The trail to Eva Lake in Mt. Revelstoke National Park. (File photo)

Updated: National parks closing visitor services

The prime minister announced the closures will help ‘flatten the curve’ against COVID-19

Parks Canada announced today that all visitor services at national parks and national historic sites will be suspended until further notice starting midnight Wednesday.

They said they are following the advice of public health experts and taking steps to support the Government of Canada’s efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce risks to visitors, employees, and other users of Parks Canada spaces.

The prime minister first mentioned the coming closures at a press conference this morning.

Parks Canada said it will limit its activities to basic critical operations and many staff will work from home. Visitor facilities will be closed temporarily, including washrooms and day use facilities. Some conservation activities will also be temporarily suspended, including projects with external researchers.

However, highway management, snow removal, fire response, dam operations, water management on historic waterways, as well as avalanche forecasting and control will continue operating.

Parks Canada said they will cease taking new reservations until April 30, 2020. All existing reservations for this period will be refunded in full. In addition, Parks Canada is currently developing an approach to honour passes, in light of travel restrictions and closures related to COVID-19. They said details will be communicated in due course.

There are 48 national parks in Canada, including seven in B.C. and 970 national historic sites, of which 90 are also in this province.

The national parks in B.C. include:

• Glacier National Park

• Gulf Islands National Park Reserve

• Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site

• Kootenay National Park

• Mount Revelstoke National Park

• Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

• Yoho National Park

Meanwhile, B.C. provincial parks remain open.

READ MORE: Health officials explain why not everyone can get swabbed for COVID-19 right now

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