As we optimistically plan for our summer 2021, many are busily cleaning campers, inventorying supplies and connecting the dots that will lead to the annual get away to a favourite Provincial Park or tenting spot. Unfortunately, new information being rolled out from Ontario Parks and the Provincial Government is suggesting that this will not go as planned this year.
While daytime use of camping spaces are still permitted, information being released is now advising that overnight use of the campgrounds will not be permitted in summer of 2021. Locally, this echoes the decisions council has made around ending overnight use of Pointes Des Chenes campground, albeit for differing reasons, as has been reported. Updated information on the Ontario Parks website, posted this morning, states;
We know that the health and well-being of Ontarians is crucial, especially during COVID-19. That’s why Ontario Parks continues to offer safe and local outdoor recreational activities for day-use in provincial parks and conservation reserves, with some modifications or restrictions to ensure the safety of staff and visitors.
During the current provincial stay-at-home order, overnight stays including campgrounds, backcountry campsites and roofed accommodations in Ontario Parks will remain closed until further notice in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and support Ontario’s further provincial restrictions.
These measures are also reflected on Ontario.ca, providing updated information on the recreational use of Crown Lands during these challenging times, citing the Emergency Management and Civil Protection act.
Recreational camping is prohibited on public land, including Crown land until further notice. This is to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus and protect the health and well-being of Ontarians.
Under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, you cannot
- camp for recreational purposes on public (Crown) land administered by Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry under the Public Lands Act
- occupy tents or other camping structures, such as trailers, recreational vehicles and watercraft equipped for overnight accommodation
The prohibition will remain in place until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation and re-evaluate if further actions are required.
Both sites acknowledge that application of guidelines and regulations may vary, province to province and that would-be campers should consult their local Ministry websites for information specific to their region.
Further investigation of the information provide indicates that Day use at all sites is still available, however consumers must be aware of and follow protocols recommended by the governing Health Unit. Also of note, individuals using the daytime sites must be certain to bring all their own supplies such as food and water as most shops and such will not be open.
So, as we move forward into summertime, do consult with your local government website to plan for your outing to avoid disappointment in the moment. Continue to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us–use our natural environments for excercise and daytime fun and remember, that when the day winds down, home is the destination in this moment.