May 11, 2020: Ontario to reopen provincial parks and Conservation Reserves
Access for Limited Recreational Activities at Ontario Parks Permitted While Maintaining Physical Distancing
The Ontario government is reopening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. The first areas will open today ( May 11, 2020 ), with the remaining areas opening on Friday May 15. At this time, recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will also be able to access all parks and conservation reserves for free until the end of the month. The announcement was made last Saturday, 9, by Premier Doug Ford, Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
“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 Premier 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.”
On Monday, 520 provincial parks and conservation reserves across the province will open, and the remaining 115 will open on the following Friday for limited day-use activities. At this time, camping and other activities are not permitted at any provincial park or conservation reserve. All buildings and facilities including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, backcountry campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds, and beaches continue to be closed.
Go to park closest to your home
Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek urged people to visit the parks that are closest to their homes instead of spending hours on the highway travelling.
“People are eager to enjoy the warmer weather, stretch their legs and reconnect with nature,” said Minister Yurek. “In consultation with our health experts, we’re working to slowly phase-in the opening of Ontario Parks in a measured way to ensure the health and safety of visitors and staff. People should take note that not all amenities will be open and plan accordingly.”
People should bring their own water and hand sanitizer, said the minister Jeff Yurek.
Before planning your trip, please visit www.ontarioparks.com/park-locator to check the status of your local provincial park.