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Hey Squamish, Coronavirus Can Spread from The Chief Trail Ladders

Update: the trail is now closed, as are others in Squamish

On Saturday, hundreds of hikers from out of town (and likely some from town) went up The Chief trail in Squamish. All Canadians are advised to practice social distancing and keep their distance. The novel coronavirus covid-19 can live on metal and plastic for a few days, which is why everyone is encouraged to wash their hands and not touch their faces.

Update: The Trail is Now Closed

The Squamish Chief trail ladders can transmit the coronavirus between people, even if those people don’t know that they have it. Until mountains towns close their trails, which they will, we need to practice better practices to prevent the spread. Don’t use trails that have ladders, railings and don’t use trail head outhouses.

It’s encouraged to go for a walk or a hike, but not to use crowded trails. Trails in some places in Canada are already closing because users didn’t respect the rules. Below is a photo from @pebbleshoo showing The Chief trail yesterday (March 22). Below are closure warning from Ontario and a message from the government.

I’m a climber, skier and love running up peaks, but during this time I won’t be climbing, skiing or hiking up popular trails. I’ll be staying close to home and hiking in not-so-crowded areas. I encourage everyone to do the same. I know this sucks and none of us want this to happen, especially during spring, but we have to let health care officials and our friends in essential services know that while they’re out there working for us, that we’re doing what we can for them. Follow Squamish Access Society on Instagram below.

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The Chief is now closed.

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We have made the decision to close all Conservation Halton parks indefinitely. On March 13, we reduced staff in our parks and gatehouses, closed all facilities, cancelled all programming and closed some of our parks, while leaving others open for people to engage in passive recreation. We also suspended our regular fees and encouraged visitors to pay what they can. The parks were still served by Park Rangers and other park operations staff with no direct contact with customers. They were monitoring conditions, parking and visitor safety for adherence to social distancing related to COVID-19. Our parks were extremely busy on Saturday with a spike in hiking visits from 12pm onwards. Although many of our visitors have respected social distancing, our Rangers observed and reported concerns with crowding in some areas, parking lot capacity and illegal parking, and people entering areas that are marked as closed. Considering these challenges, all Conservation Halton parks will remain closed indefinitely. These include Kelso, Mountsberg, Crawford Lake, Rattlesnake Point, Hilton Falls, Mount Nemo and Robert Edmondson Conservation Areas. For parents with children at home, we have prepared some online resources to support learning about nature without leaving your home. You can find them on our website. Stay safe and stay well.

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