The body Nature Québec calls on the government to reopen the national parks of Quebec “in compliance with the instructions of distancing physical” to allow the population to have access to nature.
In a press release published Monday, Nature Québec deplores the fact that the 24 national parks managed by the Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (Sépaq) will remain closed, and that no re-opening date is scheduled.
“It is difficult to understand why people can go shopping today in the shops almost everywhere in Quebec, so they can’t go walk in a trail in a national park where the separation physical is much easier,” said Alice-Anne Simard, director general Nature Québec.
The environmental organization also recalls the positive effects of natural spaces on the mental and physical health. “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,” said Ms. Simard.
For her, the reopening of national parks is “essential”, especially with the arrival of good weather, rules of distanciation physical become “almost impossible to meet” in the green spaces in the city.
While the Sépaq explained work on different scenarios to be able to open its facilities and receive visitors in a safe way, Nature Québec believes that the reopening may first pass through the many trails in the national parks.
“We understand that it is more difficult to comply with the instructions in a shelter or in a cottage, but it is quite possible in the trails. We are able to comply with the rules of distancing physical that people could buy jeans, and we will be able to adhere to them so that people can walk around in the forest,” says Ms. Simard.