BC Parks announced the immediate closing of all provincial parks Wednesday morning, in response to pleas for increased action due to COVID-19.
Camping is banned until May 31, and all parks, protected areas, conservancies, and recreation areas are closed to the public.
"Many parks have already experienced peak season levels of use that have resulted in overwhelmed parking lots, trails and trailheads, making physical distancing difficult, if not possible in some locations," BC Parks said in a statement. "It has also resulted in damage to our facilities and the environment."
The public are prohibited from accessing parks , by vehicle or on foot, until further notice. This includes accessing trails, roads, day-use areas, lakes, and boat launches.
"Because physical distancing works, it is critical that we take every action needed to restrict the spread of COVID-19. This applies to British Columbians and out-of-province visitors who were planning to visit or stay at our provincial parks. The message is clear: stay home, avoid travel, do not put yourself or others at risk," said Environment Minister George Heyman.
Heyman said he understands the love British Columbians have for the outdoors and that the ministry tride to make visiting the parks a safe way for people to get exercise and enjoy the fresh air, but that "it has proven too challenging to maintain safe distance between visitors."
For bookings up to May 31, refunds will be issued automatically.
See the full news release from B.C. Parks here.
Email reporter Dillon Giancola at email@example.com.