Parts of the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve but not Sidney Island are re-opening for camping as Parks Canada continues to relax COVID-19 restrictions.
North Saanich’s McDonald Campground along with camp grounds on Saturna Island and Pender Islands will start to offer limited camping service on June 29, Parks Canada announced in a release.
Parks Canada said this re-opening will happen gradually to protect the health and safety of park visitors as well staff. Campgrounds on Sidney Island, Portland Island, Isle-De-Lis, D’Arcy Island, Prevost Island and Cabbage Island remain closed until further notice, according to the release.
In the case of Sidney Island, the question of when camping will resume will hinge on the question of when the shuttle service between Sidney and the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve resumes.
All trails and day use areas in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve including the one on Sidney Island are open to visitors, with the addendum that some pit toilets remain closed.
Parks Canada also announced that it “will gradually begin to accept new online reservations” for some campgrounds over the coming weeks with some parks open to online reservations starting June 22. At this time, unreserved sites will be available on a first come, first served basis.
Parks Canada said visitors should follow the advice of public health officials, including physical distancing, in adding that visitors must follow local travel restrictions, including requirements for self-isolation.
“It is not possible to self-isolate at Parks Canada campgrounds,” it reads.
Parks Canada is also calling on visitors to be “cautious and conservative” when visiting Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. “Anyone participating in recreational activities should be extra cautious to avoid injury or getting lost to help minimize the demands placed on search and rescue teams and the health care system,” it reads.
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