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BC Parks Day Pass System

I thought the purpose of the day pass system and the seemingly arbitrary, inconsistent and vague application/imposition of the term "Carrying Capacity" was to prevent the spread of Covid. Or was it?
Seems to be restricting user numbers to a 'cherry picked' set of trails was the intention all along, and Covid was just an excuse and afterthought.
And then there is the 70% user displacement, which we front line volunteer trail builders are experiencing the full effect and wrath of.
I want to know the decision making and science behind the caps, and why some trails require a pass, and others (such as those in the vicinity of multi-national corporation Vail/Whistler Blackcomb) do not.
Time for Backcountry BC to do what we do best; to start asking some hard and inconvenient questions of BC Parks and the ministry. 

Reference:  https://www.squamishchief.com/opinion/editorial/editorial-support-sea-to-sky-rangers-bc-parks-1.24185733?fbclid=IwAR1CXBAFi79REIvf80AdDxbdriGHKIufZXfm1Yo7CbhXBRVPeSu4k3IaED4

Direction on Day-use Pass Pilot Program

Regional director for the South Coast of BC Parks recently wrote to Backcountry BC to clarify some points on the day pass system.
To recap, on July 22nd this summer, the minister of environment, George Heyman issued a press release. He said frequent park users have an important role in protecting parks that's why he introduced the day-use pass pilot program. He said it will help keep people active and safe, presumably by keeping large numbers of people out of the park system. [Sorry, detecting cognitive dissonance here.]
The regional director today wrote the pilot will be reviewed in fall and called it an interim approach. Thanks for clearing that up, day pass is not about COVID-19. It's here to stay for the long term.

To further enunciate this understanding, a link was given to the BC Parks' blog from last September that discusses carrying capacity. It explains,
"Carrying capacity can be used as a broad term to refer to ecological carrying capacity, facility capacity, or visitor capacity. In BC Parks, we look at all three components to determine if our parks are within their capacity, or if management strategies need to be implemented to ensure the park is well managed and cared for."

Two examples, Golden Ears and Stawamus, were provided on how the interim carrying capacity was determined, neither of which was Garibaldi Park, probably of intense interest to this group. More later on those examples.

Reference Carrying Capacity and BC Parks - https://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcparksblog/2019/09/19/carrying-capacity-and-bc-parks/?fbclid=IwAR1q8QEpmZiE_E_VhgcKJMSDdNuCgk7dqsFQfzLWfR4R1ABvzodUaKIZAL8
We wrote the BC Environment Ministry asking for the methodology and data behind the BC Parks Daypass System, and the scientific rationale and definitions behind their ongoing employment of the term "carrying capacity" which has been used as the basis for backcountry recreation management decisions including caps and limits. We were assured that the information would be forthcoming from staff. Weeks later, after no further communication, we subsequently Emailed a friendly reminder asking for a progress report, which went unanswered. This week, we emailed yet again seeking an update with the addition of a deadline (see below) - silence once again. 

A simple "we are busy right now and need another month" would have been fully satisfactory to me. I can also accept an answer I don't agree with if it is based on data and sound reasoning. That being said, I cannot and will not accept avoidance and secrecy which for me feels disingenuous and dishonest. It is my opinion, that BC Parks as an agency has for many years suffered from and continues to suffer from a serious lack of accountability and transparency that is institutional, cultural and systemic. It must change.

I for one will not be joining the choir of outdoor organizations calling for increased funding for BC Parks until the fundamentals of public accountability, and a respect of their foundational mandate and philosophy is achieved.
As someone who prefers to advocate and work in the sunlight, I take umbrage with those institutions and individuals who elect to work and make decisions in the shadows. I feel compelled to smoke and stampede them out into the light. And so instead of a call for increased funding, this latest display from the ministry will result in a tsunami of Freedom of Information Requests and a microscope of public and media scrutiny originating from Backcountry BC pertaining to the Day Pass system and their management decisions.

Perhaps one day Government will figure out that being genuine and honest with the public builds trust, and is of far less stress and work in the long run - I haven't yet given up hope. Perhaps we will be the ones to show them a better way forward through our efforts.

Hello xxx,
Three weeks has passed since my original inquiry (and subsequent request for a report of progress which has gone unanswered). There has been no information or clarification forthcoming from the ministry, and an unacceptable lack of transparency and communication on this critical issue.

If I hear nothing from BC Parks by the end of this week, I will be filing a comprehensive series of FOI requests on this topic of broad scope and breadth to obtain a complete and finely detailed picture of the new policy.

Respectfully,
Chris Ludwig
CARRYING CAPACITY—NEW MANAGEMENT TOOL FOR DAY PASS HAS NO EXPLANATION IN AFFECTED PARK MASTER PLANS
According to the BC Parks website, it has determined the carrying capacity of the trails and parking lots of the parks covered in the day pass system. See the graphic below from its day-use pass general information page.
A cursory search of the park master plans for Garibaldi and Cypress for the term "carrying capacity" did not find any relevant hits related to non-commercial park operations such as hiking. According to its website, the master plan for Mount Seymour is not available online, possibly because it is so out of date. The Stawamus Chief master plan merely says its objective is to "promote the principles of carrying capacity and risk management to protect the park’s resources."
Parking at Cypress and Mount Seymour is virtually unlimited in summer since the large parking lots cater to the enormous demand from downhill skiers. Stawamus Chief is accessible on foot or bicycle from Squamish, and has large parking areas nearby with significant additional parking along Mamquam FSR and at Darrell Bay.
PARKING CAPACITY — MANAGEMENT TOOL FOR DAY PASS UNDER THE MICROSCOPE
BC Parks uses parking capacity as a factor to determine how many day passes to allow. See my earlier post on the topic of Carrying Capacity that explains it. I did some quantitative analysis to see how germane parking capacity is to the carrying capacity.

I only looked at the South Coast region excluding Golden Ears because it uses vehicle passes. Cypress, Seymour and Stawamus Chief have virtually unlimited parking options. Rubble Creek has massive capacity because parking is possible along the 2 km park road. Diamond Head and Cheakamus trailheads probably each have between 50 to 100 parking spots, more so at Diamond Head.
Cheakamus parking lot is outside the park. So, it may not even be legal for BC Parks to restrict parking and check for passes until past the park boundary about 600 meters in from the parking lot.

Cypress and Seymour have huge parking lots for downhill skiers. Stawamus Chief has huge amounts of available parking outside the park along Mamquam FSR and at Darrell Bay.