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National parks, historic sites partly reopening June 1

Last Updated May 14, 2020 at 4:47 pm PST

Summary

Some national parks and historic sites will reopen to the public starting June 1

Camping at national parks remains off limits until at least June 21, when the government will reassess the situation

All national parks and sites have been closed for more than a month to help slow the spread of COVID-19

OTTAWA – You’ll have a little extra space to stretch your legs and get some fresh air starting June 1, as some national parks partially reopen.

“So that people in the area can use trails and green spaces where physical distancing is possible,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday. “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.”

Day-use areas and recreational boating will also be allowed starting next month at some of Canada’s historic sites and waterways, as well as national marine conservation areas.

As part of new measures announced, Trudeau said new boating regulations will also be brought in to “protect vulnerable communities in the north.”

Restrictions mean pleasure crafts will be prohibited from operating in the Arctic Coastal Waters, as well as the coastal areas of norther Quebec and Labrador.

The ban does not apply to “boats used for essential fishing and hunting, or for local community use,” he added.

Trudeau said he knows the May long weekend ahead will be different for most Canadians because many of the usual traditions to kick of a Canadian summer are not possible. He added, however, that won’t last forever, and that the government plans to open the parts of national parks and sites where physical distancing is possible.

All national parks and sites have been closed for more than a month to slow the spread of COVID-19 and encourage physical distancing.

Camping in parks will remain off limits at least until June 21, when the federal government will reassess whether it should be allowed.

Some provincial parks in B.C. reopened as of Thursday for day-use to give British Columbians more options to get outdoors.