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Trails at popular Metro Vancouver parks closed due to flooding, cliff slides, and other weather damage

A portion of a cliff at Pacific Spirit Park has slid onto the beach, accounting for one of the trail closures

While Vancouver has escaped the recent extreme weather relatively unscathed, there is still some damage around the city. 

At Pacific Spirit Park, the park that wraps around UBC, the Foreshore Trail has been closed between Wreck Beach north to Tower Beach.

"What we're aware of at this point is four slides on Wreck Beach between Trail 3 and Trail 6," says Richard Wallis, Metro Vancouver parks operations supervisor. "That area is closed to the public now."

The regional district, who operates the park, will have a geotechnical assessment done shortly to figure out if there are imminent concerns with the stability of the sandstone cliffs. Wallis notes there have been more than a dozen slides in the area in recent years and that there's natural erosion going on.

Luckily there isn't any damage to infrastructure and no reports of injuries in the most recent slides.

The geotechnical assessment will also determine the cause of the slides, as they occurred after heavy rains and large waves.

"I think more the heavy rain is what we've found in the past," Wallis says."They're a trigger for the sand cliffs to lose stability."

Photos on social media show trees and debris have been swept onto the beaches after the cliffs gave way.

It's not the first time in 2021 the area has sustained damage. During the summer, fires in the area caused closures as well, with flames burning near the top of Trail 5.

Foreshore Trail is not the only area of Pacific Spirit Park currently closed because of weather damage, either, as Wallis notes it's been a busy 10 days for the parks department.

The Lily of the Valley Trail is closed due to flooding and a series of small closures are still in place after trees fell during the recent tornado that struck UBC. There's a map of those closures on their website.

Many other regional parks have warnings and closures as well due to the wet weather and flooding; for example of all Grouse Mountain Regional Park, including the Grouse Grind, is completely closed due to hazardous conditions. All are listed on Metro Vancouver's website. Wallis notes the closures are for the safety of parks users.

"We'd ask that people respect the closures in the parks and check the website before they come to the parks," he adds. "Be prepared for the conditions and know that Metro Vancouver is working to protect people and parks with the temporary closures."