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National parks to open campgrounds next week

In this July 6, 2017 photo, the Yoho River flows through Yoho National Park in Canada's stretch of the Rocky Mountains, straddling the border of British Columbia and Alberta. The federal environment minister says Canadians who have campground reservations in some national parks will be allowed to pitch their tents and pull in their trailers starting next week.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Adam Kealoha Causey
June 17, 2020 - 9:30 AM

OTTAWA - The federal environment minister says Canadians who have campground reservations in some national parks will be allowed to pitch their tents and pull in their trailers starting next week.

Jonathan Wilkinson says camping will be allowed as early as Monday at 31 national parks — including Gros Morne in Newfoundland, Banff in Alberta and Kluane in Yukon.

"We're starting with existing reservations," Wilkinson said in an interview Wednesday.

All national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas were closed at the end of March to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Many of the parks have been opened to day-use visitors since early June, but officials had said there would be no camping before June 21.

READ MORE: List of national parks reopening campgrounds

Wilkinson said Monday's reopening of campgrounds, which includes those in the backcountry, is good news for Canadians.

"The weather is getting much better," he said. "This is a good opportunity to enjoy the outdoors."

Due to COVID-19 restrictions on international travel, staff will be cancelling and refunding reservations from international visitors —including those from the United States — until at least Aug. 7, Wilkinson said.

Parks Canada said Canadians who want to book a campsite at a national park should check the reservation website regularly for updates as additional sites will open up in the coming weeks.

"Canadians who plan to travel outside of their home province to camp at or visit a Parks Canada destination must follow the applicable provincial or territorial travel restrictions," the agency said in a news release.

"Some provinces and territories allow only essential inbound travel at this time. Others require that outside visitors follow a self-isolation protocol. It is not possible to self-isolate at Parks Canada campgrounds."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 17, 2020

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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