If you've been longing to head out to the national parks, the time has finally come. Parks Canada announced on Wednesday, May 27 that they're reopening many of the national parks to the public on June 1. This list includes all Alberta national parks and that means Banff and Jasper, too.
Parks Canada said in their latest update that they will "begin a safe, gradual opening of some outdoor locations in national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas."
This means that starting June 1, you can access some trails, day-use areas, and green spaces at many of the national parks.
"It is important that people have access to natural spaces where they can go to get exercise and fresh air in settings that facilitate physical distancing," read the update.
So Banff, Jasper, Waterton Lakes, Elk Island, and Wood Buffalo National Park will be ready for you by the first week of June.
But not everything will be reopening at that time and some services will remain closed.
For example, camping facilities will be closed at least until June 21, as mentioned on the Parks Canada website. This means that you shouldn't plan any overnights stays in the parks just yet.
Group activities and public events are also not allowed to take place in the areas.
⚠ UPDATE! Starting June 1, some of our places will begin offering limited visitor access & basic services. Please s… https://t.co/7JVMD0Yxs4— Parks Canada (@Parks Canada)1590590762.0
If you do decide to venture out there, you still need to maintain a physical distance of six feet from others who don't live with you in the same household.
These rules apply to all national parks that are reopening.
But there are also a bunch of specific rules pertaining to each and every park.
In terms of Banff, places like picnic shelters, kitchens, the Banff Park Museum, the visitor information centre, and some roads are still going to be closed.
Jasper will not be letting the public into the Miette Hot Springs, the visitor centres, the Athabasca day-use area, Mount Edith Cavell, among others.
Like Banff, they too are restricting vehicles on a ton of roads in the area. Similar rules remain in place for the other national parks in Alberta.
Parks Canada said that openings will differ across the country and that this is an evolving situation.
So while you can finally venture into Alberta's most treasured spots again, you need to be careful.
This means being aware of travel advisories, cleaning up after yourself, and most importantly, practicing safety measures all the way through.