Fee collection machines like this one at Wickaninnish Beach are often mistaken for parking meters but they can be ignored in 2017 as the Pacific Rim National Park will be free.

Pacific Rim National Park free to see in 2017

There’s no need to bring wallets to the beach next year.

There’s no need to bring wallets to the beach next year because the Pacific Rim National Park is waiving its entry fees to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

“This includes Pacific Rim National Park Reserve’s admission fee, which is often mistaken as a parking fee. Admission fees at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve are paid by all visitors, whether arriving by car, boat, bicycle or on foot,” said Parks Canada spokesperson Laura Judson.

“They are collected at pay use machines in parking lots and staffed visitor facilities…With the admission fee waived in 2017, visitors to Pacific Rim National Park Reserve will experience the magnificent beaches, trails, interpretive programs, Kwisitis Visitor Centre and other amenities, for free.”

She added fees associated with camping and permits will still apply.

The Pacific Rim National Park’s daily fees range from $2.90 per student to $7.80 per adult and $19.60 per family and Canada’s federal government will foot the bill to ensure services aren’t lost despite little revenue coming in.

“This is part of a $83.3 million investment over five years, that also includes free for all children under 18 years of age, beginning in 2018,” said the Park’s Visitor Experience Manager Morag Hutcheson.

“This investment will ensure that Parks Canada will continue to fund programs, maintain assets, and ensure visitors have an amazing experience in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.”

Hutcheson said providing free entry next year could lead to increased interest in future years.

“In Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, we are looking forward to celebrating Canada’s birthday and welcoming Canadians to learn about, rediscover and connect with awe-inspiring rainforest, beaches, wildlife, and cultural heritage in the park reserve,” she said.

“By encouraging Canadians to visit their national parks and historical places, and providing them with the information and means to enjoy them, Parks Canada allows more Canadians to experience the outdoors and learn about our heritage.”