RCMP and SAR teams asking people to stay home this weekend

WatchPeople heading to the west coast Saturday were met by RCMP on HWY 4 asking where they were going, while search and rescue officials are asking people to avoid the backcountry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A long line of traffic came to a stop at the end of Highway 4 at the Tofino-Ucluelet junction Friday as police and Parks Canada officials questioned people heading to the coast. Visitors have been asked to avoid going there during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Two local detachments have gathered together with Parks Canada just to stop the travelling motorists coming to the west coast asking some simple questions,” Ucluelet mayor Mayco Noel told CHEK News.

The same thing happened Thursday and most were residents but some visitors had to be told there was nowhere for them to stay.

Meanwhile, there are added calls to stay home from B.C. Search and Rescue officials.

The backcountry looked stunning Friday in the Easter weekend sunshine but Easter is typically one of the busiest weekends for SAR teams in B.C. so the word this year is don’t put yourself or SAR members at risk

“Certainly our backcountry is an area people want to explore and we want people to be out enjoying BC as well, but this is just not the time,” said Paul Berry of Comox Valley Ground SAR.

The concerns are that search and rescue members need to work physically close together during a rescue so that puts them and the victim at risk of getting the virus plus they can’t care for patients the same way they normally do with oxygen and medications.

The entrance to Strathcona Park on Mount Washington was closed Friday but people were parked in different areas on Strathcona Parkway as they headed into the wilderness outside the park boundaries.

“But we hope they’re closer into town than venturing farther out,” added Berry. “We want people to be safe, we don’t want them to be engaging in high-risk activities because that’s going to put our members at risk.”

Points to remember until further notice.

Dean StoltzDean Stoltz

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!