Get your green on at a Golden Ears Provincial Park trail

April 1, 2016


Golden Ears Provincial Park in Maple Ridge was created with both day-trippers and campers in mind.

Here’s a spring day trip taken right out of our 52 Best Day Trips from Vancouver

ACCESS: Golden Ears Park lies 11 kilometres north of Highway 7 in Maple Ridge, about 50 kilometres east of Vancouver.

Think you’ve seen every colour of green imaginable?

Think again.

The verdant hues on display in Golden Ears Provincial Park challenge the most panoptic palettes.

Hurry out to Maple Ridge while the spring spectacle lasts—specifically, along the twin trails that follow Gold Creek’s course.

Take your time.

Though still soggy in places, the hour-long stroll along Lower Falls Trail or its companion, East Canyon Trail, is a marvel and suited to all ability levels.

That’s where the likes of Eiichiro and Katsuko Ochiai head.

Since returning to Vancouver after 25 years in Pennsylvania, the retired chemistry professor and his wife have journeyed to the park time and again.

“We had to come back to Vancouver, no question,” they said. “This is our fifth visit to Golden Ears and the first time we’ve been here in spring. The greens are really marvelous. We don’t travel as much as we once did, when we took our kids to Banff each year,” said the hot spring–loving duo. “Now we prefer to go on day trips.”

Golden Ears was created with both day-trippers and campers in mind.

Logged and flooded in the 1920s, devastated by a fire in the 1930s, levelled by a typhoon in the 1960s, and on life support since B.C. Parks’ budget was gutted in the 2000s, the park continues to put up a brave face, a tribute to its incomparable wilderness attributes.

Jade-hued liverworts and mosses cloak massive cedar stumps and carpet a forest floor jackstrawed with blowdowns. Grassy witch’s-hair lichens drape the boughs and trunks of evergreens like fishnets.

Most striking of all is the creek’s deep-emerald tint, a reminder of what makes both gems and wild spaces precious.

Locally, groups such as West Vancouver’s Friends of Cypress Provincial Park have attempted to counter the double whammy of increased public-land responsibilities—B.C. Parks currently has an inventory of almost 1,000 parks, protected areas, ecological reserves and conservancies, from one hectare to almost one million hectares in size—coupled with decreased government spending.

In its spring newsletter, the FCPP estimates the system is currently running on 25 percent less funding and 30 percent less staff with 35 percent more parks and protected areas to administer than a decade ago.

Insufficient funds to maintain trails in Golden Ears is a case in point.

A notice posted at B.C. Parks’ website states that there is currently no time frame to replace a bridge on the Golden Ears Trail and that hikers should be prepared to wade in order to reach the twin peaks.

Given the current depth of the alpine snow pack, that’s a chilling summer prospect, indeed.

Better to put such thoughts aside and visit the park’s Lower and Upper Falls while the spring freshet is in full force.

Text CR Jack Christie
Photo CR Louise Christie
Original Article