Metro Vancouver parks saw an estimated 14.3 million visits in 2022, marking a 13 per cent decline from 2020 and 2021, when over 16 million trips were counted in each year, according to the regional government’s annual parks report.
Still, the 14.3 million visits are well above the three-year annual average of 12 million visits prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which spurred the increased interest in the region’s 25 parks.
And, the report highlighted three parks that experienced a record number of visits: Crippen Regional Park on Bowen Island, with about 355,000 visits; Delta South-Surrey Regional Greenway, with about 96,000 visits; and Seymour River Regional Greenway, with about 43,000 visits.
While these parks recorded more visitors than ever, they are among those with the fewest totals.
The most popular park, by a long shot, is Pacific Spirit Regional Park, located between the University of British Columbia and Vancouver. The park saw an estimated 3.6 million visits in 2022, down six per cent from 2021.
The next two most popular regional parks, with visits reaching just over one million in 2022, were Belcarra Regional Park and Boundary Bay Regional Park, in Delta.
North Vancouver’s Capilano River Regional Park came close to one million visits with an estimated 992,000 visits. Other popular parks include Surrey’s Campbell Valley Regional Park (917,000) and Derby Reach Regional Park (908,000).
Metro Vancouver added 21 hectares of parkland at Kanaka Creek Regional Park in 2022, costing the government $5 million.
This year, Metro Vancouver has added 97 hectares of parkland on Bowen Island, finalizing the purchase of 24 parcels of land on May 9. Metro Vancouver intends to put 100 new campsites in the park.
Despite the land purchases, the new park must still be approved by Bowen Island Municipality, which has passed the proposal on a first reading but awaits further planning details from Metro Vancouver before a public hearing is set for October, according to a May 17 parks committee report.