VANCOUVER -- Regional parks across Metro Vancouver are seeing record numbers of visitors as Lower Mainland residents seek outings that comply with pandemic rules.

Park officials say more than 1.2 million people visited in January -- more than double the number of visits in January 2020 -- while total visits last year were up 38 per cent as residents stayed close to home to avoid spreading COVID-19.

All Metro Vancouver regional parks have stayed open throughout the pandemic -- although backcountry trails on North Shore parks -- including the Grouse Grind on Grouse Mountain -- are currently closed due to unsafe winter conditions.

Regional recreation areas across Metro Vancouver include 23 parks from Bowen Island east to Abbotsford, five greenways, two ecological conservancy areas and two regional park reserves.

(The Canadian Press)