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National parks set to reopen June 1: What you need to know in Saskatchewan

Prince Albert National Park. The Canadian government announced national parks will be reopening as of June 1.
Prince Albert National Park. The Canadian government announced national parks will be reopening as of June 1. Johnna Janzen / Viewer Submitted

The Canadian government has given the green light for national parks to reopen as of June 1.

Restrictions at these sites have been put in place as the country continues to navigate the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is what to expect when visiting national parks in Saskatchewan.

Fort Battleford National Historic Site – Battleford, Sask.

What’s open

Visitors will have access to the parking lot, green spaces and the inside of the fort stockade.

What’s closed

Historic buildings, the visitor centre, washrooms, and food and water services are closed. Group activities and public events are suspended until further notice.

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READ MORE: Camping in Saskatchewan to look different under first phase of reopen plan

Prince Albert National ParkWaskesiu, Sask.

What’s open

Motorized vehicle access to all park roads (excluding Kingsmere Road past the Hanging Heart Lakes turnoff), park entrance gate kiosks for information only, the small beach house washroom by the community hall, most day-use trails, most day-use areas and beaches, including outhouses, are open.

Non-motorized recreational use on Waskesiu Lake and River, Hanging Heart Lakes, Amiskowan, Shady Lake and Spruce River is also allowed along with recreational boating on Waskesiu Lake and Hanging Heart Lakes. Fishing is available on Waskesiu Lake, Hanging Heart Lakes (second and third lakes only) and Shady Lake.

What’s closed

The visitor centre is closed, along with most washrooms and all shower facilities, excluding the small beach house washroom and outhouses in day-use areas. The playground at Waskesiu’s main beach is closed.

Kingsmere Road, Kingsmere River, Kingsmere Lake and Crean Lake are closed along with all camping sites, including Sandy Lake, Namekus Lake and backcountry camping. Trails at Elk, Hunters Lake, Crean, Narrows Peninsula, Kingsmere River and Grey Owl are also closed.

Some day-use areas such as Meridian, Paspiwin, South Gate (across from Paspiwin) Sandy Lake and Namekus remain unavailable to visitors.

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Viewing towers at Height of Land and Spruce River Trail is off-limits along with all kitchen shelters and fish shacks.

READ MORE: Summer in Saskatchewan will be like no other in recent memory due to coronavirus

Fort Walsh National Historic Site – Maple Creek, Sask.

What’s open

Day-use trails and day-use areas, including Metis and Battle Creek Trails, along with green spaces and picnic areas are all open.

Grounds of Fort Walsh, Mounted Police and Civilian cemeteries are also open. Visitors will have access to Battle Creek and public toilets.

What’s closed

Historic buildings, the visitor centre, and food and water services are closed. Group activities and public events are suspended until further notice.

Grasslands National Park – Val Marie, Sask.  

What’s open

Visitors will have access to scenic driving tours, including Ecotour Scenic Drive and Badlands Parkway.

Day-use sites (picnic tables and vault toilets) such as Frenchman Valley, Rock Creek, Belza, Two Trees and 70 Mile are available.

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Day-use trails include Eagle Butte, 70 Mile Butte, Two Trees, Riverwalk, Three Sisters, Top Dogtown, Timbergulch, Bearpaw Sea, Broken Hills, Larson, Rock Creek, Red Buttes and Valley of 1,000 Devils. The kayak launch at Belza Devils is also open.

What’s closed

Visitor centres, Frenchman Valley, Rock Creek campgrounds, Backcountry Loop (Molestead Backcountry Launch, Borderlands Lookout, Otter Basin hiking route) and Red Chairs remain closed.

Group activities and public events are suspended until further notice.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan summer events await official decision on COVID-19 crowd restrictions

Motherwell Homestead National Historic Site – Abernethy, Sask.

What’s open

Day-use trails and day-use areas, including green spaces and the barn and garden areas. The parking lot will also be open to visitors.

What’s closed

Historic buildings, the visitor centre, and food and water services are closed. Group activities and public events are suspended until further notice.

Batoche National Historic Site – Wakaw, Sask.

What’s open

Visitors will have access to day-use trails, day-use areas, including the East Village day-use area, the cemetery, public toilets at the main parking lot, the church, the rectory and the East Village.

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What’s closed

Historic buildings, the visitor centre, and food and water services are closed. Group activities and public events are suspended until further notice.

Visitors are asked to plan ahead and to check the national park’s website for further information regarding what is open, what to expect and how to prepare.

Parks Canada is also asking visitors to continue efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19 by respecting physical distancing, necessary hygiene practices, and regional and provincial travel restrictions.

What you need to know prior to Saskatchewan parks opening
What you need to know prior to Saskatchewan parks opening

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

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To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out. In situations where you can’t keep a safe distance from others, public health officials recommend the use of a non-medical face mask or covering to prevent spreading the respiratory droplets that can carry the virus.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.