Peace Arch Provincial Park will be temporarily closed due to a staggering spike in the number of park visitors.
This closure addresses the public safety and traffic concerns in neighbouring communities due to a significant increase in the number of park visitors. It comes into effect Thursday, June 18, at 8 p.m.
On April 8, BC Parks closed all provincial parks in response to widespread calls for increased action to address the spread of COVID-19. The Peace Arch Provincial Park reopened on May 14.
Since then, parking lots and local access roads have been overwhelmed with nearly twice the number of vehicles compared to peak days in the summer season, resulting in illegal parking. Attendance has doubled over the same period compared to last year, leading to an increase in pedestrians along roadways.
According to a release, BC Parks has consulted with RCMP, border officials and numerous local communities. They implemented several measures in order to decrease the numbers of visitors, such as posting signage, and increasing enforcement patrols, installing a permanent gate at the park entrance and reducing park hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. However, the measures have not addressed the risk associated with the significant increases in visitors from both sides of the border.
BC Parks states that it, "understands the importance of unification for families and friends. Through exemptions to the Federal Quarantine Act, the federal government is now allowing immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter Canada to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days, as long as they are asymptomatic of COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival."
The park will reopen when it is deemed safe to do so.