Quebec provincial parks begin gradual reopening following weeks of closures

After being closed for several weeks because of public health regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic, some of Quebec’s provincial parks will begin to reopen on Wednesday.

The first phase of reopening will give people access to certain pedestrian trails as well as lakes where they can fish during the day. That being said, bathrooms on site won’t be open just yet, and some activities remain suspended until further notice. 

The partial reopening of these areas was announced last week. Cycling, golf, tennis, hiking, rock climbing and several water sports practiced on single boats are among the recreational activities gradually resuming as of Wednesday. 

The government said that the partial revival of sports, leisure and outdoor activities should not be used as a reason for gatherings and trips between regions of Quebec.

Almost three weeks ago, Nature Quebec asked the provincial government to reopen national parks with physical distancing guidelines in place. 

Alice-Anne Simard, the organization’s director general, couldn’t understand why people have been allowed to go shopping amid the pandemic, but weren’t allowed to hike on a trail in a park where it’s much easier to respect physical distancing guidelines.

The Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SEPAQ), which manages 24 parks in the province, said it will be using virtual ticketing systems exclusively as it reopens its parks. SEPAQ manages 24 parks in the province. 

SEPAQ said it will be using virtual ticketing systems exclusively.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 20, 2020. 

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