While many of B.C.’s provincial parks reopened to the public Thursday, some Lower Mainland parks are still closed, leading to confusion for locals.
Last week, the province announced parks would reopen in time for the May long weekend, but didn’t say in a news release or news conference which ones would stay closed.
A list was posted online, but many didn’t realize the number of parks that would stay closed.
As of Thursday, some local parks – like Cypress and Mount Seymour – still didn’t have an opening date listed on the province’s park website.
Even so, outdoor enthusiasts began showing up at popular spots in the morning, only to be met with road blocks and closure signs.
Park staff on site told CTV News that neither Seymour or Cypress would open this week because of its proximity to the city.
“Parks that attract large crowds will remain closed until it is safe to reopen at a later date,” says a notice on the BC Parks website.
For parks that are open, front and back country trails, beaches, picnic areas, washroom facilities and boat launches at open parks will be available for day use.
And not all facilities inside the park will be available. For example, some playgrounds, hot springs, halls and picnic shelters will remain closed.
Visitor centres, nature houses and concession buildings may be opened on a case-by case basis.
More than two dozen provincial parks in the South Coast region remained shut Thursday. Some of the popular provincial parks near Metro Vancouver still closed include:
- Mount Seymour
- Porteau Cove
- Shannon Falls
- Joffre Lakes
- Garibaldi Lake
But nearby parks that are open as of Thursday include:
- Golden Ears
- Alice Lake
- Cultus Lake
- Brandywine Falls
- Blackcomb Glacier
- Stawamus Chief
A full list of open parks can be seen on the province’s website.
Camping to reopen in June
Officials are expected to reopen most provincial campgrounds and back-country camping by June 1.
Additional spacing between campsites and limitations on the number of guests in campgrounds will be in place to maintain physical distancing.
BC Parks says communal facilities such as shower buildings will be available with enhanced cleaning protocols.
But campgrounds that require visitors to use shared cooking facilities and backcountry cabins will remain closed. Backcountry campgrounds in some parks with high day use will also remain closed.
Officials are asking the public to only visit parks that are close to home. They’re also reminding visitors to practice physical distancing and good hand hygiene.