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:
THURSDAY, JULY 9 AT 1:22 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 and updates on outdoor amenities


City of Toronto reopening more than 850 park amenities

As of May 20, Mayor John Tory announced the City of Toronto will open more than 850 park amenities this week, following the Province of Ontario’s amendments to an order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

Learn more about which park amenities are reopening in Toronto here.

As of May 26, city parks and some amenities are open for the following activities:

  • People can walk/run/bike in parks and ravine green spaces; beaches; trails; boardwalks
  • Parks green space is available for public use for those wishing to rest or read a book
  • You are allowed to bring a picnic to the park or sit on a blanket and enjoy the park setting as long as everyone present is a member of a single household, and that they remain more than two metres away from others not from their household who may also be the park
  • Dogs Off-leash Areas (locations)
  • Fishing with a licence
  • People can also boat, kayak, canoe
  • BMX and skateboard parks, and disc golf locations
  • Soccer and multi-use fields and baseball diamonds (as of May 23)
  • Outdoor basketball courts (as of May 23)
  • Tennis courts, platform tennis and pickleball courts (opening in phases starting May 23)


Some outdoor amenities are reopening in Ontario

As of May 19, some outdoor recreational amenities in Ontario are reopening with restrictions:

“Today, the province officially enters the first stage of its Framework for Reopening the Province. As part of this initial stage, the government is permitting the reopening of some outdoor recreational amenities, including outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, off-leash dog areas, and outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreational areas, effective as of Tuesday, May 19, 2020.”

“Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools, splash pads and similar outdoor water facilities will remain closed until later stages of the province's reopening plan.”


Marinas, boat clubs, public boat launches, private parks, and campgrounds may open May 16

“As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020: Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use; Private parks and campgrounds may open to enable preparation for the season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.”


Ferry service to Toronto Islands for non-residents will resume June 27

As of June 24, ferry service to the Toronto Islands for non-residents will resume June 27. Ferry capacity will be reduced to 50% and only 5000 tickets will be issued each day to avoid crowding. It’s recommended that people book their tickets online in advance. Visitors to the islands are also being asked to try to plan their visits at non-peak hours if possible — peak hours are 9:30 to lunch and 3:30-6:30. Passengers must wear face coverings.


Overview and updates on outdoor spaces


Click here to see the Ontario Parks page for COVID-19 updates

Ontario Opening Backcountry Camping in Provincial Parks and Conservation Reserves

“As of June 1, limited backcountry camping will be available at Ontario Parks, including access points, paddle and portage routes and hiking trails. Those with reservations made for backcountry camping beginning June 1 and onward will be allowed to proceed. Following current provincial restrictions no more than 5 people can occupy a backcountry campsite during their stay, unless from one household.”

“The closure of all other overnight camping and some day use activities at provincial parks and conservation reserves and backcountry camping at Charleston Lake, Fushimi Lake, Grundy Lake, Halfway Lake, Mississagi, Murphy’s Point, Restoule and Wakami Lake will continue to be reassessed and has been extended up to June 14 at this time. Buildings and facilities including, campgrounds, roofed accommodations, visitor centres, park stores, picnic shelters, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed. Washroom facilities may be available at some parks – visitors should check their individual park page at www.OntarioParks.com to see what facilities are available before visiting.”


Ontario will begin opening Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas on Monday May 11, with remaining areas opening on Friday May 15

As of May 9, Provincial Parks and Conservation Areas are scheduled to being re-opening on Monday May 11:

“The Ontario government is opening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. The first areas will open on Monday May 11, 2020, with the remaining areas opening on Friday May 15, 2020. 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.”

“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.”


Limited visitor access and services will be offered at select national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas starting June 1

“Starting June 1, visitors will be permitted to access some trails, day use areas, and green spaces at some locations. Until then, all suspensions of visitor services and closures of facilities announced in March remain in place. For their own safety, visitors should not try to access locations that are closed. All camping facilities remain closed until at least June 21, 2020, while Parks Canada assesses whether and how these services might resume. Group activities and public events will be prohibited until further notice. All existing reservations set to take place prior to June 21, 2020, will be automatically cancelled and refunded in full. Highways and roadways which pass through Parks Canada places will remain open.”


