Both Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced this morning at separate press conferences that national parks will resume some operations in June.
Wilkinson outlined that some trails, day-use areas, green spaces and recreational boating will be available starting June 1 at national parks, historic sites and waterways, and national marine conservation areas.
Camping in parks, however, will remain off-limits at least until June 21, when the federal government will reassess whether it should be allowed.
During his routine press conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Prime Minister Trudeau pointed out that the upcoming May long weekend ahead will be “different than normal,” but the opening of national parks on the horizon in June shows Canadians have continued to follow the advice of health officials.
Trudeau suggests the plan is to partially reopen parks where physical distancing is possible.
“Getting fresh air is important, but we all have to be responsible about it and we have to be prepared to make adjustments as needed,” said Trudeau.
One additional regulation announced today from Trudeau is that the government is banning the use of personal boats in the northern regions of the country in an effort to protect vulnerable communities.
“No pleasure craft will be permitted to operate in Canada’s Arctic coastal waters or in the coastal areas of Northern Quebec and Labrador.”
The ban, which will begin on June 1, does not apply to boats used for essential fishing and hunting or for community use, according to Trudeau.
As far as British Columbia goes, some provincial parks reopened as of Thursday for day-use to give provincial residents more options to get outdoors.
All national parks and Canadian historic sites have been closed for more than a month in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
With files to Canadian Press