Coronavirus update: Latest information on parks and outdoor spaces | Great Lakes Guide

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Coronavirus update: Latest information on parks and outdoor spaces

Published May 12, 2020

LAST UPDATED:
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 AT 12:14 PM

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During the COVID-19 outbreak, we recognize that people are looking to go outside and access outdoor spaces for their physical and mental health. When we go outside during this time, it’s important that we do so in compliance with the recommendations of the World Health Organization as well as our local governments.

Many parks, trails, and conservation areas in Ontario are staying open to the public during the coronavirus outbreak. They recognize that many of us are seeking asylum in nature during these difficult times, and we’re grateful that they are allowing us to find peace, comfort, and social distance outdoors.

When outdoor spaces make the difficult decision to close, it’s because there are too many people congregating in a single location, not social distancing, or gathering in groups. Our parks, trails, and conservation areas want to stay open and provide a place for you to enjoy nature, but they also want to keep you safe. Outdoor spaces can only stay open if visitors are visiting responsibly.

When you get out to enjoy nature, make sure that you are practicing social distancing, being responsible, and not risking your (or other’s) health or safety.


Before heading out, learn how to safely go outside during coronavirus.



3 things to remember when you go out during the COVID-19 pandemic:

1. Don’t meet up with anyone living outside of your household
2. Always keep at least a 2 meter (6 foot) distance from those around you on the trails.
3. Avoid crowded areas. If an area looks too crowded for you to be a safe distance from others, choose another spot or come back later.


Article image
Photo Credit: Meghan Callon

When you use an outdoor space, make sure that you leave no trace behind. Bring any garbage you have back out of the park with you.

If you see pollution in the water, take a photo and report it to Gassy, our new photo submission tool. By ‘feeding’ our digital water monster, you’re helping to capture important water health data and becoming a citizen scientist. Through AI Gassy tracks patterns in photos to determine if pollution is present.

Click here to jump to which National Parks, Provincial Parks, Municipal Parks, and Conservation Areas are open during the coronavirus outbreak.

Read on to find an overview of major updates on outdoor amenity and outdoor spaces below.


Overview of updates on outdoor spaces and amenities


Camping

Campsites are open at some National Parks. As of June 22, Parks Canada has begun to gradually offer camping services at some National Parks across the country. Some campgrounds will remain closed for the season. Click here for details from Parks Canada.

Campsites are open at Ontario’s Provincial Parks. Check OntarioParks.com to see what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.

Camping is permitted in some capacity in the following Ontario Conservation Areas:

  • Saugeen
  • Grand River
  • Long Point region
  • Kettle Creek
  • Hamilton
  • Maitland Valley
  • Niagara Peninsula
  • Catfish Creek
  • Essex Region
  • St. Clair Region
  • Lower Thames Valley
  • Upper Thames River
  • Nottawasaga Valley
  • Otonabee
  • Toronto and Region
  • Raisin Region


Beaches

Beaches are open at Ontario Parks.

Find Swim Guide’s updates on Ontario beach closures during COVID-19 and information about what it means when a beach is closed here.

Find the Ontario news release about Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 Outbreak here.

Find Great Lakes Guides updates on swimming in Ontario here.

Find Swim Guide’s updates on Toronto beach closures during COVID-19 and information about what it means when a beach is closed here.


Outdoor amenities and facilities

Green spaces, trails, beaches, boardwalks, outdoor sports facilities, multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, marinas, boat clubs, and public boat launches are open for recreational use.


All regions in ontario have entered Stage 3 reopening

As of August 12, all regions in Ontario entered Stage 3 of reopening. Sports facilities, playgrounds and gyms can reopen. Outdoor sports spectators are capped at 100. Outdoor tours are permitted, but are capped at 100 people. Some recreational classes can resume. Overnight children’s camps still cannot operate.

Read about Stage 3 here.



Read on to find out which National Parks, Provincial Parks, Municipal Parks, and Conservation Areas are open during the coronavirus outbreak.



