British Columbia

More B.C. provincial parks, national parks reopening June 1

A number of popular parks on the South Coast like Cypress, Seymour and Shannon Falls will be opening their gates but not all services will be available.

Popular locations like Cypress, Seymour, Shannon Falls and Porteau Cove will reopen with limited operations

Porteau Cove Provincial Park, located between Squamish and Lions Bay, is one of dozens of B.C. provincial parks that will reopen on June 1. (BC Parks)

Some popular provincial parks are set to reopen next week, albeit with restrictions in line with Phase 2 of B.C.'s COVID-19 response.

According to B.C. Parks, Cypress, Juan de Fuca, Inkaneep, the Kettle River Recreation Area, Liard River Hot Springs, Porteau Cove, Mount Seymour, some Shuswap Lake sites and Shannon Falls will all open their gates to visitors on June 1, along with dozens of others.

Services that will and will not be operating in each of the parks are listed on the B.C. Parks website

Hundreds of other provincial parks in B.C. already reopened on May 14.

Meanwhile, Parks Canada says day use at some national parks, national historic sites, historic waterways, and national marine conservation areas will resume June 1.

The list included six national parks in B.C.:  Yoho, Kootenay, Mount Revelstoke, Glacier, Pacific Rim Reserve and Gulf Islands Reserve. 

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on Vancouver Island will reopen for day use June 1. (Parks Canada)

For many B.C. towns, park tourists constitute a major economic driver.

In Port Renfrew on the west coast of Vancouver Island, businesses are getting ready to welcome back visitors for what it hopes is a busy summer season.

"We're going to see a move to more locals and B.C. residents accessing those parks," said Karl Ablack of the Port Renfrew Recovery Task Force. 

"Hopefully, the parks will be full and the traffic will be coming into our area and other coastal areas and we'll see that economic driver returning."

Ablack said Port Renfrew, which sits at the south end of the West Coast Trail in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, has taken a "significant" economic hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 75-kilometre West Coast Trail has not reopened yet.

Earlier this week, the B.C. Parks website crashed immediately after opening for summer campsite bookings due to overwhelming demand.

The province announced last week that recreational camping would resume at provincial parks on June 1, and will only be open to B.C. residents this summer to limit the spread of COVID-19.


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