Parks Canada Closes Facilities Amid COVID-19 Crisis

In another move signalling the severity of the COVID-19 crisis, Parks Canada has closed its doors. The organization that oversees visitor services and more in all National Parks across Canada has announced widespread changes as the COVID-19 pandemic worsens.

As of Thursday, the agency has suspended all visitors services in national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas across the country.

While the natural areas will be open to the public, public facilities like information centres and restrooms will be closed. It might seem odd to close an open-air, outdoor activity, but the potential for gatherings and social interaction at this point has been deemed too great of a risk.

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What exactly does it mean? Well, in Tetrahedron Provincial Park, all backcountry cabins are closed. At Cypress and Seymour Mountain in British Columbia, ski touring access has been restricted.

The trails are still there, but is it smart to be using them? Photo :: Courtesy of Parks Canada

“We are following the advice of public health experts and taking steps to support the Government of Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce risks to visitors, employees, and other users of Parks Canada spaces.”, Parks Canada said in a note on its website.

The move also sends a clear signal—and it isn’t that you should go defecate on top of Mount Robson. The message? This is not the time to be pushing deep into Canada’s wilderness. Now is the time to be relaxing, enjoying activities near your home, and keeping a safe distance from others until the virus has been further contained. — ML