Provincial parks and conservation reserves to open next week

Recreational activities will be limited to biking, hiking, walking and birdwatching

There will be more places to let your feet do the walking.

The Ford government has announced provincial parks and conservation reserves will open next week. Recreational activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching. Day visitors will have free access to the parks until the end of the month.

“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 Ontario will open, and the remaining 115 will open on the following Friday(May 15). Camping and other activities are still not permitted. All buildings and facilities including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, backcountry campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds, and beaches continue to be closed.

Environment, Conservation and Parks Minister Jeff Yurek said if you plan to visit a park, only go to the one closest to you. Since washrooms and drinkable water will not be available, people will need to bring their own hand sanitizer and water.

“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.”

Over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks’ staff will be conducting critical maintenance and other parks start-up procedures, so that more recreational activities and facilities will be available when it is safe to do so.

Before planning your trip, the government asks that you visit www.ontarioparks.com/park-locator to check the status of your local provincial park.