Only British Columbians allowed to camp in provincial parks this summer amid COVID-19

The residency restriction matches similar initiatives by Alberta and Saskatchewan

Camping in provincial parks will be open to B.C residents only this summer.

People with previous bookings received an email from the Ministry of Environment on May 21, informing them that non-B.C. residents with existing reservations will be cancelled, with a refund. The email stated any new reservations made after May 15 by non-B.C. residents will be subject to immediate cancellation without a refund.

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This move aligns B.C. with other provinces.

In May, the Alberta government said it would reopen provincial park campsites in June; however, they will be for Alberta residents only and existing reservations made by out-of-province campers will be cancelled. Occupancy will also be reduced by 50 per cent and no campfires will be permitted.

Saskatchewan also instituted a similar policy, opening provincial campgrounds to local residents only.

In a press conference, B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said she was unaware of the ban. However, Minister of Health Adrian Dix said the move was made to control overnight travel.

B.C. Recreation Sites and Trails opened all recreation sites across the province on May 14 for day use. Camping will be permitted starting June 1, but subject to COVID-19 health and safety measures.

The federal government announced on May 14 that Parks Canada will take a phased approach to opening national parks and heritage sites.

Some trails, day use areas, green spaces and recreational boating will be permitted after June 1, but the federal government said camping in national parks will not be allowed until at least June 21.

For B.C. parks, group sites will be closed until December.

The Discover Camping website and call centre will reopen on May 25 at 7 a.m. to accept campground reservations for the summer. Provincial campsites will begin to open June 1.

© Kamloops This Week

 


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