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Editorial: Mount Seymour park passes is the wrong idea

Unpopular program from 2020 returns to one North Vancouver mountaintop park
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BC Parks staff stop visitors at Mount Seymour Provincial Park to ensure they have their day pass in July 2020. The province has brought back a similar program for the winter of 2021-2022.

We’ll be seeing less of Mount Seymour Provincial Park this winter. As of Dec. 15, anyone who wants to park at the top of the mountain will first have to get an online pass via BC Parks.

It is similar to the province’s deeply unpopular summer 2020 strategy to limit the number of people visiting the busiest provincial parks.

There is no question that growing demand for parking at the top is outpacing the limited supply. Mt. Seymour ski resort too has had to scale back the number of lift tickets it may issue.

But, as outdoor advocates have pointed out, there are some practical problems with this plan. By limiting the passes to four hours, it makes it impossible to reach many backcountry destinations and be back before the ticket book comes out. Because of fear of missing out, people will snatch up passes early and then feel compelled to use them, even when conditions in the alpine aren’t safe.

But, more broadly, this speaks to the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s disinterest in having BC Parks meet its mandate. The province is all too happy to market “super natural British Columbia,” but hasn’t put commensurate funding to ensure that nature is truly accessible. If we’re trying to solve a parking problem, then public transportation to a public park would be the first and most obvious solution.

As long as COVID-19 is lurking in the air, more people will choose to get their badly needed R&R outdoors, where it is safest. Let’s try to make British Columbians feel welcome in their own parks.