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Parks Canada says camping to resume in national parks on June 22 by reservation only

A woman relaxing in a trailer while camping in Jasper National Park.
A woman relaxing in a trailer while camping in Jasper National Park. Getty Images

Parks Canada announced on Wednesday that camping will gradually resume at a number of national parks and historic sites across the country starting June 22 but will, initially, only be open to those with existing reservations.

National parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas across the country closed in mid-March to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Parks Canada releases full list of national parks partially reopening on June 1

Many national parks were then reopened on June 1 as restrictions lifted, but camping facilities at those sites were still closed as Parks Canada worked out how to reinstate the services in a safe way.

“We are all doing our part to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19,” Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said. “As the summer arrives, our national parks and historic sites offer spaces where Canadians can enjoy the outdoors while also respecting the advice of public health experts to keep a safe physical distance from others.

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“Parks Canada will be offering camping at a number of locations across the country, and I encourage all Parks Canada visitors to make sure they plan ahead and prepare for their visit. By working together, we can help keep our families, friends and neighbours healthy and safe.”

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Parks Canada says, for the time being, camping will only be available to visitors with existing reservations.

National parks will then gradually begin to accept new online reservations for some campgrounds over the coming weeks.

Due to current travel restrictions, existing reservations from international visitors — including visitors from the United States — up to and including Aug. 7 will be cancelled and automatically refunded in full.

Calgary family snaps picture of white-headed bear cub
Calgary family snaps picture of white-headed bear cub

“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 including any requirements for self-isolation,” a news release stated. “It is not possible to self-isolate at Parks Canada campgrounds.”

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Roofed accommodations such as yurts and oTENTiks will only become available at select locations later in the season.

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Visitors will, however, have access to some trails, day-use areas, green spaces and recreational boating.

Parks Canada is encouraging campers to visit its website for more detailed information on what locations are open, what visitors can expect, how to prepare for a visit and what services may be available.