Metro Vancouver is home to an extensive parks system, and hosts many protected or managed conversation areas. Besides municipalities, the province, and the federal government, Metro Vancouver is the steward of many of the largest parks in the region.
|Regional Parks & Greenways, Municipal and Provincial Parks & Protected Areas. Select map to enlarge.|
In the South of Fraser, Metro Vancouver operates Boundary Bay, Burns Bog, Tynehead, Derby Reach, Brae Island, Campbell Valley, and Aldergrove as well as other parks and protected areas.
Metro Vancouver keeps track of visitor usage statistics for its parks system, and posts this information semi-annually. Recently, Metro Vancouver posted its statistics for the period between January and August of this years, comparing it to the same period last year.
|Visitation by park, January to August 2015 compared to same period in 2014. Select table to enlarge.|
While Pacific Spirit Park around UBC is the busiest park in Metro Vancouver’s network, the parks with the largest increase in visitor volumes are in the South of Fraser. Surrey Bend is a new park, so it is no surprise that it has seen a 137% increase in visitor volume. Derby Reach, in the Township of Langley, is now the fourth busiest park in the Metro Vancouver network, seeing a 34% increase compared to 2014.
While it is good that Metro Vancouver parks are well used, one of the challenges for the regional district will be to continue to protect ecologically significant areas of their parks as more people visit them.
As parks like Derby Reach become more popular, Metro Vancouver will have to think about how people access these parks. How will Metro Vancouver encourage more people to visit their parks by walking, cycling, or transit instead of driving? Should Metro Vancouver be adding more parking lots to accommodate growth?
At Derby Reach, should Metro Vancouver provide a seasonal bus shuttle service between the park and Carvolth Park and Ride to accommodate the increase in visitor volumes?
More detailed usage statistics about Metro Vancouver’s park system can be found starting on page 42 of the November 5th, 2015 Regional Parks Committee agenda.