As of publishing this, May 10, 2020, no, Jasper is not open.
Yes, the mountains are calling. But, no, you still can’t go.
When will the National Parks be opening? Who knows!
Rumor on the street is Parks Canada has been looking at staffing options and hiring for the summer. So, this could be interpreted as good news.
And, the provincial parks are starting to open across Canada and this could also be good news for the opening of National Parks…. depending on how those openings go.
What does Parks Canada say about the opening of Jasper National Park?
According to the Parks Canada’s website:
All Parks Canada facilities are temporarily closed, all visitor services and all motor vehicle access by visitors are suspended until further notice.Parks Canada Website
It clearly states that the suspension of camping and activities will be in place until at least May 31, 2020.
This means that the Park’s information center, any interpretive programming, all the campgrounds, even road access to many popular sites are all closed.
Can you just visit Jasper for the day?
Well, this is where the debate gets hot, doesn’t it?
Jasper is on a major highway and access through the park is not currently being restricted. According to the website they are keeping these highways “open to through traffic only”; however, there are no park gate attendants enforcing this at this time.
So, you might technically be able to get into the park (even if it is breaking the rules), but then what?
Apparently officers in Banff National Park have resorted to stopping traffic to inquire on their purposes for being there. And, I’ve heard rumors of the same or similar actions in Jasper… of license plates being photographed, of people being questioned.
Remember, all non-essential roadways outside of the townsite (which includes most road access to the beautiful spots) are closed. Even the locals can’t get to the beaches or Malign Lake.
Outhouses may be locked and apparently parking at road side stops and trail heads is not permitted.
So, other than for a drive, why would you come?
Can you visit the town of Jasper?
Um, nope. Not really.
The town of Jasper is asking that tourists just don’t come. There are signs at the entrance to town announcing ‘Critical Services Only’.
Just like everywhere in the province, non-essential travel isn’t being encouraged.
Sure, some of our essential stores are open. Some cafes and restaurants are offering take-out, but mostly, Jasper is closed down. Even the playground are closed.
Jasperites have been following physical distancing measures very closely. Even the mayor made a statement a while back stressing the importance of visitors to stay away:
Now, in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis, is not the time to visitMayor of Jasper townsite, Richard Ireland
And, to be honest, I’d say the overwhelming sentiment around town is “yes, we love tourists, just not right now please”.
Sure, you might be able to bend the rules to your advantage. But, I think that it’s important for you to take a good look at the possible ramifications of your one small visit… and what if another 200 people feel the same about just one quick visit… and let’s say some of you need gas and some of you want to pick up a coffee…. and one things leads to another…
Jasper’s beautiful. We get it! The mountains have an unbelievable ability to calm our anxieties and raise our spirits.
But, the truth of the matter is, right now, yes, Jasper is closed.
In the meantime, now’s the perfect time to do some reading and plan your visit – when you actually can visit Jasper!