Stories from the Field – Maple Bay Day Use Area Rebuild



From rocks and rubble to a welcoming summer destination once again. Rebuilding the flood-impacted Maple Bay day use area in time for a busy summer season at Cultus Lake Park.

We’ve been reflecting on the impacts of extreme weather events over the last year in many BC Parks. In addition to informing you about the impacts, we also want to make sure you’re updated on the work being done to rebuild after such an impactful year.  

Maple Bay day use area in Cultus Lake Park was impacted by flooding caused by the atmospheric river events in November 2021. The floods brought in a huge deposit of gravel and rubble that covered the day use area and the nearby amphitheater. The gravel and rubble covered picnic tables, filled up outhouses and completely covered the grass and beach area where thousands of people come each summer to picnic, swim and enjoy Cultus Lake.  

After a busy spring of clean up and rebuilding, the popular day use area is now open to the public once again. We caught up with Amy Ross, the acting Lower Mainland recreation section head for BC Parks, who worked alongside area supervisor Rob Wilson and a number of contractors to get the day use area rebuilt this spring.  

What happened to Maple Bay day use area in November 2021?  

Amy: During the atmospheric river events, a huge amount of water and debris burst the banks of Watt Creek, depositing a three- foot layer of rocks and rubble over the day use area. Picnic tables, the amphitheater, and facilities were all significantly impacted.  

Watt Creek, within the Maple Bay Day Use Area, post flood event

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Submerged picnic tables
Facility damage from the flood

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          Since that significant event, what work has been done? 

Amy: After the atmospheric river event, emergency works began right away to rebuild the berm to re-establish the channel of Watt Creek. In April 2022, work began to repair the day use area itself. We hired a contractor to dig out and remove the covered and damaged picnic tables. The landscape was recontoured in order to make it level again, and 800 yards of soil was brought in and seeded. We installed new concrete pads and picnic tables, repaired and replaced washroom facilities, and replaced damaged asphalt to re-establish access trails. The final touches to the site were completed in June to get it ready for re-opening on June 30.   

Recontoured site, April 2022

Picnic tables in, and the grass is growing! June 2022

What can visitors expect this summer?  

Amy: Well, there will be a little more rubble than you’re used to! The shoreline looks different but is still great for enjoying Cultus Lake. If you plan on visiting, please bring your own chairs and/or blanket, as picnic tables are limited.  

What was the biggest challenge you faced working on this project?  

Amy: The quick timelines! It was a fast-moving project to get the area open for the summer.  

And what about the biggest success? 

Amy: There was so much damage at Maple Bay day use area that I wasn’t sure how much we were going to be able to repair and rebuild in time for this summer. However, we’re really proud of the finished product. The site looks amazing and we’re really excited to welcome back the public. 

What are next steps?  

Amy: We worked very quickly on this first phase of rebuilding to get the area open this summer. However, our next phase of the project is to look at options for how we build it back to anticipate future climate impacts. More work needs to be done so that when other extreme weather events take place in the future, the day use area is more resilient to deal with them.  

For up to date information about the parks you visit, check out the individual park webpages: https://bcparks.ca/explore/  

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