Mount Tzouhalem is one of the popular areas that North Cowichan will be making sure doesn’t become too crowded during COVID-19. (Citizen file)

North Cowichan to police popular trails to ensure physical distancing

“You can expect delays accessing Mount Tzouhalem, or even to be turned away.”

People need to obey the rules on physical distancing if they want the Municipality of North Cowichan’s trails to remain open.

Many public amenities have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, but North Cowichan has allowed their parks and trails to remain open, so that people can get outside and get some exercise, even as many self-isolate. Being able to do so is important for mental and physical health, including boosting the immune system, North Cowichan said on April 2 in a press release. But some popular areas are becoming overcrowded, to the point where North Cowichan staff will be policing some spots to make sure there aren’t too many people using them at once.

RELATED: North Cowichan responds to COVID-19 pandemic

“In B.C., we are still being encouraged by the Provincial Health Officer to enjoy the outdoors where possible, while still adhering to orders of physical distancing,” the release says. “In North Cowichan there are lots of municipally sanctioned trails to enjoy, which are loved and frequented by many. While our trails have remained open for the benefit of everyone’s physical and mental well-being during this challenging time, continued community cooperation will be necessary to ensure they can remain open to the public for the foreseeable future.”

North Cowichan is asking everyone to adhere to these best practices:

• No carpooling or meeting up with those outside your immediate household

• No congregating in parking lots, trailheads, or in your neighbourhood

• Plan ahead, keeping in mind that public washroom facilities are closed

• Keep at least two-metres distance between yourself and other trail users

Due to their popularity, the Mount Tzouhalem Kaspa and Nevilane trailheads have been particularly over-crowded, especially on weekends, the release noted. As a result, North Cowichan staff will be patrolling the Kaspa parking lot regularly and will be closing the road at Kaspa and Salish to avoid over-flow parking on the street.

“You can expect delays accessing Mount Tzouhalem, or even to be turned away. We want to ensure everyone is properly physically distancing on the trails, and in the parking lot,” said director of Parks and Recreation, Don Stewart. “If you arrive at Mount Tzouhalem and the parking lot is full, it’s best if you come back another time. At this critical juncture, it’s simply not worth the risk to everyone’s health and safety, and we all want to see our trails to remain open.”

RELATED: North Cowichan, schoool playgrounds shut down to avoid spread of COVID-19

All municipally sanctioned trails, including water access trails, will have increased signage to reinforce expectations and protocols for safe trail use. For example, at Chemainus Lake, all users must walk counter-clockwise to avoid passing others travelling in the opposite direction at an unsafe distance.

“Dr Bonnie Henry has stated that the next few weeks will be a critical time for us; what we do now will dictate how long we will have to continue with orders of physical distancing to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Mayor Al Siebring. “We are asking everyone to commit to adhering to these orders on our trails, so they can stay open.”

For more information, visit: https://www.northcowichan.ca/EN/main/departments/parks-recreation/mountain-biking-hiking.html.

CoronavirusCowichan Valley Regional District

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police warn of rental scams after Saanich resident nearly falls victim to one

Always see the home, meet the landlord in person before sending money, police say

Construction at Clover Point pump station causes wastewater spill

Residents advised to stay out of water near Clover Point

Grieving together, but apart: How funeral homes are handling the pandemic

‘Hugs are so important and right now hugs can’t happen’

What Sooke School District schools will look like on first day of reopening

No water fountains, rotating schedules and face masks not required

Sidney Lions, Peninsula-raised designer craft nearly 200 masks for area seniors

182 masks were distributed to four Saanich Peninsula care homes

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

$200,000 Maybach impounded after ‘L’ driver caught excessively speeding in Vancouver

Meanwhile, the supervisor sat in the passenger seat, police said

Yukon ready to lift COVID travel restrictions with B.C. in July: premier

Premier Sandy Silver says the territory’s health-care system can cope with the virus.

‘It is dire:’ Study finds B.C. logging continues on critical caribou habitat

The federal Species At Risk Act requires provinces to identify critical habitat for caribou herds

Feds looking at ways to reunite families amid COVID-19 border restrictions with U.S.

Some families with members of dual-citizenship have become separated due to the pandemic

Most Read