Province reopens parks for day use
By Chad Ingram
Last week the provincial government reopened its parks and conservation reserves for limited day use, while camping remains prohibited.
While the government had previously announced that provincial parks would remain closed until at least May 31, it later announced that some parks and reserves would reopen for restricted use on Monday, May 11, with the remainder reopening in the same fashion on Friday, May 15.
According to a press release from the province, activities are limited to walking, hiking, biking and birdwatching, and access to all parks will be free until the end of the month.
Park campgrounds remain closed, as well as all other facilities including washrooms, water taps, playgrounds and beaches.
“People are eager to enjoy the warmer weather, stretch their legs and reconnect with nature,”
Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek said in the release. “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.”
Anyone using a provincial park is also encouraged to continue to practice physical distancing.
“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,” Premier Doug Ford said in the release. “I encourage people to get out and enjoy the outdoors, but please do so in a responsible way. Practice physical distancing and follow the rules set out by health care officials to stop the spread of this virus.”