BC Parks are slated to begin gradually re-open as of Thursday, May 14, 2020, with some restrictions. (Black Press Media file photo)

BC Parks are slated to begin gradually re-open as of Thursday, May 14, 2020, with some restrictions. (Black Press Media file photo)

Many B.C. parks to re-open, but visitors must adhere to the ‘golden rules’

Residents urged to practise COVID-19 protocols as some outdoor recreation restrictions are relaxed

Many of British Columbia’s provincial parks, protected areas and marine parks are to begin opening for day use today (Thursday, May 14), including many beaches, some picnic areas, washrooms, boat launches and trails, but park-goers must meet the guidelines of the B.C. Provincial Health Officer.

These guidelines include physical distancing, hand hygiene, not touching your face, coughing into your sleeve, and if you’re demonstrating any symptoms of a cold or flu, you’re to not leave your place of residence and stay away from others. The province is discouraging non-essential travel, and encouraging people to stay in their own communities. (Check this website for more details on travel.)

BC Parks says some parks may take longer than anticipated to reopen and some popular B.C. parks that generally attract large crowds will remain closed. However, the province expects that provincial campgrounds and back-country camping in most locations will reopen on June 1. (Check this website for each park’s current status.)

National parks are also slated to resume some operations on June 1, with some trails, day use areas, green spaces and recreational boating available at national parks, historic sites and waterways and national marine conservation areas. Camping will remain off limits until at least June 21, when the federal government will reassess whether it should be allowed.

However, the premier of British Columbia has said that travel to second homes and vacation spots is out of the question for the Victoria Day long weekend.

“Every corner of B.C. is spectacular,” Premier John Horgan said. “Wherever you live is an outstanding place. Stay there and enjoy it.”

In addition, as B.C. begins to carefully relax some of the restrictions imposed because of the deadly COVID-19 virus, the province’s vital tourism industry is also planning to move into a new phase. Destination BC – a provincially funded, industry-led Crown corporation that supports tourism in British Columbia – is shifting from its #exploreBClater concept to developing a new campaign to promote hyper-local travel.

“[It’s] to be a tourist in their hometown,” Marsha Walden, CEO of Destination BC, said in a statement posted on May 8. “[It’s] to reignite interest in our museums, galleries and cultural sites, to remind our residents of how parks, beaches and outdoor spaces can strengthen their mental and physical well-being, and to support the small tourism businesses that are the foundation of our industry – all while adhering to the provincial health directives that are in place to protect us all.”

Destination BC plans to focus on hyper-local marketing, with an #exploreBClocal campaign designed to urge people to be a “tourist in their hometown.”

The statement from Destination BC said it will be possible to visit parks, beaches and

outdoor spaces and support small tourism operators, “all while adhering to the provincial health directives that are in place to protect us all.“

At $6.7-billion in expenditures, it’s estimated that British Columbians spent nearly as much travelling abroad last year (excluding day trips to the U.S.), as the $7.3 billion that international travellers spent in B.C., according to the Destination BC statement.

Meanwhile, “all travellers arriving in B.C. from outside of Canada are required by law to self-isolate for 14 days and complete a self-isolation plan,” the B.C. Centre for Disease Control website says.

British ColumbiaCanadaThings to do

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

49th parallel was an early adopter of Plexiglas shields, and required staff to wear face masks. (49th Parallel photo)
49th Parallel continues to grow in spite of pandemic

The biggest challenge of the pandemic has been keeping shelves stocked at 49th Parallel stores

Freighter anchored off Kin Beach in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)
MacGregor to host expert panel for virtual town hall on freighter anchorages issue

Residents can participate through MP’s website or Facebook page Dec. 3

Homes ranging from $400,000 to $700,000 are the fastest sellers. (File photo)
High demand and low inventory drive a competitive housing market in Ladysmith

VIREB’s Susan Perrey said buyers are looking to take advantage of low interest rates

École North Oyster. (Black Press file)
With more student drop-offs during pandemic, SD68 examines safety outside North Oyster school

Fewer school bus trips and more cars accentuating traffic concerns, say school district staff

Downtown is believed to be one of the areas best poised for new developments. (File photo)
Development remains consistent in lead up to official community plan process

Pandemic or no pandemic, Ladysmith is growing. New developments have sprung up… Continue reading

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

A photo from 2017, of Nuchatlaht First Nation members outside court after filing a land title case in B.C. ( Submitted photo/Nuchatlaht First Nation).
Vancouver Island First Nation calls on B.C. to honour UNDRIP in historic title case

Nuchatlaht First Nation says Crown counsel continues to stall the case using the ‘distasteful’ argument that the Nation ‘abandoned’ their land

West Vancouver Island’s Ehattesaht First Nation continues lock down after 9 active cases were reported today after a visitor tested positive last week. (Ehattesaht First Nation/Facebook)
Ehattesaht First Nation’s COVID-19 nightmare: nine active cases, a storm and a power outage

The Vancouver Island First Nation in a lockdown since the first case was reported last week

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

The Ahousaht First Nation confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Nov. 26, 2020. (Westerly file photo)
Ahousaht First Nation on lockdown over COVID-19

“Emotions are high. The anxiety is high. We want our community to pull through.”

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Most Read