Lakelse Lake Provincial Park is set to re-open for day use this May long weekend. (File photo)

RCMP ready for May long weekend as parks reopen

‘Zero tolerance’ for underage drinking, police say

Terrace RCMP will be on sharp lookout for shenanigans this May long weekend as some parks are set to reopen for day use.

All provincial parks were first closed April 7 in an attempt to limit the spread of COVID-19, and some are now being reopened as part of a plan to gradually open up services and facilities, released last week by the provincial government.

Perhaps the main park set to reopen in the Terrace area is Lakelse Lake Provincial Park, which was the site of significant unruly partying and underage drinking during last year’s May long weekend. A young man was stabbed and another person was caught driving impaired.

“Last year was a testament to the consequences that come with a lack of adult supervision and underage drinking,” said Staff Sergeant Michael Robinson in a statement provided to The Terrace Standard. “We had middle and high school students out at all hours of the night intoxicated by alcohol.”

The statement said RCMP will have extra officers on duty for May long weekend.

“Police officers will be operating in a zero-tolerance capacity especially surrounding liquor offences, such as underage drinking and allowing minors to possess and consume alcohol or cannabis,” the statement said.

Other parks in this area that are set to reopen include Kitsumkalum Provincial Park, Hai Lake – Mount Herman Provincial Park, and Nalbeelah Creek Wetlands Provincial Park. However, Kleanza Creek Provincial Park and Exchamsiks River Provincial Park remain closed.

“B.C. Parks is taking a phased approach to safely lift the system closure, focusing initially on day-use parks and protected areas that can accommodate: measured use and lower environmental impacts and which can also maintain physical distancing guidelines,” a release stated.

Physical distancing guidelines are to give visitors space between each other in parking lots and on trails.

The gradual openings will also mean a ramp up of services such as garbage collection and pit toilets or washrooms, depending upon a park’s amenities.

The May 14 re-opening also extends to trails, beaches, picnic areas and boat launches for day-use only. Provincial campgrounds won’t reopen until at least June 1.

The guidelines follow principles laid down by provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry.

When camping is allowed, depending upon facilities in each park, there may be more distance between campsites and limits as to the number of people allowed in a campground.

While provincial principles encourage people to enjoy themselves outdoors, guidance remains as to limit groups to 50 people in number and to respect individual physical distancing.

Visitors are being asked to bring their own hand sanitizer and people who are sick should not visit a park.

And visitors are being asked to only visit parks closer to their homes.

“Some communal facilities such as shower buildings will open with enhanced cleaning protocols, while campgrounds that require visitors to use shared cooking facilities and backcountry cabins will remain closed,” BC Parks has indicated.

Parks that remain closed for the time being are those that are popular, meaning it would be difficult to adhere to physical distancing guidance.

-With files from Rod Link

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Salmon closures announced for Skeena and Nass watersheds

DFO notice expands on May 21 chinook ban throughout Skeena watershed

Small fire extinguished at Thornhill community grounds

Camper destroyed and some trees burned

Tradition and technology: Nisga’a Elementary Secondary’s plan for grad

NESS joins other schools in northwest B.C. using video and streaming

What happens to a community garden during a pandemic?

Green Thumb Garden Society has made some changes, hopes for more volunteers and members

Firefighter drops eggs 65 ft. for kids’ science project

Elementary students attempt to determine ideal packaging to cushion eggs

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

DFO allowing at-sea observers again if safe work procedures in place

May 15 fishery notice lays out conditions for allowing at-sea observers onboard amid COVID-19

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

Most Read