Campsites, visitor centres, playgrounds, washrooms and day-use facilities are closed as of March 24 in most B.C. provincial parks as the province continues to increase restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic.
The closures extend to the end of April at least. The B.C. environment ministry made the decision after seeing an increase in visitors, with many people not complying with Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry’s directives on maintaining physical distance to avoid transmitting the novel coronavirus.
Complete park closures are being considered on a case-by-case basis as health officials look to prevent people from gathering in large numbers, particularly at beaches.
Full closures by B.C. Parks are already in effect at French Beach, Goldstream, Gowlland Tod, Juan de Fuca, Liard River Hot Springs, Maquinna Marine, Joffre Lakes, Murrin, Shannon Falls, Skaha Bluffs, Stawamus Chief and Ancient Forest Provincial Park near Prince George.
Exceptions are Miracle Beach Provincial Park in the Comox Valley and Wells Gray Provincial Park in the Cariboo Mountains of east-central B.C., where winter-accessible sites remain open.
A wide range of provincial recreation sites and trails are also closed.
Forests ministry parks around the province have also closed their camping until further notice.
“All campgrounds, camping opportunities and accommodations will be closed until at least April 30; as we move through this pandemic, this closure date will be reviewed,” says a notice on the B.C. Parks website. “Full refunds will be automatically provided to existing reservation holders during this time and given the volume of cancellations, please allow seven to 10 days for your cancellation and refund. Please do not cancel your own reservation as this will delay our ability to process your refund.”
B.C. Parks’ Discover Camping reservation system is suspended for all new reservations until further notice.