Visits to regional parks up 67 percent during COVID-19 pandemic: Metro Vancouver

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      Metro Vancouver says visits to regional parks have increased due to COVID-19.

      This means that people are not simply staying home during the pandemic.

      They are also going outdoors, and regional parks are a popular destination.

      Metro Vancouver notes on its website that visits in April 2020 were up 67 percent compared to the same month last year.

      In March, visits rose 26 percent compared to the same month in 2019.

      February numbers were up 48 percent as against the same time last year.

      Visits were down 19 percent in January 2020 compared to the same month last year.

      There are a lot of parks to choose from.

      Metro Vancouver maintains 22 regional parks, five greenways, two ecological conservancy areas, and three regional reserves.

      The regional park system covers a total of 13,557 hectares.

      Last year, Metro Vancouver recorded a total of 11.9 million visits to regional parks.

      That’s a 2.9 percent increase over the five-year average

      By far, Pacific Regional Spirit Park was the most popular destination, recording 2.6 million vists in 2019.

      In addition to Pacific Regional Spirit Park, the top five include Boundary Bay Regional Park, Capilano River Regional Park, Derby Reach Regional Park, and Belcarra Regional Park.

      Jamie Vala, a manager in the regional parks service of Metro Vancouver, wrote in a previous report that walking and hiking are the most common activity in parks and greenways.

      This is followed by dog walking, and nature and wildlife viewing.

      “As the region’s population continues to grow and communities become increasingly urban, regional parks become more and more valued by the region’s residents and important to the ecosystems we protect,” Vala wrote in the report.

      As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Metro Vancouver is encouraging people to “do their part to keep themselves and others safe during this critical time”.

      People should choose parks in their neighbourhood, and keep a distance of at least two metres from others.