Haynes Point (swiws) partially open for walk-in day use

The day use area at Haynes Point (swiws) Provincial Park is now open to pedestrians, but the camping area remains closed to all. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Haynes Point (swiws) Provincial Park is one of the most pleasant places to walk or bicycle in Osoyoos.

Along with other provincial parks, it was closed throughout most of April and early May in part because people on the Lower Mainland were crowding into parks in that part of the province and failing to physically distance.

Haynes Point reopened for day use only last Thursday, May 14.

The park is ideal for seniors because it’s quite flat, the views are gorgeous and there’s often bird and animal life to observe. In these times of Covid-19, the wide road makes it very easy to exceed the two-metre physical distancing guideline.

Depending on the time of year and how much of the park is open, you may be able to walk or bike for two to three kilometres – ideal for someone like myself whose days of 15-km hikes are over.

The only real drawback is that it’s exposed to winds off the lake and at times gusts from the north can be powerful and icy.

Today I biked into the park to check what is open and what isn’t.

The first gate is now open meaning that people can park next to the boat launch. There’s limited parking, but when I was there, there were only three vehicles.

The second gate after the boat launch is closed. This means you can only enter the day use area by foot or bicycle. No motor vehicles.

Unlike the situation before closure in April, you can now use facilities such as picnic tables and the outhouses are open in the day use area.

You can take the bird watching trail, which goes off to the right shortly after you enter the park.

The park remains closed in the campsite area and there is a barrier across the road before the camping area with a “do not enter” notice. This means you cannot go to the end and do the loop.

The province says most provincial park campgrounds will open on June 1 with reservations open at 7 a.m. on Monday, May 25. They do not say specifically that these dates will apply at Haynes Point, but I expect the exceptions would be at other parks where physical distancing is more of a problem.

For further information, visit the BC Parks website.

Author: Richard McGuire

Richard McGuire is an Osoyoos photographer who worked at the Osoyoos Times between 2012 and 2018, first as reporter and then as editor. He has a long career in journalism as well as research, communication and management at the House of Commons in Ottawa and in the federal government.