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Letter: Chain reaction of park closures pushes people to other green spaces

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 8.0px 0.0px; font: 13.0px Geneva} Re. " COVID-19 shuts down B.C.
Forest near Sawblade Falls in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park.⁠
Forest near Sawblade Falls in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park.⁠

Re. "COVID-19 shuts down B.C. parks, including Pinecone Burke," (The Tri-City News, April 8)

The Editor,

As The Tri-City News has reported, the provincial government has issued a blanket closure of all B.C. provincial parks in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While I support this closure for the upcoming sunny long weekend, I would like to see more targeted measures to manage park attendance put into place in the coming days.

Would it not be possible, for example, to manage park attendance by closing specific high-traffic areas, by closing vehicle access and parking, or by, as another writer to The Tri-City News has suggested, instituting a system where people with even-numbered addresses could access parks on even-numbered days and those with odd-numbered addresses on odd-numbered days? Enforcement could be a challenge, but enforcement of the blanket closure will be, too.

Yesterday, on my regular two-hour walk in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park, I encountered four other people and had no trouble stepping aside to give them two-metres of space. By contrast, on my one-hour walk on the local streets today, I passed dozens of people and at times had difficulty leaving them two metres on account of narrow sidewalks and passing traffic. 

Closing provincial parks pushes people onto busier city streets and into the busier city and regional parks that remain open. I am also now considering driving eastwards to find Crown lands where my dog can exercise. 

As The Tri-City News article on the park closures has indicated, there has indeed been a chain reaction of pushing people from one green space to another as the provincial parks on the North Shore and then Buntzen Lake were closed. This chain reaction could be mitigated if targeted measures that allowed people to continue to use their local provincial parks were put into effect.

The closure of local green spaces will affect our physical and mental well-being. I am so glad that I was able to enjoy the freshly blooming salmonberry blossoms, violets and trilliums on the slopes of the mountainside on which I live before Pinecone Burke Provincial Park was closed indefinitely.

Leni Robinson, Coquitlam