No fines issued in provincial parks over May longweekend

Activities restricted to day-use only

Houston residents who headed into provincial parks over the May long weekend were very cooperative in sticking to day use and not camping overnight, reports BC Parks.

Day use of selected provincial parks was approved as part of a gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions going into the long weekend but camping was only allowed as of June 1.

“The majority of people were in compliance with the day use only requirement and also with physical distancing and they were thoroughly enjoying being back in the parks,” BC Parks indicated in a statement.

Park rangers spoke to 129 people in the Babine and North Tweedsmuir areas from May 15-19.

“Where individuals and/or groups were encountered trying to camp, park rangers used education and verbal instruction to gain compliance. No tickets were issued,” the statement continued.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service didn’t issue any tickets or warnings for provincial park use as well in the entire region for the May long weekend.

BC Parks opened its online campground reservation system two weeks ago and quickly found it overwhelmed with people trying to secure their favourite camping sites for the summer. British Columbians can now camp in BC Parks for a stay beginning on June 1.

With people being encouraged not to stray too far from home this summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a surge in camping interest.

The provincial ministry of environment has announced camping in provincial parks will be open to only B.C residents this summer.

People with previous bookings received an email this morning, informing them that non-B.C. residents with existing reservations should call before June 15 to cancel and get a refund. The email stated that any new reservations made after May 25 by non-B.C. residents will be subject to immediate cancellation without a refund.

But while camping is being allowed in provincial parks, COVID-19 precautions are in place, chiefly concerning sanitation.

And people who are sick are being asked not to use provincial parks facilities.

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