British Columbians Worry About Busy and Understaffed Parks This Summer

Golden Ears Provincial Park Credit to Adam Combs, 2022

June 13, 2022

Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territories / Vancouver, BC – As hot and sunny weekends arrive across the province, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, British Columbia Chapter (CPAWS-BC) surveyed British Columbians about what their expectations are as they visit BC provincial parks this summer. The results illustrated an enthusiasm to get out into nature this summer, as well as concerns about overcrowding and not enough staff in provincial parks.

“We share the concerns of park users. A long-term lack of resources for BC Parks has created problems with accessibility, wildlife conflicts, and failing infrastructure inside our parks,” said Kristina Charania, Conservation Coordinator at CPAWS-BC. “Nature supports our health in every way, and it should be made a priority in every corner of the province.”

Despite the immense popularity of parks during the COVID pandemic, 82.8% of respondents said they still expected provincial parks to be busier this summer than the previous two summers. When asked about what concerns them about their visits to provincial parks, their top concerns were:

 – Inadequate parking (62.8% of respondents were at least somewhat concerned)
 – Limited enforcement of park rules (59.4% of respondents were at least somewhat concerned)
 – Not enough staff or park rangers (54.5% of respondents were at least somewhat concerned
 – The top improvement respondents recommended for BC’s provincial parks was more staff in parks (42.9%)

The jury was still out on the day-pass program that limits the daily number of people that can enter three of BC’s busiest parks: Garibaldi, Golden Ears, and Joffre Lakes. When asked whether the program effectively addresses park impacts like crowded trails, packed parking lots, and impacts on wildlife during peak periods, many respondents (44.0%) said they weren’t sure. However, a majority of British Columbians (52.1%) said they supported the program and only 16.9% opposed it.

The survey results also reiterated how much British Columbians value nature. 93.9% of respondents agreed that provincial parks were important or very important to protecting nature in the province. 84.4% said they’d like to see more provincial parks created in the future.

“Our parks have been short-changed for decades, and park users are feeling the effects of that more and more every year,” said Kristina Charania, Conservation Coordinator at CPAWS-BC. “It is time to address the cracks in the system. We need to increase staff presence, park maintenance, and ecosystem monitoring to improve recreation experiences and protect the diverse nature in parks.”

Half of those who answered the survey said they planned to visit a provincial park at least once a month, with 8.0% of respondents saying they planned on multiple trips to parks each week. The most popular provincial parks amongst respondents were Golden Ears, Strathcona, Manning, and Goldstream.

The survey was completed by 905 British Columbians, with a margin of error of 3.26% and confidence level of 95%.


For interviews, contact:

Rippon Madtha
Communications Manager
604-685-7445 (x23)

About CPAWS-BC: 

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is Canada’s only nationwide charity dedicated solely to the protection of our public land, ocean, and freshwater, and ensuring our parks and protected areas are managed to protect nature. Since 1963, CPAWS has played a leading role in protecting over half a million square kilometers. Our vision is to protect at least half of Canada’s public land and water in a framework of reconciliation – for the benefit of wildlife and people.

The CPAWS British Columbia chapter (CPAWS-BC) works to protect wilderness in every corner of BC and deep into the ocean. We have been defending BC since 1978, and are dedicated to keeping BC’s natural environment thriving forever. Nature is BC’s best hope.

Follow us! @CPAWSBC

Golden Ears Provincial Park Credit to Adam Combs, 2022

Golden Ears Provincial Park, 2022.
Photo by staff photographer Adam Combs.