience of those folks.
"We want to know if this is a program that the public supports, or if it could be improved in a way that would make a better sort of experience in the park," she said.
"But also, if we can divert some of those funds to maintaining trails, or creating new trails to disperse the impact across the greater area rather than restricting access."
The survey takes approximately three to five minutes to complete and survey responses are anonymous.
It closes on March 15.
Compiled results will be published on friendsofgaribaldipark.org and may be shared with BC Parks and other relevant groups in late March or early April.
"And we also want to use that information to sort of campaign for change. What that change looks like, we won't know until we see the results of the survey," Eyton said.
Take the Friends of Garibaldi Park survey here.
***UPDATE: Please note this story has been updated on Feb. 25, 9:50 a.m. to attribute the survey at the bottom to the Friends of Garibaldi Park.