Coronavirus: Parks Canada to close national parks, historic sites to vehicle traffic

Parks Canada is restricting vehicles in national parks and national historic sites after people flocked to the popular areas on the weekend.

The federal agency said it’s still noticing lots of visitors despite suspension of services and facility closures last week.

Officials are now suspending motor vehicle access, starting Wednesday, until further notice.

“I know this weekend was quite beautiful across our great county, which leads many families to spend time outdoors in our parks and our heritage sites,” Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who is responsible for Parks Canada, said Tuesday in a video posted on YouTube.

“We saw visitation rates soar.”

Similar concerns have been raised in communities within or near national parks.

The Alberta towns of Banff and Canmore, a scenic town just east of Banff National Park’s gates, saw visitors crowding main streets. It led to concerns from residents about increasing the risk of COVID-19 in places with limited health-care facilities.

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Wilkinson said crowding on the trails and at day-use areas in the national parks and historic sites is also unsafe.

“It increases the risk of transmission of the COVID-19 virus,” he said in the video.

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