Trail fees in Bighorn Country being discussed as area becomes overrun with campers – City News

by Taylor Braat, Derek Craddock

POSTED AUG 4, 2020 8:39 AM MDT

CALGARY (CityNews) – The Bighorn Country area has been overrun with campers, garbage, and a lack of social distancing. Now trail fees are being discussed at the provincial level.

The large piece of land near Sundre and Rocky Mountain House is becoming a popular go-to this summer as Albertans flock to nature, one of few reprieves from the city and the reality of COVID-19.

A June report from the Bighorn Backcountry Standing Committee said garbage is being left behind, social distancing isn’t happening, and large groups are camping in random areas.

The Alberta Hiking Association is now proposing camping fees, and it has provincial support.

Read the Article

Mayors worry park restrictions, day passes are shifting crowds to smaller community areas – CBC News

Closing one park leads to overcrowding at another, warns Port Moody mayor

CBC News · Posted: Aug 04, 2020 7:00 AM PT | Last Updated: August 4

Mayor Richard Stewart says the parking lot to Buntzen Lake is often closed early in the morning, forcing would-be-users to travel to smaller community parks. (Shutterstock)

A pair of Metro Vancouver mayors are worried that restrictions on popular regional and provincial parks are forcing smaller community parks to bear a larger, less physically distanced, load.

Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart says the parking lot at Buntzen Lake, which is managed by BC Hydro, will often be closed around 8:30 a.m., when the park isn’t anywhere near capacity.

Stewart says those turned away are then forced to visit smaller parks around the community that aren’t set up to support large crowds.

He also says the province’s day pass system is putting more pressure on small parks because it restricts the number of daily visitors allowed in the more popular provincial parks.

“It would make… better sense to try and spread people out a little bit more rather than making sure there’s almost nobody at the provincial parks,” said Stewart.

“If each of us decides that we’re going to keep our parks absolutely safe, we will end up essentially closing things that should be open as a release valve and other communities will face the effects.”

Port Moody Mayor Rob Vagramov shares many of the same concerns. He says his council is working with BC Hydro and has asked them to allow more vehicles to park at Buntzen Lake, which features a popular beachfront and several hiking trails.

“Overcrowding leads to issues and complaints, which can lead to full-scale park closures,” said Vagramov in a statement on Facebook.

“Due to extreme demand, one park closing down would push demand onto neighbouring parks, which are already stretched to capacity, potentially leading to a domino effect.”

BC Hydro says there are approximately 600 parking spaces at the Buntzen Lake parking lot and about 500 vehicles visited each day over the long weekend, although it adds the numbers vary day to day.

As for how many vehicles it decides to allow into the parking lot, the utility says that all depends on how Buntzen Lake is being used.

If there are more hikers and the beach is empty, it might open the gate and allow more people to enter. But when there are more users on the beach and physical distancing measures need to implemented, BC Hydro limits parking capacity.

“We’re taking a staged approach to reopening our recreation sites that ensures we can adhere to provincial health guidelines and prioritizes the health and safety of visitors,” BC Hydro said in a statement.

Day pass program open to adjustments

On July 27, it became a little bit more difficult to visit six provincial parks in B.C.

The province added a free, day pass pilot project to try and limit the number of people attending the parks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

BC Parks says between 2,700 and 3,000 people got day passes for the six parks in the first four days of the program.

Stewart believes the provincial parks aren’t anywhere near their capacity. “Those parks aren’t as crowded as some of the local parks now,” he said.

BC Parks says that for some of its most popular parks, Golden Ears and Stawamus Chief, they are issuing all daily passes by early-mid morning. (Discover Camping)

BC Parks says managing the number of visitors in popular parks through free day passes keeps parks safe for everyone to enjoy.

“Visitor safety is our priority,” it said in a statement. “[The pilot project] allows us to safely manage the number of people in busy parks to prevent crowding on trails, provide opportunities for physical distancing, and a much more enjoyable experience.”

While BC Parks says the program has overall been well received by the public, it admits that the program is still in the pilot phase and it may need some adjustments.

Both Stewart and Vagramov say they’re hopeful that all levels of government, as well as BC Hydro, can work together to make sure that all facilities are open and available to spread out the crowds.CBC’s Journalistic Standards and Practices|About CBC NewsReport Typo or Error


You Can Canoe Through A Historic Waterway While Camping At This Ontario Park – from Narcity

Bring your own boat!

If you’re looking for an Ontario hidden gem to visit, say no more. French River Provincial Park is an interconnected waterway of gorges, lakes and rapids waiting for you to paddle through. You can navigate the water to get to your campsite on this historic river used in the earliest years of Canadian history. 

