Parks Canada tells visitors to stay home
Parks Canada is committed to protecting the health and safety of Canadians, visitors, and employees. Despite the suspension of visitor services and closure of facilities on March 19, 2020, high visitation levels have occurred in a number of parks leading to public safety and health concerns, as well as increased risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus. As a result, the Agency is implementing additional measures to support the Government of Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce risks to all users of Parks Canada places.
To reduce the number of visitors at Parks Canada places and to minimize risks to visitors and employees, Parks Canada is building on actions taken last week and is now temporarily suspending all motor vehicle access by visitors at all national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas effective 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, March 25, 2020 until further notice. This action is intended to significantly reduce visitation and respects the advice of public health experts to stay home and avoid public gatherings.
These measures are additional to steps taken last week and mean that all visitor parking facilities and associated services at Parks Canada places are closed until further notice. Highways and roadways which pass through Parks Canada places will remain open. Commercial and through traffic is permitted on these corridors. Please note that parking is not permitted on highways and roadways. We are asking all Canadians to respect these restrictions.
Parks Canada will continue to deliver services critical for Canadians, including highway maintenance and snow removal, fire response, dam operations and water management on historic waterways, as well as avalanche forecasting and control, among others.
Indigenous traditional activities in Parks Canada locations will continue, but all users are asked to follow the advice of public health experts on social distancing. Local services are limited. Residents of townsites will still be permitted vehicular access, but those with recreational properties within national parks are strongly encouraged to stay home. Please respect all travel advisories.
To be clear, Parks Canada is asking Canadians to stay home. Anyone considering a visit to a Parks Canada location, including those in urban areas, should cancel their plans as vehicle access for the purposes of visitor use will be suspended until further notice.
We ask that visitors support Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and cancel any non-essential travel.
“The government’s top priority remains the health and safety of Canadians. The window to contain the spread of COVID-19 is short and we must all change our behaviours now to flatten the curve and reduce the burden on our health care system. I am asking all Canadians to follow the advice of public health experts, stay home, and undertake essential travel only. At this time, we are also asking Canadians not to visit Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas. We must all work together to limit the spread of COVID-19.”
The Honourable Jonathan Wilkinson,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada