Officials to restrict Quarry Rock trail to 70 hikers at a time
Published Thursday, May 3, 2018 6:43PM PDT
Officials on the North Shore have hatched an usual plan to deal with overcrowding on a popular hiking trail in Deep Cove.
Starting on May 18, rangers with the District of North Vancouver will try to maintain a limit of 70 hikers on the Quarry Rock trail at one time in a bid to keep the attraction safe and enjoyable for all.
That means hikers could be asked to wait at the trail head until some people exit and cars could be turned away from the area if things get too busy.
North Vancouver District Mayor Richard Walton said some visitors might be disappointed when they're turned back or told to wait for their turn on the trail, but that the plan is necessary.
"The general feel from our staff that have been up there is that if you have more than 70 people up on the rock, it could be very dangerous," he told CTV News Thursday.
Walton said vehicle traffic caused by Quarry Rock hikers is also making it difficult for residents to access their homes and taking its toll on local business.
"I understand why everyone wants to come here—it's such a beautiful place—but the parking is definitely an issue," said one hiker who lives locally.
As a result, the district will start enforcing three-hour parking regulations in parts of the bayside town.
Tour buses will also be stopped from coming into the area unless they have a prepaid licence for the visit. Those who disobey the rule could face a $500 fine.
The 1.9-kilometre route to Quarry Rock is part of the Baden Powell Trail. And with Instagram-worthy views of Indian Arm and the mountains around Belcarra, this relatively accessible hike has become one of the most popular tourist destinations on the North Shore.
"It's extreme popular and, unfortunately, it's been picked up by some international trade publications, including Air France's in-flight magazine as one of the places to go in North America," Walton said.
"That means an awful lot of people come and they don't realize that there's really no parking lot for it and there's very limited access."
According to the mayor, that also poses safety concerns should there be an emergency on the trail. There were 30 reported incidents on the trail last year.
"In some of those cases, (first responders) simply couldn't get here because of parking and traffic backed up," he said.
Hikers heading to and from Quarry Rock Thursday had mixed reviews of the plan.
"It just gets really intense. It gets really, really busy, so I gets really crowded," said one hiker, but added that 70 seemed like too small a number.
Valerie Mak, who had just finished the trail, said she agreed with the plan if makes it safer for everyone, but also said more people should be allowed to hike at the same time.
"There's a lot of people, but everyone's going at their pace, so it's OK," she said. "Everyone wants their Instagram photo, right?"
Walton said the new rules won't alter the Quarry Rock experience as long as hikers do their research and come prepared to wait a little.
"The challenge we have is that unless you keep some kind of turnover here, you're restricting the number of people who can enjoy the Deep Cove experience," he said.
With files from CTV Vancouver's Shannon Paterson