Which parks are open?


National Parks

Limited visitor access and services are offered at select National Parks. Visitor access, services, and opening dates for National Parks may vary across the country. Accessing some trails, day use areas, and green spaces as well as recreational boating and water access is allowed at some locations. Recreational fishing may be allowed at some Parks Canada places. Please call ahead to ensure fishing permits are available and or can be validated. Click here for more details from Parks Canada.

Contact Information:
Phone: 1-877-737-3783
Email: pc.information.pc@canada.ca



Provincial Parks

Provincial Parks have begun to reopen on Monday May 11, with remaining areas opening on Friday May 15. Click here for the Ontario Parks page on COVID-19 updates

Contact Information:
Phone: 1-800-668-2746
Email Contact Form



There are 36 Conservation Authorities located across Ontario. Here are the Conservation Areas that are open:




Conservation Areas in Southern Ontario


Grey Sauble:

All Grey Sauble Conservation Authority properties and trails are now open. Please check the Visiting Conservation Areas during COVID-19 page for more information, updates and tips. No Camping is allowed on Grey Sauble Conservation lands.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-376-3076
Email: explore@greysauble.on.ca



Ausable Bay:

Trails and conservation areas owned and/or managed by Ausable Bay CA are reopened to limited use.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-235-2610, or toll-free 1-888-286-2610
Email: info@abca.ca



Saugeen:

Saugeen Conservation is beginning to re-open their parks. Find detailed reopening information for day use areas, campgrounds, and services here. Saugeen Conservation (SVCA) will be closing access across the Middle Durham Dam due to significant challenges with respect to public use.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-367-3040
Email: publicinfo@svca.on.ca



Halton:

Crawford Lake, Hilton Falls, Rattlesnake Point, Mount Nemo and Kelso are open to members and the public for hiking and biking by pre-reserved visits only at parkvisit.ca. Robert Edmondson and Mountsberg Dam are open for fishing only, reservations not required at these two locations.

Click here for Reserved Park Visit FAQs.

Click here to reserve your park visit.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-336-1158
Email: web@hrca.on.ca



Grand River:

Most GRCA owned and managed trails and natural areas are now open. The Elora Quarry Conservation Area is closed for 2020. Overnight camping is open at Brant, Byng Island, Elora Gorge, Guelph Lake, Pinehurst Lake and Rockwood conservation areas. Reservations may only be made online in advance. Overnight camping is not open at Conestogo Lake and Laurel Creek conservation areas.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-621-2761, or toll-free 1-866-900-4722
Email: grca@grandriver.ca



Long Point Region:

Long Point Region Conservation Authority Conservation Areas and forest tracts without campgrounds are open to the public for day-use activities, reservations are not required. Backus Heritage CA, Deer Creek CA and Waterford North CA are open for day-use access. Haldimand CA and Norfolk CA are not open for day-use access. Overnight campsite reservations are now open for self-contained camping units only.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-842-4242
Email: conservation@lprca.on.ca



Kettle Creek:

Kettle Creek Conservation Area Trails are open. Click here for detailed Conservation Areas & Trails information such as trail width for social distancing, what activities are available, and what remains closed. Campgrounds are open to transient overnight camping and limited day-use.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-631-1270
Email: info@kettlecreekconservation.on.ca



Hamilton:

Most Hamilton Conservation Areas are now open. Dundas Peak, Spencer Gorge, Tew and Webster Falls, and Crooks Hollow are not included in this opening. Consider visiting less busy areas like Westfield Heritage Village or Eramosa Karst. Click here for more information about what is open/closed. Nightly camping is open for reservation only.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-525-2181
Email: nature@conservationhamilton.ca



Maitland Valley:

Falls Reserve Conservation Area and all other Conservation Areas have reopened for limited day use access to visitors with physical distancing guidelines in place. The Maitland Conservation Administration Centre will reopen for limited service on Monday August 10, 2020.

