On the one hand, there is a viewpoint that no one should go outside unless absolutely necessary. To get food, for example. Whistler Search and Rescue recently made an appeal to ban all backcountry recreation.
On the other hand, getting outside in nature can be an important release valve to de-stress and can play an important role in our physical and mental wellbeing.
Some doctors have encouraged people to get into nature during this time, and with many businesses being shut down, it seems that more people may be flocking onto the trails. Michael Coyle, Search and Rescue Manager at Coquitlam SAR, had a thoughtful post about this on Reddit.
As the closures and the lockdown goes on, we will need something for people to do for their physical and mental well being. We cannot stay at home.Michael Coyle
Hiking will be a very valuable safety valve.
We’ll echo Michael’s sentiment, that getting into nature is an inherently good thing. But if you are going to go hiking right now, dial back the risk, as Michael says. We want to be doubly-sure we are not putting Search and Rescue teams in a situation where they need to do any more callouts than are necessary. They have to make tough decisions about the risk they want to subject themselves to, in order to save others.
That’s a tough position to put these incredible volunteers in.
Reduce your risks to near zero please. This is not the time for those challenging objectives. If you must climb, ski or ride, do so at well below your maximim please. The last thing we need is an unnecessary incident that exposes the team to each other, and stresses any medical resources associated.
If you’re new to hiking, please be aware it has many risks, and it’s easier than you might think to get lost or injured on the trails. Even trails that are close to residential areas can quickly lead deep into the backcountry. Please read our hiking safety guidelines and be fully prepared for any outing.
At this time, whether you choose to get outside onto the trails is your personal choice. However, for those choosing to go on the trails, for your safety and the safety of others, please practice strict social distancing. This is the best way to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.
This means, go hiking with people that you live with. On the trails, stay at least two meters away from everyone else at all times. If hikes have things like ladders and ropes, avoid those hikes, as germs may live on those surfaces. And of course, continue to wash your hands frequently.
There are also many current closures in place, and more springing up all the time. So research your location before heading out. You may also want to choose hikes that aren’t typically busy. In our hiking trail database, you can use the search filter to search for hikes in your desired city, and select ‘moderate’ or ‘low’ for the ‘Trail Traffic’ filter.
Current Park and Trail Closures around Vancouver
Last update: 3:44 pm, March 23, 2020
Here are the current COVID-19 related park and trail closures that we are aware of. If you become aware of other closures, please email us at info [at] outdoorvancouver [dot] ca. We will be updating this page as new trail closures are announced, or as trails reopen.
Most BC Parks facilities and campgrounds are closed until further notice.
“The temporary measures include the suspension of services at marine parks, visitor centres, nature houses, playgrounds, washrooms and day-use facilities. Provincial park visitors may continue to use trails and areas where accessible, however, they will be expected to carry out their own garbage and will be responsible for their own safety. Visitors should be aware parking lots in some parks may be closed and gated where necessary.”
The following provincial parks have “some day-use services and facilities” currently available:
- Mount Seymour Provincial Park. The road up the mountain and the parking area are closed, though access to some lower-elevation trails are available.
- Cypress Provincial Park. The road up the mountain and the parking area are closed, though access to some lower-elevation trails are available.
- Goldstream Provincial Park
- Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park
- Miracle Beach Provincial Park
- Wells Gray Provincial Park
Camping reservations: “All campgrounds, camping opportunities and accommodations will be closed until at least April 30”. Reservations that were already that lie between now and April 30 have automatically been cancelled and refunded.
See more details from BC Parks here.
- Quarry Rock– The trail is currently closed
- Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge – The bridge is currently closed
- Mount Seymour – Access to the top of the mountain is closed
- Cypress Mountain – Access to the top of the mountain is closed.
- Grouse Mountain – Closed. The gondola is not operational at this time, though you can hike up and down the BCMC Trail.
- The Chief hike and Stawamus Chief Provincial Park – Closed, with no current access.
- Sea To Sky Gondola – Closed. The gondola is not operational, though you can hike up and down the Sea to Summit Trail.
BC Hydro Recreation Sites
“To enforce social distancing measures set out by the Provincial Health Officer (PHO), all facilities at our recreation areas are now closed. This includes campsites, boat launches, washrooms, day-use facilities, and parking lots. We’ll continue to monitor the situation and the PHO’s recommendations for further decisions related to closure and reopening of recreation areas.”
This includes Buntzen Lake, Hayward Lake, Seton Lake and other BC Hydro Facilities. Read more on BC Hydro’s site.
Parks Canada has “temporarily suspend[ed] all visitor services in all national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas across the country until further notice.”
All ski resorts, including Blackcomb Whistler, are closed across British Columbia for the season.
We hope that everyone is staying safe during these difficult days. For more information about the current best practices as they relate to COVID-19, please see the BC Centre for Disease Control website.
Source: Outdoor Vancouver