Although Parks Canada is suspending visitor services at national parks and historic sites starting midnight Wednesday, the winter permit system in Glacier National Park is still in effect.
“We know people want to get out into the fresh air,” said Shelley Bird, communications officer from Parks Canada.
The agency said the closures are to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
However, since the visitor centre will be closed at Rogers Pass, daily winter permits will no longer be provided. Regardless, Parks Canada will continue to provide avalanche control for Highway 1. The winter permit system separates skiers from artillery fire and the resulting avalanches.
According to Parks Canada’s website, people who already hold an annual winter permit and are planning to ski or board in Glacier National Park must check daily for the open or closed status of Winter Restricted Areas.
“It is really important that people do not abuse the system because the Discovery Centre is closed,” said Bird.
She continued that it’s important that people do not put themselves into risky situations in the backcountry when Canadian emergency services are stretched thin.
“Take extra caution,” Bird said.
Avalanche Canada is echoing similar safety messaging by urging backcountry users to be extra vigilant.
“This could be a time to avoid the backcountry. If you choose to head out, every effort should be made to avoid injuries,” reads Avalanche Canada’s website.
Parks Canada said they will continue to post avalanche bulletins for Glacier National Park.