Beach openings and closures in Ontario

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.

As of June 10, the City of Toronto reminds residents that: “Toronto swimming beaches are not supervised by lifeguards at this time. Swimming at Toronto beaches without the supervision of a lifeguard is not recommended.”


Some Ontario health units will enter Stage 2 of reopening on June 12

“Stage 2 will reopen beach access, additional camping at Ontario Parks, camping at private campgrounds, tour and guide services, water recreational facilities, outdoor-only recreational facilities, and training for outdoor team sports.”

Click here for a list of what can open in which regions in Ontario during stage 2.


Beaches and campsites to open at Ontario Parks

As of June 10, “As part of the Ontario government's Stage 2 reopening plan, more facilities and services will be available at provincial parks in certain regions beginning on June 12, 2020. Gradually over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks will start opening campgrounds, providing more washrooms and drinking water, along with roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres, and sports fields. It's important to check what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.”

“The following is a list of recreational activities and facilities that will be opening soon at provincial parks in regions entering Stage 2:

  • On June 12, beaches at Ontario Parks will begin opening to the public as maintenance and water testing are completed.
  • On June 15, campers enrolled in this year's Ontario Parks' Seasonal Campsite Program will now have access to their campsites at the majority of participating provincial parks. Those who were preselected in 2019 for the program will be contacted by Ontario Parks directly regarding the status of their reservation.
  • Beginning the week of June 22, all other campgrounds in regions entering Stage 2 will gradually open at provincial parks, along with washrooms, water taps and trailer sanitation stations.
  • Roofed accommodations (e.g., yurts, cabins and lodges, where available), park store and rental operations, visitor centers, and sports fields will be phased in over the next several weeks.”

“Facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season. Visitors should check OntarioParks.com to see what facilities and services are available before visiting a provincial park.”


Camping allowed in national parks on June 22 by existing reservation only

As of June 17, Parks Canada has announced that some national parks and historic sites will be open to those with existing camping reservations starting June 22.



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?


Limited visitor access and services will be offered at select national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas starting June 1

“Starting June 1, visitors will be permitted to access some trails, day use areas, and green spaces at some locations. Until then, all suspensions of visitor services and closures of facilities announced in March remain in place. For their own safety, visitors should not try to access locations that are closed. All camping facilities remain closed until at least June 21, 2020, while Parks Canada assesses whether and how these services might resume. Group activities and public events will be prohibited until further notice. All existing reservations set to take place prior to June 21, 2020, will be automatically cancelled and refunded in full. Highways and roadways which pass through Parks Canada places will remain open.”

Click here for details on which national parks are reopening


Provincial Parks will begin to reopen on Monday May 11, with remaining areas opening on Friday May 15:

“The Ontario government is opening provincial parks and conservation reserves for limited day-use access. The first areas will open on Monday May 11, 2020, with the remaining areas opening on Friday May 15, 2020. 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.”

“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.”

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



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



Conservation Areas in Southern Ontario


Grey Sauble:

“All GSCA Properties and Trails are now open. Please visit the Visiting Conservation Areas during COVID-19 page for more information, updates and tips. Be sure to check this page before planning your hike. Amenities like washrooms and garbage receptacles will not be available, so please plan your visit accordingly.”

“Grey Sauble Conservation Authority (GSCA) regrettably announces the closure the GSCA office to the public, as well as the cancellation of face-to-face meetings, events and programs, to proactively protect visitors and staff from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19.”

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



Ausable Bay:

“Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) announced on May 22, 2020 that trails and conservation areas owned and/or managed by ABCA were reopened to limited use. Playgrounds, play structures and privies in conservation areas remain closed and Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre is also closed until further notice. Otherwise, ABCA trails and conservation lands are open for public use contingent on following public health direction.”

“The reopening includes all conservation areas: Clinton, Bannockburn, Zurich, Morrison Dam, Crediton, Lucan, Parkhill, Rock Glen, and Ausable River Cut. Other properties include Mystery Falls, L-Lake, Sadler Tract, and Linfield. The reopening also includes MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail. To maintain physical distancing, trail users are asked to move in a counter-clockwise direction with the increasing numbers on the distance markers.”

