PEACE Arch Provincial Park will be temporarily closed, effective Thursday, June 18 at 8 p.m. (Pacific time) because of the public safety and traffic concerns in neighbouring communities due to a significant increase in the number of park visitors.
On April 8, BC Parks closed all provincial parks in response to widespread calls for increased action to address the spread of COVID-19. The park reopened on 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. Attendance has doubled over the same period compared to last year, leading to an increase in pedestrians along roadways.
BC Parks has consulted with RCMP, border officials and numerous local communities. Several measures have been taken to manage the growth in the numbers of visitors, e.g., 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. The measures have not addressed the risk associated with the significant increases in visitors from both sides of the border.
BC Parks understands the importance of unification for families and friends. Through exemptions to the Federal Quarantine Act, the federal government is now allowing immediate family members of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to enter Canada to be with an immediate family member for a period of at least 15 days, as long as they are asymptomatic of COVID-19 and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
The park will reopen when it is deemed safe to do so.