The B.C. government is closing all provincial parks, on the advice of RCMP, local governments and search and rescue organizations about the risks associated with the COVID-19 coronavirus.
B.C. Parks is also extending the ban on all camping in provincial parks until May 31, after campgrounds and day facilities were closed March 24.
Most people were observing physical distancing while using parks and trails, but some were not and enforcement in wilderness areas is too difficult, Environment Minister George Heyman said April 8. The decision comes as the Easter weekend approaches and spring weather arrives for some in B.C.
“This applies to British Columbians and out-of-province visitors who were planning to visit or stay in our provincial parks,” Heyman said. “The message is clear: stay home, avoid travel, do not put yourself or others at risk.”
The extension of the camping ban to the end of May aligns with that of Canada’s national parks. Refunds from the B.C. Parks reservation system will be issued automatically, the ministry said.
Forest ministry recreation sites, facilities and trails were also closed March 24 as a precaution against COVID-19 exposure.
Any changes to the status of provincial parks will be posted to the B.C. Parks website.