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



Saugeen:

“Saugeen Conservation is pleased to announce that they are beginning to re-open their parks. Please note, however, that facilities WILL NOT be open, including washrooms, picnic shelters, activity centres and playgrounds.”

Find detailed reopening information for day use areas and campgrounds here.

“Please be aware that as of today, March 17th, Saugeen Conservation will be closing its office to the general public until further notice. Staff, however, will still be on duty and would be happy to help out with essential services.”

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



Halton:

“Six of our seven parks—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 2 locations. Mountsberg will be opened in the coming weeks.

Click here for Reserved Park Visit FAQs.

Click here to reserve your park visit.

“Most, if not all, of the trails are available, but indoor facilities such as washrooms and visitor centres, remain closed. Outhouses are open but we ask that you plan ahead for limited access. There is reduced staffing at the parks, which means that programs and services, such as camping, boat rentals and the challenge course, are still on hold. Until these programs and services are available, park entrance fees will be reduced.”

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



Grand River:

“Beginning Saturday, May 16, 2020, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) will reopen its sections of the Cambridge to Paris Rail Trail, and the Brantford to Hamilton Rail Trail for biking and hiking. The GRCA’s remaining closed section of the Elora Cataract Trailway will also open on Saturday. The section between Elora and Fergus was reopened earlier this month under a mutual agreement with the Township of Centre Wellington. The SC Johnson Trail (Paris to Brantford) has remained open as it has been maintained by the County of Brant.”

“In addition, the GRCA will be reopening Laurel Creek (Waterloo) and Shade’s Mills (Cambridge) conservation areas for recreational activities such as walking and birdwatching. Fishing and boating are not permitted at either park at this time. These areas will be open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. to those with a GRCA membership pass or paying by credit card at the automatic gate. Standard entrance fees will apply.”

“On Saturday, May 23, the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) will reopen Belwood Lake (Fergus), Conestogo Lake(Wallenstein), Guelph Lake (Guelph) and Rockwood (Rockwood) conservation areas for limited recreational activities such as walking and birdwatching.”

“The GRCA will also be reopening a number of additional natural areas to the public on Saturday, May 23 for recreational activities such as walking and birdwatching, including: Dumfries Conservation Area, Cambridge, Arkell-Smith, Puslinch, Guelph Lake dam to Victoria Road N (including GORBA trails), Guelph,Puslinch Tract, Puslinch, Snyder's Flats, Bloomingdale, Starkey Hill, Puslinch.”

“May 30, Brant (Brantford), Byng Island (Dunnville), Elora Gorge (Elora) and Pinehurst Lake (Ayr) conservation areas, as well as Luther Marsh Wildlife Management Area (Grand Valley), will reopen for limited recreational activities. With the exception of the Elora Quarry Conservation Area, all Grand River Parks have now reopened for limited day use activities. At this time, the timeline to reopen the Elora Quarry remains uncertain.”

“Starting July 10, select Grand River Parks including Brant, Byng Island, Elora Gorge, Guelph Lake, Pinehurst Lake and Rockwood conservation areas will offer limited overnight camping. To support this, the GRCA camping reservation system will reopen on July 6 at 9:00 a.m. for online bookings only. Conestogo Lake and Laurel Creek conservation areas will not offer overnight camping in 2020.”

“All buildings and on-site facilities, including washrooms, gatehouses, picnic areas, playgrounds, beaches and docks in these areas will remain closed. In addition, no garbage receptacles will be available and visitors are asked to carry any garbage or pet waste out with them.”

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



Long Point Region:

“As of 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, Long Point Region Conservation Authority properties without campgrounds will be open to the public for limited day use activities. Conservation Areas with campgrounds will remain closed to the public. Long Point Region Conservation Authority will be closing the Administration Office, the Conservation Education Centre at Backus Heritage Conservation Area and the Waterford Workshop to the public as of 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.”

“As of Friday, June 12, LPRCA Conservation Areas with campgrounds will be open for seasonal camping access only.”

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



Kettle Creek:

“Some hiking trails are now open. The Kettle Creek Dog Park is now open. Campgrounds remain closed for day use and transient overnight camping. For a full list of closures and updates on our camping season please see our COVID-19 Update Page.

Click here for detailed Conservation Areas & Trails Information such as trail width for social distancing, what activities are available, and what remains closed.

