Cypress Mountain backcountry closure in conflict with park master plan

November 29, 2016

Cypress Mountain backcountry access closure not sanctioned in master plan

BC Parks is failing to follow their own master plan by preventing access to the Howe Sound Crest Trail between the hours of 10 PM to 9 AM during the winter months. The concern with public safety expressed by Mr. Jim Standen, Assistant Deputy Minister is a sham. For further information on the closure read here:

The flag person that is currently preventing backcountry access could easily be stationed where the groomer crosses the trail instead of at the gate. Some strongly suspect the concern is not with public safety but that backcountry users are taking up the early bird parking spaces and causing paying customers to walk further. The inequity has resulted in the creation of a policy to prevent park access, a policy that is clearly not sanctioned in the park master plan.

The Cypress Provincial Park Master Plan, dated June 1997 and approved by Ray Peterson, District Manager, BC Parks & Ecological Reserves Planning Branch can be read here:

The selected excerpts below show clearly that BC Parks is failing to follow its own master plan. Bold highlights added by 2020.

Selected Excerpts from the Master Plan

page 6: Management and Development of Recreational Opportunities

The challenges include supporting the spirit and intent of the existing permit [Cypress Bowl Recreations Ltd.] which includes the opportunity to provide significant valid commercial recreational services, while ensuring that the evolving public expectations for non-commercial recreation experiences are sustained; ensuring that the legitimate recreation uses that are to be fostered in the Intensive Recreation Zone can be managed in a manner that is in harmony with users of adjacent zones;

page 17: Recreation Role

  • The park will continue to provide a wide variety of easily-accessible and affordable summer and winter recreation opportunities including nordic and alpine skiing, snowshoeing, backcountry skiing, tobogganing, snowplay, hiking, backcountry camping, picnicking, viewing, mountain biking, snowmobiling, wildlife observation, photography and nature appreciation.
  • Intensive recreation, both alpine and nordic skiing
  • There are a number of trails that connect Cypress Provincial Park with surrounding areas. The Baden-Powell and Howe Sound Crest trails provide the major foot access routes through Cypress Provincial Park.

page 38: Access Strategy


  • To provide year-round public access to all parts of the park subject to protection of environmentally sensitive areas, public safety and the rights granted to CBRL under Park Use Permit 1506;
  • To designate two public access [B-P and Howe Sound Crest] routes through the Controlled Recreation Area
  • To continue to provide adequate and varied vehicular and hiking access for visitors to experience the park while minimizing effects on the environment, wildlife, cultural features and other visitors’ enjoyment of the park


  • Cooperate with MOTH in providing and maintaining year-round vehicular access to the Cypress Bowl and Hollyburn areas. Snow removal, road maintenance and development of a roadway landscape plan is the responsibility of MOTH.
  • Finalize backcountry access corridors to Yew Lake/Howe Sound Crest trail, Black Mountain and Hollyburn Mountain during the winter months through the CRA.
  • Work with the District of West Vancouver in developing a trail network system.
  • In cooperation with hiking and mountaineering groups and CBRL, improve and maintain a variety of hiking trails throughout the park.
  • Continue to assess and review public access conflicts when they arise and work towards their resolution.
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