Campsites and beaches at provincial parks begin reopening on Friday

Ontario's 19,000 campsites will reopen gradually over next several weeks

Ontario Parks is gradually reopening campsites, beaches, and other facilities in regions entering stage two of the province's reopening during COVID-19. Beaches will be the first to reopen beginning June 12, 2020, followed by campgrounds later in June. (Photo: Ontario Parks)
Ontario Parks is gradually reopening campsites, beaches, and other facilities in regions entering stage two of the province's reopening during COVID-19. Beaches will be the first to reopen beginning June 12, 2020, followed by campgrounds later in June. (Photo: Ontario Parks)

Beginning on Friday, June 12th, Ontario’s provincial parks will begin to make more facilities and services available to the public.

The reopenings will happen in regions entering stage two of the province’s reopening during COVID-19. The entire greater Kawarthas region — including Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Northumberland, Hastings, and Haliburton — is entering stage two.

Gradually over the next several weeks, Ontario Parks will begin opening its 19,000 campground campsites, as well as providing more washrooms and drinking water. Ontario Parks will also be opening roofed accommodations, park store and rental operations, visitor centres, and sports fields.

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Here’s the timeline for what’s opening and when:

  • On Friday, June 12th, beaches at Ontario Parks will begin opening to the public as maintenance and water testing are completed.
  • On Monday, June 15th, 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 Monday, June 22nd, all other campgrounds in regions entering stage two 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.

Facilities such as showers, laundry, group camping, picnic shelter rentals and swimming pools will remain closed for the rest of the 2020 season.

To help protect visitors and staff, Ontario Parks will be implementing 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 provincial parks. This may include limiting the number of daily vehicle permits sold or the number of campsites available for reservations.

Ministry officers will be present in provincial parks to provide information, assist with emergencies and enforce provincial park rules and regulations. Additionally, these areas may be patrolled by local police or other enforcement agencies.

Any reservations for campgrounds (and select backcountry campsites that currently remain closed) already made up to and into the week of June 22nd will be automatically cancelled. Those people will receive a full refund with no penalty.

Provincial parks in the greater Kawarthas region include Balsam Lake near Kirkfield, Emily near Omemee, Ferris near Campbellford, Kawartha Highlands north of Buckhorn, Lake St. Peter north of Maynooth, Mark S. Burnham in Peterborough, Petroglyphs near Woodview, Presqu’ile near Brighton, Silent Lake near Apsley, and Algonquin north of Bancroft.

Before visiting a provincial park, visitors should check ontarioparks.com to see what facilities and services are available.

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