Two new Ministry of Forests Recreation Sites opened this year in the Squamish Forest District, and two existing campgrounds were increased in size and upgraded.
The announcement comes despite the decision by the provincial government to get out of the business of building and maintaining recreation sites after this year.
The Upper Lillooet Recreation Site is "brand new" according to Forest Ministry recreation/range specialist John Crooks. The Upper Lillooet is located in the northeast section of Lillooet Lake on the Upper Lillooet Forest Service Road.
"Its the closest camping to Meager Creek," said Crooks.
"What it does essentially is replace the old and deactivated campground that was at Meager Creek at one time."
The Meager Creek Hot Springs, a popular day visitor area that is operated by the Ministry of Forests, had more than 10,000 visitors last year. The springs are 7.5 km up the road from the Upper Lillooet camping area, and are expected to be busy through the summer.
There are 29 sites at the new campground, including a wheelchair accessible area and outhouse.
The other new camping area is the Twin One Recreation Site on the western edge of Lillooet Lake, just north of Twin One Creek.
A rough camping spot had existed at the site prior to this season, but for the most part the camping area is new with 15 sites, a boat launch, a beach and day parking.
The Cal-Cheak Recreation Site campground has been upgraded, with the Ministry almost doubling the number of sites to 38. There are three different camping spots, the Callaghan Camp, North Site and South Site.
The Sea to Sky Trail runs through Cal-Cheak, which is located on Highway 99 approximately 13 km south of Whistler Village. Its a popular spot that hosted approximately 6,000 visitors last year.
Another 12 campsites have been created at the Cat Lake Recreation Site, which is located near Squamish.
This is a busy site for day visitors because of the warm lake and its proximity to Alice Lake Park. There are now 35 camping spots in the area, and include a wheelchair accessible outhouse.
All 18 of the recreational sites in the Squamish Forest District will be open this year.
But as of the fall, the Ministry will be attempting to find private investors to take over these Forest Service areas.
The Ministry will be doing the same thing with Forest Service trails, including large sections of the Sea to Sky Trail, and almost 35,000 kilometres of Forest Service roads which people have been using to access recreational areas and the backcountry.
"Very clearly by this time next year well be pretty much out of the business in this district, and either other interested parties will be managing them, or the sites will be closed," said Crooks.
A full description and maps for these recreation sites are available at the Ministry of Forests Web site at www.for.gov.bc.ca.
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