Territorial parks opening delayed

Barricades block the entrance to Fred Henne Territorial Park in Yellowknife. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).

Residents looking to get active outside while respecting physical distancing guidelines won’t be able to enjoy NWT parks a little longer.

Over the Easter long weekend, the territorial Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment announced it is postponing the opening of territorial parks until further notice due to COVID-19.

The territory’s online reservation system is also closed for the time being.

In the news release, the department said the decision “follows examples set by Parks Canada and other jurisdictions.”

Three weeks ago, Parks Canada said it was suspending all vehicle access to national parks, national historic sites and marine conservation areas. Parking lots, day use areas and visitor centres have all been closed since then.

Other provinces have also followed suit, including Alberta, British Columbia and Ontario. The Yukon government has also delayed the sale of park permits until June.

Manitoba, on the other hand, has kept its parks open to the public as long as visitors practice safe physical distancing.

Most NWT parks open on May 15 every year.

In a statement, ITI Minister Katrina Nokleby said, “We know that families are eager to get outside and enjoy NWT Parks. I can assure you this decision was not made lightly, but ultimately the health and safety of our guests, staff, and contractors is our top priority.”

Residents can still use walking trails within the parks as long as you maintain physical distancing guidelines of two meters.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.