B.C. provincial parks closed to camping while some offer limited day-use facilities

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      B.C. announced a temporary closure of all camping in provincial parks today while still allowing trail use and day hikes.

      In a March 20 Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy news release, minister George Heyman said he was taking this action because of the coronavirus pandemic.

      “We are following the advice of the provincial health officer to help people get outside, while ensuring they are following the PHO’s [provincial health officer's] direction and guidance to stay healthy. Our government is taking every necessary step to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We look forward to a time when we can return to full operations at our provincial parks.”

      Besides closing the campgrounds, facilities and services such as washrooms, nature houses, day-use facilities, and visitor centres will also be closed.

      However, some provincial parks will have limited facilities available during the day. These include: Mount Seymour Provincial Park (with access only to some lower-elevation trails, and no parking or road access); Cypress Provincial Park (again, with only some lower-elevation trails accessible and no parking or road access); Goldstream Provincial Park; Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park; Miracle Beach Provincial Park; and Wells Gray Provincial Park.

      Visitors are asked to check the B.C. Parks website to find out exactly which restrictions apply to a particular park.

      In step with Parks Canada, the camping suspension will last at least until April 30. Those with camping reservations will be automatically refunded, the ministry said in the release.

      "BC Parks continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak closely and is following recommendations set out by the provincial health officer and minister of health to assess when to reopen facilities and services and return to full operations," the release stated.