Joffre Lakes Park to see closures allowing for conservation, tourism

An agreement between the B.C. government and the First Nations that manage Joffre Lakes Provincial Park will see the popular tourist spot closed for part of the year to protect its “natural and cultural values.”

The park will be closed from April 30 until May 15, and will close again between June 14 and June 23. A third closure will be in place between Sept. 3 and Oct. 6.

The upcoming closures are set to allow the Líl̓wat and N’Quatqua First Nations to conduct cultural celebrations and traditional fall harvesting practices.

The announcement comes after a disagreement over the park’s public-use led the Indigenous communities to shut down access to the park for about a month last year.

Lilwat Nation Chief Dean Nelson says in a statement the park area is sacred for his community and the closures are necessary for his people’s well-being.

Visitors to the park will still be required to reserve free day-use passes to visit Joffre Lakes in order for BC Parks to “reduce visitor impact on the natural environment.”

Five-hundred passes will be up for grabs each day the park remains open, and can be found on the BC Parks website.