Parks Canada closing national parks, historic sites to vehicle traffic
Published Tuesday, March 24, 2020 4:44PM EDT
In this June 2002 file photo, a hiker takes in the snow-covered mountains surrounding Maligne Lake in Jasper National Park. (Jonathan Hayward / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
TORONTO -- In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, Parks Canada has decided to suspend vehicle access to all national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas until further notice.
Effective 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, all visitor parking lots at Parks Canada locations will be closed. These new measures build on last week’s closure of all visitor services, including washrooms, and come after a spike in visitors over the past weekend.
“To be clear: this is unsafe. It increases the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus and that is why Parks Canada is immediately implementing new measures to address this concern,” Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson said in a social media post by Parks Canada on Tuesday.
“Anyone considering a visit to a Parks Canada location should cancel their trips.”
All highways and roadways passing through Parks Canada places will remain open, allowing commercial and through traffic to continue. However, parking along these roads is prohibited.
Traditional Indigenous activities in Parks Canada locations will continue, but all users are asked to follow the advice of public health experts on social distancing. Parks Canada urges all Canadians to stay home to limit the spread of COVID-19.