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

A COVID-19 outbreak has been declared over at Eden Gardens. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Nanaimo’s Eden Gardens

One staff member and one resident tested positive for the virus over past two weeks

Gabriola Island poet Naomi Beth Wakan’s latest book is ‘Wind on the Heath.’ (Photo courtesy Elias Wakan)
Former Nanaimo poet laureate revisits past poems in latest collection

Gabriola Island’s Naomi Beth Wakan presents career-spanning ‘Wind on the Heath’

An app available through the Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website can help students during COVID times. (Stock photo)
New library app can help families with online learning

Sample tests, virtual flashcards available through Vancouver Island Regional Library’s website

The Nanaimo Clippers in action at Frank Crane Arena in early 2020. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo Clippers for sale as owner says hockey won’t be back to normal any time soon

Wes Mussio says he’s had numerous inquiries about the junior A club already

The current boat used by Rugged Coast Research Society for remote shoreline cleanup operations will be replaced by a landing craft that will allow society members to haul four times as much marine garbage per trip from Vancouver Island’s remote shorelines. (Agathe Bernard photo/Rugged Coast Research Society)
Nanaimo-based research group needs bigger boat for coastal cleanups

Rugged Coast Research Society raising cash for landing craft to pull trash from remote shorelines

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Police have identified the vehicle involved in the Feb. 14 hit-and-run in Chemainus and are continuing to investigate. (Black Press Media files)
Police seize and identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run

Investigation into death expected to be lengthy and involved

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

This poster, spreading misinformation regarding COVID-19 restrictions, has been popping up in communities across Vancouver Island.
UPDATED: Poster popping up in Island communities falsely claiming COVID restrictions are over

Unattributed poster claims COVID restrictions ended March 1; Island Health responds

(Pxhere)
Compensation fund opens for B.C. students negatively affected by incorrect exam marks

Marks for 2019 provincial exams were incorrectly tabulated

Most Read