08/06/2017 12:20 EDT | Updated 08/06/2017 12:40 EDT

Sorry, the park is full; Waterton National Park turns visitors away

WATERTON, Alta. — A national park in southern Alberta has been such a popular destination this weekend that Parks Canada has been forced to close the gates.

Parks Canada says in a news release that due to an extremely high volume of traffic, Waterton Lakes National Park has reached the maximum capacity it can safely sustain.

Staff were restricting access at the entrance gate on Sunday, and were directing traffic past the park to maintain traffic flows on Highways 5 and 6.

Parks Canada says vehicles will not be allowed to line up on the highways, and that no one would be allowed in unless they have existing reservations within the park.

The restriction was expected to be lifted later Sunday afternoon and that updates would be issued on social media.

Parks Canada had prepared for a 20 per cent increase in the number of visitors to Waterton Lakes as part of its Canada 150 celebrations this year, where entry to all national parks is free.

"We understand this may be disappointing for visitors currently travelling to Waterton Lakes National Park and we appreciate their understanding. There are many alternate destinations in southwestern Alberta that offer similar experiences," Parks Canada says in its news release.

"A list of nearby parks, campgrounds and museums is available on our website."

Waterton Lakes National Park borders Glacier National Park in Montana and features landscape ranging from praires to lakes and mountains.

Parks Canada asks visitors to consider travelling mid-week, early or late in the day or during the shoulder seasons.