In an effort to reduce visitors and lessen the risk of virus transmission, Parks Canada is temporarily suspending motor vehicle access for visitors to national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas as of March 25 until further notice.
Despite efforts to reduce visitation including closing facilities and suspending visitor services, national parks were reporting high volumes of visitors after warnings from public health officials to stay home and avoid public gatherings.
⚠ NEW: To encourage Cdns to #StayHome and minimize risks to our visitors & employees, we are temporarily suspending all visitor vehicle access to #ParksCanada places – effective 12:01 a.m. on Wed., March 25, 2020. https://t.co/x4U68Hi1GB #FlattenTheCurve #StayHomeSaveLives pic.twitter.com/vEVaZogLye
— Parks Canada (@ParksCanada) March 24, 2020
On Twitter, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said visitation soared, and caused “an issue as our trails and day-use areas were suddenly quite crowded. To be clear, this is unsafe, it increases the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus.”
Highways and roadways passing through Parks Canada places will remain open, however, parking along them is not permitted.
And que up the Saturday crowded road near #ElbowFalls southwest of #Calgary it's spring in #Alberta break & a road this into the #RockyMountains was packed. Guess the @globeandmail was a day short? pic.twitter.com/rDzW5n2BNW
— @YegTomBraid (@YegTomBraid) March 22, 2020
The federal decision comes on the heels of the Ontario government’s decision to close all provincial parks to the public from March 19 to April 30. This affects day-use areas, car camping, backcountry camping, roofed accommodations, and all public buildings.
According to the release, any person or group with a reservation for arrival up to April 30, 2020, will automatically receive a full refund with no penalty.
⚠ UPDATE ⚠ Health and safety of our visitors is our top priority. Starting at noon on March 23 all visitor access to @BrucePNP will be closed until further notice. Details here: https://t.co/QTdAS05pfs #FlattenTheCurve pic.twitter.com/d3t13DIIQv
— Bruce Peninsula NP (@BrucePNP) March 23, 2020
If you’re struggling to cope with being indoors, we’ve got a few recommendations for how you can stay entertained.