District of Squamish adopts camping bylaw to enforce no camping restrictions in sensitive areas

The District of Squamish has adopted a camping bylaw intended to direct camping within the municipal boundary to designated campsites, and enable recreation-driven camping in a way that mitigates social and environmental impacts. The bylaw provides the District of Squamish with a tool to enforce no camping restrictions within a Camping Bylaw Zone, identifying sensitive areas along the Mamquam Forest Service Road and Powerhouse Springs Road, and the Squamish Estuary and Spit.

“The density of people camping on our back roads within municipal boundaries has increased to the point where there is significant concern about the impacts to our community and environment,” says District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. “Recreation-driven camping is a big part of our community culture. We want people to come and experience Squamish, and we want people to stay and camp here in designated campgrounds. Recognizing the growth of visitors to our community, Council will continue to advocate with the Province of B.C. to expand existing campgrounds or establish new ones to match the interest in our community and our world class recreational amenities.”

There are more than 700 campsites in Squamish that are equipped with infrastructure such as fire pits, wildlife-resistant containers and education on how to responsibly enjoy recreation assets.

The bylaw aims to balance the perspectives and values shared among Squamish’s van dwelling community of full-time Squamish residents who live and work in the community year-round.

“We are working with representatives of the year-round van dwelling community to understand any unintended impacts that this bylaw may have,” says District of Squamish Senior Director of Community Services Natasha Golbeck. “We’ve worked to address some of their concerns, while balancing the needs of other residents as well. Dialogue with the entire community will remain ongoing.”

Enforcement approaches will involve bringing awareness and education to campers in order to highlight the restricted areas and promote campground alternatives. Municipal bylaw officers, in conjunction with police and provincial agencies, will focus enforcement efforts on seasonal campers through routine patrols in the Estuary and the Spit, as well as the Mamquam Forest Service Road and Powerhouse Springs Road,  and adjacent parcels of crown land.

Anyone camping within the identified sensitive areas will be asked to relocate. Campers that are unwilling to voluntarily move to an authorized camping area will be subject to a fine of $100. The Traffic Bylaw already prohibits camping on municipal roadways.

Tourism Squamish has launched a campsite availability calendar to assist campers with finding available campsites in Squamish. The tool provides campers with a calendar identifying available campsites each night at local campgrounds. View the calendar here.

For more information including a map of the Camping Bylaw Zone and frequently asked questions, visit the Camping Bylaw web page.

July 24, 2019

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