According to Ontario Parks, it is Canada’s first designated Heritage River.

Located in Alban, Ontario, it is a watercourse that Indigenous people, French explorers and fur traders once used. 

Read the Article

Getting to know the Aulneau: A 6-day paddle around the largest land mass in Lake of the Woods – Bartley Kives CBC News

Paddlers can have the lake to themselves and support businesses missing out on American tourism

On Lake of the Woods, there are more than 14,500 islands for paddlers to hide behind if the wind gets too high.

The problem is, they’re not evenly spaced out like socially distanced shoppers lined up outside a Costco during a pandemic.

The northern basin most familiar to visitors from Manitoba has thousands of islands, many of them dotted with the cottages and camps. So does Whitefish Bay on the east side of the lake and Sabaskong Bay to the south.

Read the Article

A California collective makes the case for outdoor schooling – PBS News Hour Weekend

As school districts across the country are trying to determine how or if they can open their doors in the fall, a California coalition has come together – offering districts everything from curriculum to architecture advice to take their classrooms outside. NewsHour Weekend’s Christopher Booker reports.

Whistler mountain biker brings more than just skill – Dan Falloon, Pique News Magazine

Anita Naidu brings anti-racism training—and COVID-19 precaution knowhow—to camps.

In a normal summer, Whistler’s Anita Naidu would be jetting all over the world for any number of reasons.

But this year, for reasons greater than just the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, she’s happy to stay closer to home.

Naidu wears a number of helmets, ranging from pro mountain biker and coach to electrical environmental engineer to anti-racism advocate, and at a time when racial injustice is in the spotlight, Naidu is sharing messages of effective allyship through sport.

Read Full Article

Savour a quintessential Canadian community this summer in Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls – Winnipeg Sun

Drive East towards Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls along Highway 1, and you’re immediately drawn in by the fields of yellow canola, purple flax and sunflowers on the Prairies. As you drive through Kenora and turn onto Highway 71, you are engulfed in boreal forests and granite outcroppings. It’s a capsule of Canadian landscape and the perfect introduction to a hidden gem of Ontario’s cottage country.

Through the summer months, enjoy Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls’ two provincial parks — Sioux Narrows Provincial Park and Caliper Lake Provincial Park— and the region’s hiking trails, or golfing at White Moose Golf Course. And, most prominently, enjoy the activities out on Lake of the Woods.

Read the Article

Education experts call for outdoor classes to increase student safety amid COVID-19 pandemic – The Current, CBC

As politicians and school boards grapple with the challenge of how to safely reopen schools in the fall, some education experts are suggesting a simple solution — hold class outside. 

The idea was recently suggested in a report released by Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. But according to freelance journalist Monika Warzecha, it’s not a new notion.

Warzecha said that while working on a series of stories about Toronto’s history, she stumbled across a photo depicting the now-closed High Park Forest School. 

“It’s this photo of all these kids, they’re kind of formally dressed, sitting at these desks that are wooden and solid with wrought iron in front of a chalkboard and teacher. But they’re in a forest,” she said. 

Read the Article

Face masks also beneficial outdoors, says Canada’s top doctor – 660 News

OTTAWA  – Canada’s top doctor is encouraging Canadians to use face masks more frequently–not just when you’re in crowded indoor spaces.

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam says physical distancing is still the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

But with more and more Canadians taking advantage of the summer weather–hitting hiking trails, camping, or heading to the cabin or cottage–Tam says physical distancing might not always be all that practical.

Read the Article

Outdoor Safety and Incident Prevention – An Outdoor Recreation Council of BC Webinar

The Outdoor Recreation Council of BC is the host for a live webinar on outdoor safety and trip planning with presentations from AdventureSmart’s Sandra Riches and John Blown from North Shore Rescue.

Statistics show that each year across BC there are approximately 1,700 search and rescue incidents. They involve all types of outdoor enthusiasts, from hikers, skiers and mountain bikers to backcountry travellers, equestrians, quad riders and boaters. Join us to learn what you can do to stay safe and be properly prepared as you head into the outdoors this summer.

AdventureSmart is a national program dedicated to encouraging Canadians and visitors to Canada to “Get informed and go outdoors”. AdventureSmart combines online and on-site awareness with targeted outreach to try and reduce the number and severity of Search and Rescue Incidents.

North Shore Rescue is a volunteer community-based search and rescue team. NSR is one of BC’s busiest teams and performs approximately 130 search & rescue operations annually, with some operations lasting multiple days.

Please send your questions, comments and feedback to: