Photo: Alexander Shields
The federal website for Cap-de-Bon-Désir, on the North Shore, is frequented by tourists who want to observe whales.
It is “possible” that the Québec’s national parks are once again accessible in the course of the next few weeks, but no decision has yet been taken, ” says the ministry of Health and social Services. The government expects the green light from the public Health before allowing the Quebecers to visit these natural environments to take advantage of the summer season.
On Monday, the governments of Québec and Canada have indicated that the national parks under their respective jurisdiction may be accessible only if the public health authorities give their approval.
“The decision to open or not the parks will remain the prerogative of public Health, based on the representations that the minister and his office have made in the last few days and the analyses they make of the déconfinement gradual which takes place at the present time “, explained by e-mail the office of the minister of Forests, Wildlife, and Parks, Pierre Dufour.
The ministry of Health and social Services, there is, however, very cautious about a possible re-opening of the 24 national parks managed by the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (SEPAQ), which have been closed since the 20th of march. “Discussions are currently underway with the ministry on this matter, but no final decision has yet been taken by the public Health in regards to re-open national parks “, has responded to the Duty, the ministry’s communications branch.
Health authorities, like governments, to repeat that access to trails or other facilities at national parks, such as camping sites will be permitted only if it can be done without worsening the epidemic of COVID-19 in Quebec. “It is important to remember that the relaxation of containment measures must be done gradually to protect the health of the population and the capacity of the health care network to care for patients “, stressed the ministry of Health and social Services by e-mail.
This point of view is shared by Parks Canada, which manages national parks and historical sites federal. “Parks Canada continues to evaluate the suspension of services to the visitors and the closure of facilities thanks to the advice of experts in public health, and other regional considerations and local. Please note that any recovery will take time and will occur incrementally. “
The body, Nature Québec has pleaded on Monday for the reopening of the national parks of the province, finding that such access would first be a ” public health measure “.
“It is difficult to understand why people can go shopping today in the shops almost everywhere in Quebec so that they can’t go for a walk on a trail in a national park where the separation physical is much easier,” said the director general of Nature Québec, Alice-Anne Simard.
It is estimated that, for citizens confined for several weeks already, this re-opening could be beneficial. “Studies have shown that walks in nature reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, stress and mental fatigue. Access to nature is a public health measure that the government should be encouraging and is in line with the arguments that justify its policies of déconfinement, especially during a crisis-provoking as the one that we are currently living. “
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