Rejoice fellow Ontarians, the parks are opening, the parks are opening
Great news for outdoor-loving Ontarians today as Premier Doug Ford has announced the opening of provincial parks and conservation reserves on Monday, May 11.
Yes, it will be limited to day-use access and activities will be limited to walking, hiking, biking, and birdwatching, but that is a huge step in the right direction. And, it’s all free until the end of the month.
"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," said Premier Ford. "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."
The first areas will open on Monday, with the remaining areas opening on May 15, 2020.
Biking, walking or hiking, no matter what you and your family like to do, @OntarioParks and conservation reserves are starting to reopen. Keeping health and safety top of mind at least 500 parks will open for day use again this Monday. Learn more: https://t.co/7RS4H1rELb pic.twitter.com/eHVOT9D8PT— Doug Ford (@fordnation) May 9, 2020
The announcement was made today by Premier Doug Ford, Jeff Yurek, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health.
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, and all buildings and facilities will remain closed.
"People are eager to enjoy the warmer weather, stretch their legs, and reconnect with nature," said Minister Yurek. "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."
Over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks' staff will be conducting critical maintenance and other parks start-up procedures, so that more recreational activities and facilities will be available when it is safe to do so.
Before planning your trip, please visit www.ontarioparks.com/park-locator to check the status of your local provincial park.