“The Administration Centre is currently closed to the public. For the best possible service please call 519-631-1270. KCCA staff will be working remotely. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

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



Hamilton:

“Effective May 9, HCA will begin the process of re-opening starting with our rail trails. More information. Rail trails include: Hamilton to Brantford Rail Trail (Dundas), Dofasco 2000 Trail (Stoney Creek), Lafarge 2000 Trail (Flamborough), Chippewa Trail (Hamilton), and Canal Park Trails (Dundas).”

“On Wednesday, May 13, Hamilton Conservation Authority conservation areas will be accessible for passive recreation only, such as hiking, biking and bird-watching. The areas opening on May 13 include: Christie Lake, Dundas Valley, Eramosa Karst, Fifty Point, Fletcher Creek, and Valens Lake and Westfield Heritage Village. All on-site facilities (including washroom buildings, pavilions, Trail Centre and gatehouses, etc.) will remain closed.”

“Nightly camping now open. Make your reservation now.”

“Waterfall and escarpment areas, including Dundas Peak, Spencer Gorge, Devil’s Punchbowl and Tiffany Falls are not included in this opening due to their limited size and capacity to physical distance. Camping and marina operations will resume at a later date following provincial directions and waterfall and escarpment areas will reopen last.”

“As of Tuesday, March 17, 2020 the Main Office of the Hamilton Conservation Authority will be CLOSED to the public but will continue to operate through phone and email communications.”

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



Maitland Valley:

“Falls Reserve Conservation Area is working towards gradually reopening to visitors. On Wednesday May 13, 2020 trails will reopen to local residents for walking and cycling access only. At this time we’re asking that day-trippers NOT travel to Falls Reserve while the Provincial Emergency for COVID-19 is in place. For the safety of our local communities we’re asking you to visit a Conservation Area or provincial park that is close to your home.”

“FRCA facilities remain closed until further notice. The Maitland Conservation Administration Centre and the Falls Reserve Conservation Area office have been closed to the public until 8:30 am on April 1, 2020. Our staff continue to be available by telephone and email. Open our staff directory to find contact information. A drop off box has been left at the front door of the Administration Centre.”

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



Niagara Peninsula:

“All NPCA conservation areas are now open for passive use. The complete list can be found at www.npca.ca/parks. Passive use includes hiking, birdwatching and cycling where appropriate. There is limited parking and there are no washroom facilities available. Picnicking areas, children’s play areas and structures, and beaches remain closed on all sites.”

“All npca offices and conservation area facilities and buildings are closed until further notice.”

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



Catfish Creek:

“The public are encouraged to make use of the Springwater Forest and trail system or any of our other conservation areas. The trails remain open for walk through access, but visitors must practice social/physical distancing (2 meters) while on the trails. If you need to, you can step off the trail but please take care when doing so. Please avoid busy parking areas and congregating in groups larger than 5 (as the Government has banned this). CCCA is closing its Administration Centre (8079 Springwater Road, RR#5 Aylmer, ON) to the general public effective March 17, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. The Springwater Forest and trail systems as well as any of our other Conservation Areas are currently unmaintained.”

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



Essex Region:

“Outdoor conservation areas and trails will continue to be open from dawn to dusk for passive use. Holiday Beach and Hillman Marsh Conservation Area are open for walk though access. ERCA is waiving entry fees for the month of June. Proper physical distancing protocols of remaining at least 2 metres from any other visitor who is not part of your household. Washroom facilities will remain closed at all Conservation Areas.”

“Holiday Beach Conservation Area opened to registered seasonal campers on Friday, May 29, 2020. In keeping with Provincial direction, access will be for campers to begin preparing for the coming season. This includes trailer inspections, conducting repairs and cleaning, and set up (if the trailer is not already in the park). Operational procedures are being refined and will be communicated to seasonal campers to ensure the continued safety of our guests and staff.”

“Provincial Offences Officers will be monitoring these sites and violators may be fined. At this time, our offices will be closed. All programming is cancelled.”

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. Washroom facilities will be closed, and gates will be locked. Please be advised that all St. Clair Region Conservation Authority facilities will be closed to the public indefinitely. Members of the public are asked to communicate with Authority staff by telephone or email. Full details on the St. Clair Region Conservation Authority’s COVID-19 pandemic response is available HERE.”

