KITCHENER -- As restrictions from the COVID-19 lockdown loosen, The Grand River Conservation Authority is posed to open five more conservation areas.

It’s welcomed news to outdoor enthusiasts, but their ability to use services in the parks will be extremely limited.

Starting on Saturday, park goers will now be able to access the following Conservation areas; Brant, Byng Island, The Elora Gorge and Pinehurst Lake, along with the Luther Marsh Wildlife Management Area.

This means all but one on the Grand River Parks have reopened for limited day use activities, with the exception being the Elora Quarry Conservation Area. As of now there is no timeline to reopen the popular swimming area.

While the list of parks reopening has increased, the services have not.  All buildings and on-site facilities, such as washrooms, gatehouses, picnic areas, playgrounds, and beaches will remain closed. 

If you need to use a garbage can, they won’t be made available, as visitors are being asked to take any garbage or pet waste out with them.

Equipment rentals will also be prohibited.

As for accessing the parks, because gatehouses are closed, anyone without a Grand River Park’s membership is required to pay by exact cash in payment boxes located at the gatehouse. 

The GRCA did not say how they will be policing who pays or doesn’t.

Visitors are also being reminded to practice physical distancing, and not to congregate in groups. 

For complete details about which GRCA properties are open and closed to the public, and what activities are permissible,

The GRCA says it will continue to reopen its properties in stages, and telling anyone to visit their website if they have any questions.

Government restrictions forced the closure of all GRCA owned and managed properties since the mid March shutdown.