All provincial parks in British Columbia are being shut down to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy made the announcement on Wednesday morning, saying that the closure is a response to both “federal and provincial directives that people should stay close to home.”
“This temporary measure means that people should not be going to provincial parks until further notice,” reads a statement from the provincial government.
The decision to close provincial parks was made based on input from the RCMP, municipal governments, the First Nations, and local search-and-rescue organizations.
“While many people are observing the physical distancing requirements set by the provincial health officer, some continue to ignore the order, making enforcement in a wilderness setting challenging,” the ministry said.
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The announcement was also made prior to the upcoming long weekend, as well as the beginning of the camping season.
“I understand and share the love people in British Columbia have for the outdoors and the connection between health and proximity to nature,” says George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We tried to provide a safe space for people to get some exercise and fresh air in our beautiful parks. But it has proven too challenging to maintain a safe distance between visitors.”
“This action is difficult but necessary. We look forward to the day we can welcome people back to our wonderful parks.”
BC Parks has also announced that the ban for camping in provincial parks is being extended to May 31, 2020. Refunds for booking will be sent automatically.