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



Lower Thames Valley:

“All facilities are closed (e.g. bathrooms) but trails and open spaces are available for public use. Please be advised that effective March 18th, 2020, the LTVCA Administration Office at 100 Thames St. in Chatham and the Resource Centre at Longwoods Road Conservation Area are closed to the public.”

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



Upper Thames River:

“Visitors are welcome to park and walk in, during daylight hours, to enjoy nature and the outdoors. These Conservation Areas offer a great opportunity to get outside and be active while maintaining a safe physical distance. Registration offices, park offices, and washroom facilities at Fanshawe, Pittock and Wildwood Conservation Areas are CLOSED to the public to protect staff and the public. Gates on park roadways are also CLOSED. All UTRCA offices and buildings are closed to the public to help protect visitors and staff from COVID-19. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.”

“The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) is opening day use, boat launches, and reservoirs to the public as of June 1st at 8 am at Fanshawe Conservation Area (London), Pittock Conservation Area (Woodstock), and Wildwood Conservation Area (St. Marys).”

“Seasonal camping will open at Fanshawe and Pittock Conservation Areas on June 8th and at Wildwood Conservation Area on June 15th. Unfortunately, overnight (short term) camping is not opening at this time. Seasonal camping is when you reserve one campsite for the entire camping season (June – October).”

“At the present time, the UTRCA is not allowed to open washrooms to the public. Seasonal campers have their own washroom facilities in their trailers. However, day users will need to plan ahead and keep their visits short.”

“Entry fees apply as of June 1st.”

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. All park amenities (including washrooms) remain closed. Visit our Conservation Areas page for up-to-date status of our parks and trails.”

“The following Credit Valley areas are open for limited trail access while maintaining physical distancing and adhering to strict visitor safety guidelines: Elora Cataract Trailway, Island Lake CA, Ken Whillans RMA, Limehouse CA, Silver Creek CA, Terra Cotta CA, and Upper Credit CA.”

“Open, but illegal parking subject to fines and towing: Meadowvale CA, Rattray Marsh CA.”

“The following Credit Valley areas are closed until further notice: Belfountain CA, Cheltenham Badlands.”

“We have decided to close our administration offices and buildings to the public effective until further notice. Our staff can be reached by email or phone during this time.”

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



Ganaraska Region:

“All conservation areas are open to hiking. Please note that 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. Ganaraska Forest is open to all recreational activities. Please see: IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR ALL VISITORS.

“In light of COVID-19, the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority's conservation areas and all buildings, including the Ganaraska Forest Centre, will be closed to the public until further notice. The GRCA is asking people to refrain from visiting the Ganaraska Forest during this time. All washroom facilities are closed and the trails are unmaintained. Administrative staff and office hours have been reduced to 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM. Most other staff are working remotely and can be reached directly via email or by calling 905.885.8173 and leaving a voicemail.”

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. All picnic areas, washrooms, buildings and on-site facilities remain closed until further notice.”

“Please note that CLOCA’s administrative office also remains closed to the public until further notice, however CLOCA will continue to operate at full capacity with all departments providing their respective services on a remote basis, with full access to email and phone.”

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



Lake Simcoe Region:

“On the heels of the Provincial announcement lifting additional pandemic restrictions, we're working to reopen conservation areas across the watershed by Friday, May 29, 2020. As we move forward with our phased approach to reopening, we'll post regular updates about openings and closures​ on our Conservation Areas webpages​.”

“Thanks to the support of our municipal partners, the following properties are open to visitors: Rogers Reservoir, Mabel Davis, Queen Street, Wesley Brooks, Bailey Ecological Park, Durham Regional Forest - Timbers Tract. While gates and parking lots will open, amenities such as picnic pavilions and tables, washrooms, natural play structures and the off-leash dog park at Scanlon Creek will remain closed until further notice.”

“Opening by May 29: Whitchurch, Pangman Springs, Tyrwhitt, Holland Landing, Durham Regional Forest (Brookdale, Norton, Roseville and the Main Tract), Beaver River Wetland, Thornton Bales, Scanlon Creek, Sheppard’s Bush.”

