In yet another effort to get people to maintain social distancing orders during a global pandemic, the B.C. provincial government has announced that all campgrounds and most provincial parks have been shut down.
A statement from the government confirms that they have received complaints from public, RCMP and First Nations, as well as regional and municipal governments about the increase in visitors to provincial parks.
These complaints revolved around the fact that many individuals and families were ignoring the provincial health order to stay at least 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people.
As a result, the following provincial parks are now closed to the public:
- Alice Lake Provincial Park (partial closure)
- Ancient Forest/Chun T’oh Whudujut Provincial Park
- Flores Island Provincial Park (partial closure)
- French Beach Provincial Park
- Gibson Marine Provincial Park (partial closure)
- Goldstream Provincial Park
- Gowlland Tod Provincial Park
- Juan De Fuca Provincial Park
- LAU,WELNEW/John Dean Provincial Park
- Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park
- Maquinna Marine Provincial Park
- Porteau Cove Provincial Park (partial closure)
- Spectacle Lake Provincial Park
- Joffre Lakes Provincial Park
- Murrin Provincial Park
- Shannon Falls Provincial Park
- Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park
- Stawamus Chief Provincial Park
Day-use services and facilities will remain available at the following provincial parks:
- Mount Seymour Provincial Park – access restricted to some lower elevation trails; parking and road access closed
- Cypress Provincial Park – access restricted to some lower elevation trails; parking and road access closed
- Miracle Beach Provincial Park
- Wells Gray Provincial Park – winter-accessible day-use sites remain open at this time. These include Helmcken Falls, Dawson Falls and Majerus Warming Hut.
All campgrounds are closed until April 30, 2020.
Full refunds will automatically be provided to existing reservation holders during this time and given the volume of cancellations, people are asked to allow seven to 10 days for their cancellation and refund to be processed.
“The mental and physical wellness benefit of being outside during the COVID-19 pandemic response is important, but keeping people safe right now is the most important thing we can be doing,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
“Until we flatten the transmission curve of COVID-19 and people strictly comply with the PHO physical distancing requirement, provincial park access will be restricted.”
Backcountry trails will remain open, but maintenance services, including grooming, have been suspended. Trail users are encouraged to use local facilities and not travel for recreation purposes.