Gatineau Park roads to close at night
3 parkways will close after sunset, stay closed until 8 a.m.
Several main roads in the southern section of Gatineau Park will be closed to motorists overnight when the summer season begins next month, according to the National Capital Commission.
Starting around May 17 — weather and road conditions permitting — Gatineau, Champlain and Lac Fortune parkways will be open to motorists during the day, but will close about 30 minutes after sunset and remain closed until about 8 a.m. the next day.
Lac-Phillippe and Lac-des-Fées Parkways will remain open overnight, as will access to all parking lots on the periphery of the Park.
"We want to make sure to keep our parkway safe at night, so by closing it to motorists, this will help," said Alain d'Entremont, the NCC's senior manager of visitor services and recreational programs for Gatineau Park.
The roads being closed aren't lit at night, d'Entremont said.
Last May, a man and woman in their early 20s died when their car crashed into trees along the Champlain Parkway near Huron Lookout.
According to NCC data, 27 per cent of motorists using the parkways at 3 a.m. drive over the speed limit, compared to just five per cent of motorists at 11 a.m.
It doesn't give a break to wildlife in the park.- Alain d'Entremont , NCC
People living in the Kingsmere area and elsewhere near the park have complained about the sound of speeding vehicles at night, the NCC said.
But there are other considerations besides noise and the safety of motorists, d'Entremont said.
"This is a conservation park, and having cars in the park at night, there are some casualties with wildlife," he said. "It doesn't give a break to wildlife in the park."
The NCC first floated the notion in an online survey for park users in December, and found that 75 per cent of the 4,500 respondents supported closing the parkways at night.
After the roads close again for the winter, the NCC plans to look at how things went.