“We have made the decision to close our offices beginning March 17, 2020. Although the office will be closed, we will continue to operate remotely.”

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



Nottawasaga Valley:

“After weeks of closure, the Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (NVCA) is finally reopening conservation areas for public use on Friday, May 15, 2020. To ensure the safety of the community, only walking trails are open at this time. Buildings and bathrooms are closed for the time being. The NVCA asks visitors to respect physical distancing rules and not to gather in groups of larger than five people, and staying at least 2 metres (or 6 feet) away from other groups.”

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



Kawartha:

“All of our conservation areas are now open for passive use. The Off-leash Dog Park, playground area and washrooms remain closed.”

“All amenities including off-leash dog park, washrooms, playground area, viewing platform and benches remain closed at this time. The Kawartha Conservation Administrative Office at 277 Kenrei Road in Lindsay, will be closed to the public to help protect our community.”

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



Otonabee:

“At this time we are only allowing walkthrough/bike through access to our properties. Currently, the Caves and the Caves Trail are closed at Warsaw Caves CA because hikers would be unable to ensure physical distancing while spelunking. All closed trails are signed and we ask that visitors obey the closures to ensure distance and avoid damaging trails. Parking areas at Warsaw Caves and Selwyn Beach will remain closed until further notice. Currently, the beach at Squirrel Creek CA is accessible daily between 10:00am and 9:00pm with physical distancing. The Administrative Office at 250 Milroy Drive will be closed to the public starting on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.”

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



Toronto and Region:

“TRCA’s trails will remain open, but will not be maintained until further notice; please use discretion, as you are entering at your own risk. On Saturday May 30, 2020, Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s (TRCA) conservation parks will reopen for day use activities including hiking, biking, and fishing. All TRCA parks and educational facilities are closed. All parking lots at TRCA facilities are closed. All buildings within TRCA’s parks and educational facilities, including Kortright Centre for Conservation and Albion Hills Conservation Park, are closed, effective immediately. We have made the decision to close our office to the public until further notice.”

“We are pleased to announce that 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 reopen as of May 16, 2020. Click here for information on Purdon. Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) is reminding the public that its administrative office in Carleton Place and all facilities and structures at its conservation areas remain closed until further notice due to COVID-19.”

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



Crowe Valley:

“Due to the fact Crowe Bridge Conservation Area attracts large crowds during the warmer weather, and in an attempt to ensure public safety Crowe Bridge Conservation Area will be closed until further notice. All other CVCA conservation areas remain open to the public as per usual. As weather conditions improve and should the Covid-19 virus situation escalate, the CVCA will consider closing conservation areas for public safety. Effective immediately, Crowe Valley Conservation Authority Office will be closed to the public until further notice. Staff will be available for consultations via telephone and emails.”

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



Lower Trent:

“Proctor Park Conservation Area has re-opened. Our trails remain open for passive use, providing physical and mental health benefits to members of the public; however, public washroom facilities will be closed. Please be sure to follow physical distancing guidelines and remain more than six feet from others. Properties are NOT being maintained. ALL buildings, washroom facilities, outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters are closed at this time. Guests visiting our conservation lands do so at “Your Own Risk”. Please DO NOT litter - take your trash with you. Until further notice, the gates at the parking area at Proctor Park in Brighton will be closed Monday to Friday, except for March Break. Conservation Area facility rentals are suspended until further notice. The Lower Trent Conservation Administration Office is closed to the general public until further notice. The public can reach us by telephone and email.”

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



Quinte:

“Staff would like to remind visitors that while the Depot Lakes Conservation Area remains open for passive recreational day use, the use of motorized vehicles (this includes ATV’s, dirt bikes and side by sides) on trails is strictly prohibited. H.R. Frink Conservation Area will be closed until further notice. Quinte Conservation's office is closed to the public.”

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



Raisin Region:

“While our network of nature trails remain open for walking, all amenities are closed at all Conservation Areas. While enjoying our trails, visitors are to practice physical distancing and avoid gathering in groups or touching common surfaces. 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. Please note, our Visitors Centre and washroom facilities are closed at this time. The Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA) Administration Office will be closed to the general public as of March 17, 2020 until further notice.”

