World famous Helmcken Falls is one of main drawing cards for Wells Gray Park. The park was closed to the public due to forest fire danger on July 9 and then re-opened on July 25. With continued hot and dry weather, BC Parks closed the backcountry portion of the park on Aug. 5.

BC Parks announces partial closure of Wells Gray Park

Only areas accessed by vehicle or boat, plus the shortest hiking trails remain open

Submitted

KAMLOOPS – BC Parks, in co-ordination with the BC Wildfire Service and Recreation Sites and Trails BC, will close backcountry access to specific areas of Wells Gray Provincial Park effective at 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017. This step is being taken to help protect public safety.

Members of the public will still have access to most of the major day-use sites in the highway corridor through the park, plus campgrounds and marine campsites. All other areas of the park (and adjacent recreation sites and trails that provide backcountry entry points) will be closed to public access.

Anyone in a closed area of the park should leave immediately. This partial closure will remain in effect until the public is otherwise notified.

This partial closure is being implemented to reduce the number of people in the park, since locating and safely evacuating the numerous users who visit the park each day would be extremely difficult in an emergency situation. This closure will ensure that backcountry users can leave the park in an orderly and safe manner, while allowing commercially guided groups (which are generally more easily evacuated because their whereabouts are known) to still access the park.

Supervised, commercially guided groups will continue to have access to the park unless conditions deteriorate further. People who are part of such a group should check with their tour operator or guide for details on how this partial closure may affect them.

British Columbians and visitors are urged to follow the instructions of BC Parks staff, BC Wildfire Service officials and other authorized personnel in the area, including conservation officers.

Wildfires are dynamic and circumstances may change quickly. BC Parks and the BC Wildfire Service will continue to assess the situation to help protect public safety. Should the need arise, additional provincial park closures may be implemented throughout the summer.

For more information about the backcountry closure of Wells Gray Provincial Park and to view a detailed list of open and closed areas, please visit the BC Parks website: www.bcparks.ca

Information about recreation sites and trails adjacent to the park that are being closed can be found on the Recreation Sites and Trails BC website: www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca

To report a wildfire or open burning violation, call 1 800 663-5555 toll-free or *5555 on a cellphone. For the latest information on current wildfire activity, burning restrictions, road closures and air quality advisories, go to: http://www.bcwildfire.ca

You can also follow the latest wildfire news on:

* Twitter: http://twitter.com/BCGovFireInfo

* Facebook: http://facebook.com/BCForestFireInfo