Book a campsite at Falls Reserve Conservation Area to guarantee a campsite is available when you arrive. On-line reservations are available.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-335-3557
Email: maitland@mvca.on.ca



Niagara Peninsula:

All NPCA conservation areas are now open for active day-use recreation. The complete list can be found at www.npca.ca/parks. Transient camping is now permitted with online reservations available as of June 29. Conservation Areas with overnight camping available are Chippawa Creek and Long Beach.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-788-3135
Email: info@npca.ca



Catfish Creek:

The public is encouraged to make use of the Springwater Forest and trail system or any of Catfish Creek’s other conservation areas. The trails remain open for walk through access. Springwater Conservation Area is now open for seasonal and transient camping.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-773-9037
Email: admin@catfishcreek.ca



Essex Region:

Outdoor conservation areas and trails are open from dawn to dusk for passive use. Holiday Beach Conservation Area opened to registered seasonal campers on Friday, May 29, 2020.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-776-5209
Email: admin@erca.org



St. Clair Region:

Trails at SCRCA Conservation Areas will be open to the public, however, trail maintenance may be limited. Full details on the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority’s COVID-19 pandemic response is available here. The seasonal camping season began with restrictions on Friday, June 5th.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-245-3710
Email: stclair@scrca.on.ca



Lower Thames Valley:

Trails and green spaces are available for public use. Camping reservations open for the 2020 season on March 2, 2020 at 9 a.m.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-354-7310
Email Contact Form



Upper Thames River:

Visitors are welcome to park and walk in Upper Thames River Conservation Areas. The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority is opening nightly camping at Fanshawe Conservation Area (London) on June 29, and at Pittock Conservation Area (Woodstock) and Wildwood Conservation Area (St. Marys) on July 6.

Contact Information:
Phone: 519-451-2800
Email: infoline@thamesriver.on.ca




Conservation Areas in Central Ontario:


Credit Valley:

Access to select CVC trails is available for limited use, while maintaining physical distancing. Visit our Conservation Areas page for up-to-date status of our parks and trails. Belfountain Conservation Area and the Cheltenham Badlands are open by reservation only. Reserve here.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-670-1615, or toll-free 1-800-668-5557
Email: recreation@cvc.ca



Ganaraska Region:

All conservation areas are currently open. Ganaraska Millennium Conservation Area is now a one-way trail: head right upon entry to the trailhead. Remember to practice social-distancing on the trails and in CA parking lots. Please note that ahead of the peak salmon migration, and in effort to continue to keep our watershed safe, the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority will be closing Ganaraska Millennium, Port Hope, Sylvan Glen and Thurne Parks Conservation Areas. These conservation areas will be closed August 28th through to October 1st. Ganaraska Forest is open to all recreational activities. Please see: IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL VISITORS.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-885-8173
Email: info@grca.on.ca



Central Lake Ontario:

Central Lake Ontario Conservation (CLOCA) announces the re-opening plan for all eight of their Conservation Areas effective Wednesday May 20, 2020, with COVID-19 mitigation measures in place. All Conservation Areas and adjoining parking lots will be open on Wednesday, May 20 for trail use only.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-579-0411
Email: mail@cloca.com



Lake Simcoe Region:

Lake Simcoe Region has reopened conservation areas across the watershed as of Friday, May 29, 2020. As they move forward with our phased approach to reopening, they’ll post regular updates about openings and closures​ here: Conservation Areas webpages​.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-895-1281, or toll-free 1-800-465-0437
Email Contact Form



Nottawasaga Valley:

Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) is reopening conservation areas for public use on Friday, May 15, 2020. Tiffin Conservation Area group campgrounds are open for families.

Contact Information:
Phone: 705-424-1479
Email: admin@nvca.on.ca



Kawartha:

All Kawartha Conservation Areas and the Off-leash Dog Park are now open for passive use.

