Ontario’s Provincial Parks And Conservation Reserves Are Reopening

Saturday May 9th, 2020

Posted at 1:26pm

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Photo from Ontario Parks

The Ontario government is reopening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access.

Premier Doug Ford, Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health made the announcement Saturday afternoon.

The government says 520 provincial parks and conservation reserves across the province will reopen on Monday May 11th, and the remaining 115 will open on following Friday May 15th.  The government has not yet released a list showing which parks will reopen on which days.

Windsor’s nearest provincial parks include Wheatley, Rondeau and the Pinery, among others.

Officials say only certain recreational activities will be allowed such as walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching and all parks and conservation areas will be free to access until the end of the month.

They say camping and other activities will not be permitted at any provincial parks or conservation reserves, and all buildings and facilities including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, backcountry campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds, and beaches will be closed.

“As we continue to make progress in our fight to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are carefully and cautiously reopening the province, starting with certain businesses and retailers, and now our provincial parks and conservation reserves,” said Ford. “I encourage people to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but please do so in a responsible way. Practise physical distancing and follow the rules set out by health care officials to stop the spread of this virus.”

Ontario Parks manages 340 provincial parks and 295 conservation reserves covering over nine million hectares of land in the province.  The province’s parks were visited more than 10 million times in 2019.

The Ontario government had previously planned to keep provincial parks and conservation reserves closed until May 31st.

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