A provincial park that sits right on the Canada-U.S. border has been flooded with visitors ever since reopening in May. After officials tried a bunch of different options to calm the crowds, Peace Arch Park is closed. The site is popular because it allows people from the U.S. and Canada to hang out in the same area — even when the border is closed.
The province of B.C. announced on Thursday, June 18, that they're closing the provincial park temporarily starting at 8 p.m that same day.
The closure is to address "public safety and traffic concerns," after a significant increase in visitors since it reopened on Thursday, May 14.
"Since then, parking lots and local access roads have been overwhelmed with nearly twice the number of vehicles compared to peak days in the summer season, resulting in illegal parking," read the release.
"Attendance has doubled over the same period compared to last year, leading to an increase in pedestrians along roadways."
Peace Arch Provincial Park is one of the only ways for Canadians and Americans to mingle together in the same area after the Canada-U.S. border closed. The northern half belongs to B.C. parks, while the southern area is owned by Washington State Parks.
According to their website, the U.S. portion of the park is still open for use as of Thursday, June 18.
Prior to closing the area, BC Parks took a bunch of steps to stop visitors from coming in. They tried "posting signage, increasing enforcement patrols, installing a permanent gate at the park entrance and reducing park hours from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m."
However, these measures were unable to prevent the growing crowds of people from visiting the park.
While the border between Canada and the U.S. remains closed, there have been reports of people visiting Canada through loopholes and going on vacations.
On June 16, the prime minister confirmed that the border would remain closed until at least mid-July. A decision that was mutually agreed on by both Canadian and U.S. governments.
That said, the federal government is now allowing immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to cross and stay with family, given they don't have symptoms and self-isolate for 14 days.
Maybe we won't have to meet at the arch, after all.