Contact Information:
Phone: 705-328-2271
Email: GenInfo@KawarthaConservation.com



Otonabee:

Otonabee properties are open with the exception of the Caves and the Caves Trail are closed at Warsaw Caves CA. Closed trails are signed. To reserve a campsite at Beavermead Campground or Warsaw Caves Conservation Area, click here.

Contact Information:
Phone: 705-745-5791
Email: otonabeeca@otonabeeconservation.com



Toronto and Region:

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s trails and conservation parks are open. TRCA has suspended aquatic facility operations for the 2020 season. Camping will now be available to nightly campers. Albion Hills Campground will offer nightly camping as of June 26, 2020. Indian Line Campground will offer nightly camping as of June 30, 2020.

Contact Information:
Phone: 416-661-6600, toll-free 1-888-872-2344
Email: info@trca.ca




Conservation Areas in Eastern Ontario:


Mississippi Valley:

All conservation areas that were previously closed (Mill of Kintail, Morris Island, Purdon, all trails) are open as of May 16, 2020. Click here for information on Purdon.

Contact Information:
Phone: 613-253-0006
Email: info@mvc.on.ca



Crowe Valley:

CVCA conservation areas remain open to the public as per usual. Crowe Bridge Park will be closed for the remainder of the season effective Thursday, July 30, 2020 at 4:00 p.m.

Contact Information:
Phone: 613-472-3137
Email: info@crowevalley.com



Lower Trent:

Conservation Lands are open for public use but physical distancing rules apply.

Contact Information:
Phone: 613-394-4829
Email: information@ltc.on.ca



Quinte:

The Depot Lakes Conservation Area is open.Little Bluff Conservation Area will remain closed for the duration of the summer season. Interior camping has been closed for the 2020 season due to COVID-19. Stay up to date with Depot Lakes news and to be informed about the campground opening. Click here to sign up for the Depot Lakes Newsletter.

Contact Information:
Phone: 613-968-3434
Email: info@quinteconservation.ca



Raisin Region:

The public is invited to continue enjoying our network of nature trails at Gray’s Creek Conservation Area, Cooper Marsh Conservation Area, and Charlottenburgh Park. Seasonal camping lots at Charlottenburgh Park for the 2020 season are now full.

Contact Information:
Phone: 613-938-3611
Email: info@rrca.on.ca



Rideau Valley:

Trails are open at all RVCA Conservation Areas.

Contact Information:
Phone: 613-692-3571, or toll-free 1-800-267-3504
Email: info@rvca.ca



South Nation:

Conservation Areas continue to remain open with the exception of Camp Sheldrick.

Contact Information:
Phone: 613-984-2948
Email: info@nation.on.ca



Cataraqui Region:

Cataraqui Conservation has re-opened public access to most of its conservation areas and the Cataraqui Trail.The Boardwalk is closed at Marshlands Conservation Area.

Contact Information:
Phone: 1-877-956-2722
Email: info@crca.ca




Conservation Areas in Northern Ontario:


Lakehead Region:

Lakehead Region’sConservation Areas are open. Benches and pavilions may be used, so long as minimum physical distancing of 2 metres is maintained.

Contact Information:
Phone: 807-344-5857
Email: info@lakeheadca.com



Mattagami Region:

Trails and conservation areas will remain open to the public, however there will be limited maintenance until further notice. Scout Rock Trail has been reopened. Sections of the Bart Thomson Trail remain closed until major repairs can be completed.

Contact Information:
Phone: 705-360-2660
Email: mrca@timmins.ca



North Bay-Mattawa:

All of NBMCA’s conservation areas, beaches and boat launches are now open.

Contact Information:
Phone: North Bay 705-474-5420, Parry Sound 705-746-7566
Email: North Bay nbmca@nbmca.ca, Parry Sound nbmca@nbmcaps.ca



Sault Ste. Marie Region:

Conservation areas and trails are open for walkthrough access and passive use only. The entrance to Mark’s Bay Conservation Area and Fort Creek Conservation Area will remain closed.

