The Ontario government has announced that beaches, campsites and other facilities in provincial parks will be allowed to open starting this Friday, but only in those regions that have been permitted to enter Stage 2 of reopening.
In a news release published Wednesday afternoon, the government said Ontario Parks will start opening campgrounds and providing more washrooms and drinking water, roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres and sports fields gradually over the next few weeks.
“Due to the tremendous progress we have made to contain the spread of COVID-19, more services and activities will soon be available at our provincial parks,” said Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks Jeff Yurek in the release.
“While this is encouraging, it is not business as usual. I encourage everyone to be responsible and continue to follow public health advice, including physical distancing, when enjoying our outdoor amenities.”
UPDATE – Ontario Parks will begin opening beaches on June 12, welcome campers enrolled in the Seasonal Campsite Program (Fall 2019) on June 15 and begin to gradually open campgrounds starting the week of June 22.
Learn more: https://t.co/8DVduLT2pF pic.twitter.com/aINNs3pT7f— Ontario Parks (@OntarioParks) June 10, 2020
The government is reminding Ontarians to check what facilities and services are available online before visiting a provincial park in person.
Here is the exact list of recreational activities and facilities that will soon be opening 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 pre-selected 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 centres, and sports fields will be phased in over the next several weeks.
But while these facilities will be permitted to open this summer, others such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season.
Ontario Parks will also be implementing several measures to address overcrowding and promote physical distancing in park spaces and buildings during busy visitation times by limiting occupancy for day-use and camping in select parks.
“This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations,” notes the release.
Ontario Parks manages 340 parks and 295 conservation reserves throughout the province, and they operate close to 19,000 campground campsites.