The province reopened 520 provincial parks and conservation reserves on Monday, May 11 for limited day-use access.
The remaining 115 areas will open on Friday, May 15, for activities limited to walking, hiking, biking, and birdwatching, officials said. Day visitors will be able to access these sites for free until the end of the month.
The announcement was made Saturday, May 9 by Ontario Premier Doug Ford, Environment, Conservation, and Parks Minister Jeff Yurek, and Deputy Premier and Health Minister Christine Elliott.
Parks closed March 19
Park operations were suspended March 19 as a result of the pandemic.
Camping and other activities remain prohibited. All buildings and facilities including washrooms, water taps, campgrounds, backcountry campsites, roofed accommodations, playgrounds, and beaches remain closed.
“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,” Ford stated in a press release. “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.”
Critical work to begin
Over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks’ staff will conduct critical maintenance and other park start-up procedures, so that more recreational activities and facilities will be available when it is safe to make them so, officials stated.
Visit www.ontarioparks.com/park-locator to check the status of your local provincial park.