Contact Information:
Phone: 705-946-8530
Email: nature@ssmrca.ca



Sudbury:

The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area will remain accessible to the public.

Contact Information:
Phone: 705-674-5249
Email: ndca@ConservationSudbury.ca



Conservation Area office reopenings:


Cataraqui Region

Catfish Creek

Hamilton

Kettle Creek

Maitland

Nottawasaga Valley

Sudbury



Phased Re-opening of the Bruce Trail beginning May 15

As of September 3, 2020, most of the Bruce Trail is open. Areas remaining closed will continue to be updated on our Trail updates page, on our Bruce Trail App, and on the websites of parks and other public landowners.

Contact Information:
Phone: 1-800-665-4453
Email: info@brucetrail.org



Municipal Parks

For those living in the city, it may be tricky to find transportation to Conservation Areas or National Parks. Municipal Parks are great nearby options, especially for those who may not have access to a vehicle to safely reach other natural areas. If you do have a vehicle and are able to access natural areas that are further from the city, doing so will prevent overcrowding in urban parks and green spaces.

City of Toronto staff have identified 10 emerging problem areas where there have been complaints about irresponsible or illegal behaviour.

Please avoid the following 10 hotspots:

  • Bluffer’s Park
  • Canoe Landing
  • Christie Pits
  • High Park
  • Humber Bay Park East
  • Sunnyside Park
  • Trinity Bellwoods
  • Van Horne Park
  • Woodbine Park
  • Sherwood Park

Instead of visiting these high-traffic areas, consider enjoying one of these other Municipal Parks:


Jack Darling Park:

Jack Darling Park is currently open. If you visit Jack Darling Park, you MUST practice social distancing (stay a minimum of 2 metres away from others) and do NOT meet up with anyone outside of your own household.

Contact Information:
Phone: 905-615-4100
Email Contact form



Marilyn Bell Park

Marilyn Bell Park is currently open. If you visit Marilyn Bell Park, you MUST practice social distancing (stay a minimum of 2 metres away from others) and do NOT meet up with anyone outside of your own household.

Contact Information:
Phone: 416-392-2489
Email: 311@toronto.ca



Trillium Park

Trillium Park is currently open. If you visit Trillium Park, you MUST practice social distancing (stay a minimum of 2 metres away from others) and do NOT meet up with anyone outside of your own household.

Contact Information:
Phone: 416-314-9900
Email: info@ontarioplace.com



Coronation Park:

Coronation Park is currently open. If you visit Coronation Park, you MUST practice social distancing (stay a minimum of 2 metres away from others) and do NOT meet up with anyone outside of your own household.

Contact Information:
Phone: 416-338-4386
Email: 311@toronto.ca



Tommy Thompson Park:

Tommy Thompson Parkis currently open. If you visit Tommy Thompson Park, you MUST practice social distancing (stay a minimum of 2 metres away from others) and do NOT meet up with anyone outside of your own household.

Contact Information:
Phone: 416-661-6600
Email: ttp@trca.on.ca



Scarborough Heights Park

Scarborough Heights Park is currently open. If you visit Scarborough Heights Park, you MUST practice social distancing (stay a minimum of 2 metres away from others) and do NOT meet up with anyone outside of your own household.

Contact Information:
Phone: 416-338-4386
Email: 311@toronto.ca





Other COVID-19 resources:


How to keep a safe distance when using natural spaces

COVID-19 updates from the World Health Organization

Can't go outside? Find the Great Lakes in your own home

30 ways to connect with nature from home during the COVID-19 pandemic



Find the answers to our COVID-19 FAQs:


What is COVID-19?

How is COVID-19 spread?

How can I reduce my chance of getting sick with COVID-19?

Can I go outside in Ontario during COVID-19?

Do I need to stock up on supplies during COVID-19?


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