Some provincial parks to open May 14

And it’s for day-use only until June

Morice Lake Provincial Park is to open May 14 for day-use only. (BC Parks photo)

Select provincial parks will open May 14 for day use only with camping to be allowed as of June 1.

The decision follows last week’s release by the provincial government of a series of principles to gradually open up services and facilities.

All provincial parks were first closed April 7 in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In this area parks such as the Morice Lake Provincial Park, Tyee Lake Provincial Park and Babine Mountains Provincial Park will open.

“B.C. Parks is taking a phased approach to safely lift the system closure, focusing initially on day-use parks and protected areas that can accommodate: measured use and lower environmental impacts and which can also maintain physical distancing guidelines,” a release stated.

Physical distancing guidelines are to give visitors space between each other in parking lots and on trails.

The gradual openings will also mean a ramp up of services such as garbage collection and pit toilets or washrooms, depending upon a park’s amenities.

The May 14 re-opening also extends to trails, beaches, picnic areas and boat launches for day-use only.

The guidelines follow principles laid down by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

When camping is allowed, depending upon facilities in each park, there may be more distance between campsites and limits as to the number of people allowed in a campground.

While provincial principles encourage people to enjoy themselves outdoors, guidance remains as to limit groups to 50 people in number and to respect individual physical distancing.

Visitors are being asked to bring their own hand sanitizer and people who are sick should not visit a park.

And visitors are being asked to only visit parks closer to their homes.

“Some communal facilities such as shower buildings will open with enhanced cleaning protocols, while campgrounds that require visitors to use shared cooking facilities and backcountry cabins will remain closed,” BC Parks has indicated.

Parks that remain closed for the time being are those that are popular, meaning it would be difficult to adhere to physical distancing guidance.

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