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



Rideau Valley:

“Trails are OPEN at all RVCA Conservation Areas. Fees are waived.Baxter Conservation Area is open from dawn to dusk. Foley Mountain Conservation Area gates will be open from 8:30 a.m. to dusk. Gates will be closed and locked outside these hours.”

“To comply with Ontario’s Emergency Order, the RVCA has closed all amenities and gathering places at its conservation areas including buildings, washrooms, beaches, picnic areas, shelters, picnic tables, benches and lookouts. Interpretive centres and other facilities including washrooms and outhouses will be closed however to protect the health and safety of visitors and staff. The RVCA Administrative Centre is closed to the general public.”

“RVCA boat launches will open effective Saturday, May 16, 2020. This includes launches at Rideau Ferry and W.A.Taylor Conservation Areas.”

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



South Nation:

“The following Conservation Area continue to remain open and maintained for passive recreation (walking): Two Creek Forest Conservation Area (Morrisburg), Oschmann Forest Conservation Area (Ormond), Robert Graham Conservation Area (Glen Stewart), Warwick Forest Conservation Area (Berwick), J. Henry Tweed Conservation Area (Russell), W. E. Burton Conservation Area (Russell), Russell Recreational Trail (Russell), Nokomis Park (Limoges), Reveler Conservation Area (Crysler), Findlay Creek Conservation Area (Ottawa), Alfred Bog Walk (Alfred)”

“The following Conservation Areas and municipal partner sites for river access and boat launching will open on Saturday, May 14th: High Falls Conservation Area (Casselman), St. Albert Conservation Area (St. Albert), Crysler Park Boat Launch (Crysler), Embrun Boat Launch (Embrun), Chesterville Boat Launch (Chesterville), Spencerville Mill Boat Launch (Spencerville).”

“The following Conservation Areas and municipal partner sites for river access and boat launching will open beginning Tuesday, May 19th: Cass Bridge Conservation Area (Winchester), Jessup's Falls Conservation Area (Plantagenet), McIntosh Park Conservation Area (Berwick), Oak Valley Pioneer Park Conservation Area (Winchester Springs), Chesterville Waterfront Docks and Boat Launch Docks (Chesterville).”

“The following Conservation Areas will remain temporarily closed: Camp Sheldrick Conservation Area (Winchester).”

“SNC Administrative Office has been closed to the public until further notice, community members are encouraged to use our drop box for paperwork or phone and email to connect with SNC staff.”

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



Cataraqui Region:

“Cataraqui Conservation will begin to re-open public access to some of its conservation areas and the Cataraqui Trail for passive use starting April 25, 2020, with strict measures in place for all users to continue to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. List of Conservation Areas open for passive use as of April 25, 2020: Cataraqui Trail (Strathcona to Smiths Falls), Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area (City of Kingston), Lemoine Point Conservation Area (City of Kingston), Gould Lake Conservation Area (Township of South Frontenac), Lyn Valley Conservation Area (Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley), Marble Rock Conservation Area (Township of Leeds & the Thousand Islands), Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area (Loyalist Township).”

“Closures Still in Place: Marshlands Conservation Area due to narrow boardwalk that does not permit physical distancing (City of Kingston), Mac Johnson Wildlife Area on recommendations from Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit (City of Brockville). All facilities and privies at Conservation Areas are closed. The Cataraqui Conservation Administration Office (1641 Perth Rd. Glenburnie) is closed to the public until May 4, 2020. Further details at www.crca.ca/news.”

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




Conservation Areas in Northern Ontario:


Lakehead Region:

“The latest information from the Office of the Premier indicates that green spaces in parks, trails, ravines and Conservation Areas can remain open for walk through access, but individuals must maintain the safe physical distance of at least two metres (six feet) apart from others. The LRCA Administrative Office located at 130 Conservation Road, Thunder Bay, is now CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.”

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. If you continue to use our trails and conservation areas, we ask that you maintain your social distance from others, keep dogs on leash, pick up after your pet, and please use the provided cans to dispose of any garbage. Trails in the Hersey Lake and Gillies Lake Conservation Areas will no longer be groomed. Amenities such as washrooms, picnic areas, exercise and play exercise equipment at our Conservation Areas are all closed. This includes Gillies Lake, Mountjoy Historical, White Waterfront and Hersey Lake. These areas will remain open for walkthrough access only, until the provincial government allows for the re-opening of public park spaces. Please use discretion, as you are entering at your own risk. Washroom facilities are not to be used. As of today, March 17, 2020, our office is closed to the general public.”

