At a May 14 press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that some national parks will be partially reopening in June, shortly after the upcoming Victoria Day long weekend.
Trudeau said that as of June 1, some trails, day-use areas, green spaces and recreational boating will be available at national parks, historic sites and waterways and national marine conservation areas.
He said that some changes will be made to allow for physical distancing.
Since COVID-19 sent the country into lockdown in mid-March, all national parks and historic sites have been closed, with visitor services and all motor vehicle access suspended.
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The reopening plan involves some 38 parks and 171 historic sites, including lighthouses, forts, canals and monuments, that are administered by Parks Canada.
Camping in parks will remain off-limits at least until June 21, when the federal government will reassess whether it should be allowed.
While some boating will be permitted, Trudeau said that as of June 1, 2020, pleasure craft will be prohibited from operating within Canada’s Arctic coastal waters (north of the 60th parallel), as well as in the coastal areas of northern Quebec and Labrador.
These measures will remain in place until at least October 31, 2020, and do not apply to local communities who use such boats for essential transportation or subsistence fishing, harvesting and hunting.
The government says the Parks Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada websites will provide detailed information soon on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for visiting and what services may be available.
With files from The Canadian Press