Provincial parks in BC closed, including all three on Gabriola

Sounder News

Wednesday, April 15 2020

BC Parks has closed all provincial parks in response to the widespread call for increased action to address COVID-19. 

The closure was made effective Wednesday April 8, and will remain in effect indefinitely. 

On Gabriola, this means Sandwell, Drumbeg, and Twin Beaches provincial parks are closed to the public.

The closure responds to both the federal and provincial directives that people should stay close to home to reduce COVID-19 transmission risk. This temporary measure means people should not be going to provincial parks until further notice.

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said, “We tried to provide safe space for people to get some exercise and fresh air in our beautiful parks. But it has proven too challenging to maintain safe distance between visitors. This action is difficult but necessary.”

The decision to close the park system is informed by continued feedback from RCMP, local government, First Nations, local search-and-rescue organizations and the general public. While many people are observing the physical distancing requirements set by the provincial health officer (PHO), some continue to ignore the order, making enforcement in a wilderness setting challenging. The timing of this decision comes given the Easter Long Weekend and the beginning of the busy season for outdoor recreation and camping.  BC Parks recognizes the value of nature in contributing to public health and wellness and will expand access to the park system as soon as the PHO indicates it can be done without increasing the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Staff with the Regional District of Nanaimo said after the Province’s announcement that, “RDN Parks and Trails remain open at this time, however all RDN playgrounds, sport courts, skate parks and campgrounds are closed. Visitors must obey any signs that are posted at trailheads and park entrances. The RDN will continue to follow the recommendations of the Provincial Health Officer. 

“If physical distancing is not being observed at specific RDN parks and trail sites, those sites may be closed for public use.”