In 1939, the official opening of the Lions Gate Bridge linking Vancouver and West Vancouver by His Majesty King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II, signaled the end of the West Vancouver Ferry era and heralded the start of a population expansion in the city. As the population of the area increased there was an increasing necessity for more areas for skiing and hiking, which resulted in the creation of Cypress Park.
The park has many natural highlights, including several sparkling mountain lakes, such as Blue Gentian, First, Yew, Cabin, and West Lakes, that are nestled below the peaks of Mount Strachan (1,454 m), Black Mountain (1,217 m), and Hollyburn Mountain (1,325 m).
Where the access road enters the park, at an elevation of 300 m, you pass first through a coastal Douglas fir forest. This is a fire-scarred area with even-age stands of mixed Douglas fir and western hemlock. Logging activities prior to the establishment of the park have opened much of the forest floor to the luxuriant growth of vine maple and cedar.
Between 800 m and 940 m elevation, the forest gradually changes and, as the ridge tops are approached at 1,300 m above sea level, mountain hemlock, amabalis fir, and yellow cypress, for which the park is named, predominate. The lush understory consists largely of shade-tolerant ferns, huckleberries, red and white heather, and false azaleas.
Invasive plants occur in the park and are being managed by BC Parks and partners. For more information, please see the Cypress Provincial Park Invasive Plant Management Strategy [PDF] .
A variety of large and small mammals inhabit the park. Coyotes and deer are often seen close to the access road. Black bears, squirrels, hares, and weasels may be encountered in the backcountry. Adding colour and sound to the park are a variety of birds like ravens, gray jays, chickadees, warblers, woodpeckers, grouse, hawks, and owls.