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Visitor Use Management in the Sea to Sky Region

Overlooking Squamish

Since the expansion of the Sea to Sky Highway in preparation for the 2010 Winter Olympics, recreational use in the region between West Vancouver and Whistler/Pemberton Valley has increased dramatically.

The Province of BC,Squamish Nation, Líl̓wat Nation and N'Quatqua have worked together to guide future visitor use management and monitoring. The work addresses the impacts from visitor use on cultural values and opportunities, the environment, wildlife and the experience of visitors. The process also includes collaboration with local governments and engagement with stakeholders and the public.

The Fraser Basin Council has been honoured to support the process through facilitation, process design and engagement. Using an ethical space approach to meeting design, FBC facilitated the development of Visitor Use Management Frameworks (VUMFs) for Meager and Keyhole Hot Springs and for Hawint/Tenquille Lake.

A Visitor Use Management Strategy is currently under development for the Shannon Basin, applying the same approach that helps to provide a reasonable level of public access while prioritizing long-term ecosystem health and protection of Indigenous culture and traditional use values.

To learn more on this and related work, see the Province of BC site on Sea to Sky Visitor Use Management.

Nqw̓elqw’elústen (Meager Creek) and Múmleqs (Keyhole) Hot Springs

Meager Creek Hot Springs

The Province of BC and Lil’wat Nation worked together in 2020 to address public visitation at Meager Creek Hot Springs and Keyhole Hot Springs, both natural hot springs in the Upper Lillooet River Valley near Pemberton. These areas are important for a number of reasons:

  • Hot springs are unique and popular destinations
  • Both the Meager Creek and Keyhole Hot Springs have high wildlife values, ecological values, cultural and spiritual values, as well as recreational values
  • Both places have seen impacts to these values from visitation in the past (e.g., human-wildlife conflicts, lack of proper food storage and garbage)
  • The Mount Meager Volcanic Complex is one of the most geologically active areas in North America, and risks to public safety exist from natural hazards (i.e., landslides)
  • New and upgraded industry roads in the Upper Lillooet and the Meager Creek drainage (i.e., permit roads supporting industrial activity such as logging) have improved vehicular access to both hot springs, though there are public motorized access restrictions in place to protect grizzly bears and public safety
  • The Meager Creek Hot Springs recreation site required closure after the 2010 Capricorn landslide destroyed access to the area, and the Keyhole Hot Springs and Keyhole-Lil’watátkwa7 trail are closed from April 1 – November 15 annually because of increased wildlife conflicts caused by recreational users. Despite the closures, people have continued to visit both places. (Note: At present, both the hot springs and trail have been closed year-round because of damage sustained during a wildfire in 2023. They will only reopen when the site has been assessed for landslide and other risk.)

The Fraser Basin Council supported the project partners by serving as an impartial facilitator, conducting outreach and engagement with stakeholders and the public, which included survey input. Phase 1 of the Visitor Use Management Strategy for these hot springs was completed in 2022.

To learn more, see the Province of BC background on Sea to Sky Visitor Use Management.

Háwint (Tenquille Lake)

The Tenquille Lake Visitor Use Management project is a partnership between the Province of BC, Líl̓wat Nation and N’Quatqua to guide the long-term management of the Tenquille Lake area, which is experiencing a high number of visitors.

Phase 1 of the Strategy was completed in 2022. It aims to:

  • protect Líl̓wat Nation and N’Quatqua cultural resources, values and opportunities
  • protect wildlife habitat, sensitive species and other important ecological values
  • provide recreational experiences and opportunities that align with Líl̓wat Nation and
    N’Quatqua cultural values and interests and that do not negatively impact these important values
  • provide guidance for recreation authorizations and activities in the project area

The Fraser Basin Council has assisted the project partners by serving as a facilitator and has also supported outreach and engagement with local governments, stakeholders and the public.

To learn more, see Phase 1 of the Visitor Use Management Strategy.

Shannon Basin (Ntsew̓ásus)

Sea to Sky recreation

The Shannon Basin is a popular year-round recreation destination for locals and tourists alike. Given growth in use, it became important to develop a management strategy to allow for sustainable recreation use and also protect the area’s important environmental and cultural values.

The area has been home to First Nations peoples for thousands of years and is within the traditional territories of the Squamish Nation (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw) and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. This area, and the resources within it, continue to be culturally, spiritually and economically important to First Nations communities today.

In 2019 work began on a Visitor Use Management Strategy for the greater Shannon Basin – an area encompassing the Stawamus Chief & Shannon Falls Provincial Parks and the Shannon Creek Watershed. This project is a partnership between the Province of BC and Squamish Nation. The Fraser Basin Council assisted the project partners by serving as an impartial facilitator and by conducting outreach and engagement with stakeholders.

FBC has supported the work, in including a 2019 public survey, to help inform a recreation management strategy for the Shannon Basin. See the What We Heard report on the summary of survey results.

To learn more on this and related work, see the Province of BC site on Sea to Sky Visitor Use Management.

About the Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in British Columbia.

Where We Work

We are grateful to live and work on the unceded ancestral territories of the Indigenous Nations of British Columbia.

Our Vision

Social well-being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

Strategic Priorities

At the Fraser Basin Council, our strategic priorities are to take action on climate change, support healthy watersheds and water resources, and build sustainable and resilient communities.

With our partners, we work on a range of collaborative, multi-sector initiatives, such as those focused on flood management, community wildfire planning, air quality improvement, energy-efficient buildings, green transportation (including the uptake of electric vehicles and expansion of charging infrastructure), watershed planning and youth-driven climate action projects.

FBC Program Sites

Plug in BC:


ReTooling for Climate Change:

FBC Youth:

Climate Action Toolkit: 

Salmon-Safe BC

Realizing UNDRIP Initiative

Contact Us

FBC staff work from our Vancouver, Kamloops, Williams Lake and Prince George offices, and from several other locations.

To reach us, see FBC Offices and FBC Staff or contact our administration office:

Fraser Basin Council
1st Floor, 470 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1V5

T: 604 488-5350