Those with camping reservations in the immediate future at Golden Ears Provincial Park may have to change their plans if they reside outside the local health region.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in charge of provincial parks, said it will be adjusting its refund policy to reflect an official announcement expected later this week by the Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General limiting nonessential travel until after the May long weekend.
“We are adjusting our refund policy to reflect this decision and will be reaching out directly via email to reservation holders once the orders are made public,” read a statement by the Ministry, adding that BC Parks will continue to adjust to all Provincial Health Officer guidance and provincial orders to keep people safe.
On Monday Premier John Horgan announced people were not to travel outside their local health authority, and that it would to be enforced by police roadside checks starting Friday, April 23.
However, the order was further clarified on Wednesday by Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth who explained Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health would be considered a single region for travel restrictions.
Stu Burgess, the operations manager for Golden Ears park, has not been given any direction yet on what is going to happen – in regards to either cancelling reservations already made by those outside the local region, or if the new restrictions will impact day use at the park.
“Alouette Park Management and all other park operators have absolutely no control over the reservations,” explained Burgess, pointing out that reservations go through the BC Parks Discover Camping service.
“We have no further information or direction from BC Parks regarding how they may affect reservations, first-come first-serve camping or day use visitation,” he added.
Currently staff at the park do check the identification of people with reservations to make sure the same person arriving is the same person on the reservation. But, that’s to prevent people from selling their reservations, he said.
And, as of Wednesday, April 21, Burgess noted, they have not been turning away anyone arriving from Kelowna or anywhere else in the province.
Burgess is waiting to learn more about the order on Friday.
Last weekend about 7,000 vehicles entered Golden Ears park over Saturday and Sunday and access to both Gold Creek and West Canyon parking had to be closed for four to five hours each day.
However, Burgess noted, the main beach area remained open as parking didn’t reach capacity.
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