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Letter: Are we killing spontaneity for outdoor recreation with Buntzen Lake pre-visit registration?

Writer believes an online parking registration is "absolutely unnecessary." The program runs June 27 to Sept. 5.
Buntzen Lake
Buntzen Lake

The Editor:

Re: BC Hydro wants to stop crazy Buntzen Lake traffic problems with pre-visit parking registration (May 4, 2022)

Those wanting to drive to Buntzen Lake apparently will need to register for a parking pass at least a day in advance, starting in June.

The first question to ask: Why is a registration pass being introduced at Buntzen Lake at all now, whether one-day or half-day? 

This has been a very popular recreation area for fair weather visitors dating back at least to the 1980s, when I first lived in the Lower Mainland as a UBC student. I recall the iconic Buntzen parking area being full regularly during the summers already back then.

It is hard to avoid thinking that perhaps BC Hydro is conveniently jumping on what during the past two COVID-19 years has become the bandwagon to (over)regulate B.C. parks.

Why is spontaneity suddenly being killed across the accessible B.C. outdoors? 

We should be able to wake up in the morning and decide if we want to drive to Buntzen Lake, or any other B.C. park that has been victimized by advance parking registration policies.

The reason provided in this case — that Anmore residents around Buntzen Lake are complaining about traffic volume — just doesn't cut it, since the volume will remain annoyingly high for them even with half-day or one-day passes.

Such is the reality and consequence of living in a gorgeous and popular area.  

I am an avid hiker/trail runner and kayaker, who moved to Port Moody from West Vancouver in 2017.

I love nothing more than waking up early on a weekend summer morning, and deciding where I will go hike, trail run or kayak for the day with my now 15-year-old super-fit son, based on weather, mood and energy level. 

Diaz Vistas or Eagle Mountain often were our last-minute choices, involving the Buntzen Lake parking area, where we'd arrive before 9 a.m. and always get a spot for the day.

This spontaneity contributed a large fraction of the overall positive outdoor experience, but such freedom is rapidly being taken away from us by those who run and rule our B.C. parks.

This is very regrettable, and absolutely unnecessary.

- Walter Cicha, Ph.D., Port Moody