The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The Banff National Park entrance is shown in Banff, Alta., Tuesday, March 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Minister asks Canadians to camp carefully in national parks as season starts

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park closed, trails on Vancouver Island will only be one-way

Canada’s environment minister has one main bit of advice as the country’s second COVID-19 summer is about to begin: Camp carefully.

“We all recognize how important nature and green spaces have been to people’s ability to weather this COVID storm,” Jonathan Wilkinson said Tuesday. “That being said, we’re still not through this pandemic.”

Wilkinson said Parks Canada has brought in rules at its national parks that conform to public health orders. Those rules will vary from place to place, he said, so it will be important to check websites to keep abreast of what the restrictions are.

Parks have brought in some of their own measures as well to try to keep campers safe while enjoying the outdoors.

“There will be, in different parks, different kinds of services,” Wilkinson said.

Kitchen shelters in Banff National Park will be closed and the visitor centre will only be reachable online and by phone. Trails in Pacific Rim National Park on Vancouver Island will only be one-way.

Some parks, such as Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve off the west coast of British Columbia, will be closed.

“There are some parks, at least in the short term, that are not going to be opening.”

Guidelines may change over the course of the camping season.

“The focus for Parks Canada is that people can get out, but they do so in ways that are safe and consistent with public health guidelines,” said Wilkinson.

Parks Canada learned a lot from last summer, the minister said. The agency has a much better understanding of what can be done safely and how services like cleaning can be handled.

Last year, services and parks were opened slowly as staff figured out how to offer them safely. Now, that knowledge exists at the start of the season.

“It will be a much less gradual process than last year.”

—The Canadian Press

RELATED: B.C.’s iconic West Coast Trail to re-open to visitors in June 2021

RELATED: ‘Save summer’: Tourism business have modest expectations ahead of crucial season

Just Posted

Comox town hall. Black Press file photo
Comox looking at the future of transportation in the town

Council adopted the 2020 Transportation Master Plan Update

On Monday, June 14, 40 Knots Winery presented the We Can Shelter Project with a cheque for $5,000. Pictured, from left - We Can Shelter Society secretary Sue Finneron, We Can Shelter treasurer Ann Scott, 40 Knots Winery co-owner Brenda Hetman-Craig, and Charlene Davis, president of the We Can Shelter Society. Photo supplied
Comox Valley Winery makes major contribution to housing initiative

40 Knots Winery commits to purchasing a unit for We Can Shelter Society

Brooklyn Elementary was able to get its expanded garden ready this spring. Photo by Comox Valley Schools
Comox Valley school garden in full bloom after setback

Along with COVID delays, Brooklyn Elementary project had lumber stolen in 2020

CVSAR search the Puntledge River following a report of an abandoned kayak. Photo, CVSAR Facebook page
Comox Valley Search and Rescue spends four hours searching for no one

Overturned kayak a reminder for public to contact officials if they have to abandon a watercraft

Little Brown Bat, Cori Lausen image
Puntledge River bats being studied

Project will use ultrasonic data to collect information on species and habitat

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

Advisor says initiative supports the urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact they recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

A plane is silhouetted as it takes off from Vancouver International Airport in Richmond, B.C., May 13, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Report calls for airlines to refund passengers for flights halted due to COVID-19

Conclusion: federal help should be on the condition airlines immediately refund Canadian travellers

Green party Leader Annamie Paul speaks during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. Paul has survived another day of party strife after a planned ouster shifted course, leaving her with a tenuous grip on power ahead of a likely federal election this year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Green Leader Annamie Paul blasts ‘racist,’ ‘sexist’ party execs who sought ouster

Fallout has continued, with two of the federal council’s members resigning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says re-opening B.C.’s border to the U.S. ‘is not in our best interest’ right now. (B.C. Government photo)
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry (B.C. Government photo)
B.C. records 113 new COVID-19 cases Wednesday, 4 deaths

Vaccination of young people rising quickly, near 75 per cent

Most Read