“Scout Rock Trail has been re-opened. Sections of the Bart Thomson Trail remain closed until major repairs can be completed.”

As of June 24, “Due to heavy rain and washouts, the section of trail from the White Waterfront Park through to Northern College is CLOSED. Many sections of the Bart Thomson Trail around Porcupine Lake have also had major washouts. Residents are asked not to use the trail at this time.”

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



North Bay-Mattawa:

“All but one of NBMCA’s conservation areas and boat launches will be officially open Saturday, May 16 for passive use while a few amenities, such as washrooms, will remain closed. Mattawa Island remains closed to limit access to the basketball court, beach and other amenities in that particular conservation area.”

“Beaches at Elks Beach and Eva Wardlaw Conservation Areas are now open effective May 29, 2020 with two restrictions: any persons using the beach must maintain a physical distance of at least two metres (six ft) from any other person on the beach other than those with whom they live. Further, social gatherings of more than five people on the beaches and in the conservation areas remain prohibited due to Provincial COVID-19 Restrictions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. If public gatherings on the beach become an issue, NBMCA may consider closing the beaches.”

“The beach at Mattawa Island Conservation Area is now open effective June 2, 2020. The tennis, basketball and volleyball courts remain closed.”

“To minimize common areas of contact in NBMCA conservation areas, NBMCA has closed its hand-release garbage containers in conservation areas and hands-free garbage containers have been provided. Garbage containers will be emptied once a week so it would be appreciated if you would take any wrappers, papers or other garbage home with you when you leave the conservation area.”

“The NBMCA offices in North Bay and Parry Sound are now closed to the public; however, staff are at work, able to provide you with service by phone or email until further notice.”

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. If public health indicators continue to improve, we will begin reopening/removing the entrance barriers to the public soon. As an organization with limited resources, we ask for your patience for the health and safety of our staff and the community.”

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



Sudbury:

“The Lake Laurentian Conservation Area will remain accessible to the public as we understand the importance of access to nature for community health and well-being. Both the Nature Chalet and the BioSki Cottage will remain closed although staff may be present from time to time. The conservation area will be accessible for passive recreation only, such as hiking, and bird-watching. Please practice social distancing as best possible. Conservation Sudbury has decided to close our offices to the public effective Friday, March 20, 2020. Staff continue to work and can be reached by phone or email.”

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



Phased Re-opening of the Bruce Trail beginning May 15

“As of Tuesday June 2, 2020, eighty-five percent of the Bruce Trail is open for people to get fresh air, connect to the wonders of the Niagara Escarpment, and practice physical distancing.”

“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. Closed areas currently include most waterfalls, high-traffic tourism destinations, and some private properties. Keep in mind that where the Trail is open, most facilities remain closed and some parking is restricted or not available. Please respect all closures.”

“With these new openings, and the excitement they bring, everyone is reminded to hike locally and hike responsibly. Do not travel outside of your community to use the Trail, maintain physical distancing, and always check Trail changes on our website before heading out.”

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



Boat launches

“As soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2020, Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches may open for recreational use.”



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

“Following the recent announcement from the Province, Trillium Park will open as of May 13th with the remainder of the site opening May 15th. Our hours of operation are 6:00 am to 9:00 pm daily and amenities will remain closed. The park will be open for walking, running and biking. Visitors must practice physical distancing and be respectful of others using the park. Under the Province’s Emergency Order, a social gathering or organized public event of more than five people is prohibited, unless everyone gathered together live in the same 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:

“Trails remain open for social distanced passive use and can be accessed from the entrance located off Outer Harbour Marina Rd. Be aware all maintenance operations have been suspended, and visitors use the trails at their own risk. The Tommy Thompson Park NATURE CENTRE and PARKING LOT are CLOSED. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has closed this facility to protect visitors, staff and all other attendants, from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) regrettably has closed this facility to protect visitors, staff and all other attendants, from the potential risk of contracting COVID-19. Please visit www.trca.ca for updates on when this facility will resume normal operations.”

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?