Calling all hikers and nature-lovers!
All hikers and outdoors-types rejoice, because we can finally return to our national parks again! Banff and Jasper National Parks will reopen in June, the two parks announced on their respective websites. Their timing is on point, because Canada just announced most other national parks will be reopening on that date too.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday morning, May 14, that some national parks will be returning as early as Monday, June 1.
“Getting fresh air is important, but we all have to be responsible about it,” said Trudeau, adding that the parks will be opened depending on how how severe the COVID-19 cases are in their regions.
At the same time, Banff and Lake Louise Tourism revealed that they too will be aiming for an opening date in early-June.
“This announcement is really aligned with what we’re aiming for as well,” Angela Anderson, director of media relations with Banff and Lake Louise Tourism, told Narcity.
“Everyone is really excited to go into the summer being able to to welcome visitors again,” she added.
Mayor Karen Sorenson told Cochrane Today she asks tourists to keep away until at least June 1, while businesses prepare to reopen safely.
There’ll be a ton of work before the two national parks finally reopen in June, she explained.
They’ll have to figure out new measures to keep people safe, not to mention rehiring, and re-training staff in their businesses.
Similar messages came from Jasper, as the region prepares to reopen ASAP.
Mayor Richard Ireland of the Municipality of Jasper confirmed to CTV News that people should stay away until at least June.
“We don’t want to overwhelm the healthcare professionals if the virus comes in and we become a hot pocket,” he explained.
The city of Banff was one of the first Albertan cities to declare a local state of emergency and close off travel to tourists.
But despite this, people loved Banff so much the city actually had to set up checkpoints with RCMP to keep tourists out.
As small communities, Banff and Jasper are at extra risk of the novel coronavirus, as they lack the medical supplies to handle a major outbreak.
While Trudeau and Parks Canada named June 1 as the official date of reopening, the PM said it’ll be flexible depending on the areas and communities surrounding the parks.
Some might take longer to reopen.
“We will try and align with the local jurisdiction, what provincial parks nearby are going to be doing so that it is clear for people in terms of what they can do in their own particular region,” he concluded.
While it’s still too early to say exactly what the reopening will look like, Anderson did tell Narcity that “the Banff that people know and love will look a little bit different.”
Get ready hikers and nature-lovers, summer is just around the corner!
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.