Upper Thames River Conservation Authority outlines reopening plan amid COVID-19

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority and Fanshawe Conservation Area sign along Clarke Road, July 19, 2017. Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL File

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) says day use, boat launches and reservoirs are open to the public at Fanshawe, Pittock and Wildwood conservation areas as of June 1, with seasonal camping beginning later in the month.

The announcements come as the province began relaxing measures in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Boat launches are completely open at Fanshawe in London, Ont., and Wildwood in St. Marys, while at Pittock in Woodstock, it’s currently only available for non-motorized reservoir activities. The boat launch/reservoir will open for motorcraft at Pittock on June 8.

The UTRCA says seasonal camping, which is when campers reserve a site for the entire season, will open on June 8 at Fanshawe and Pittock and on June 15 at Wildwood in St. Marys.

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However, overnight or short-term camping will not be opening at this time.

“We are excited to begin offering boating this week and seasonal camping in the near future,” said Jennifer Howley, UTRCA conservation areas manager.

“We also continue to welcome people to our conservation areas for hiking, biking, walking and enjoying nature.”

READ MORE: London, Ont., residents enjoy conservation areas, but keep their distance

The UTRCA says it is not currently able to open washrooms to the public, and while seasonal campers have their own facilities in their trailers, day users will need to plan ahead.

The conservation authority is also reminding the public that the safety of staff and visitors is paramount. Visitors may experience lineups at gatehouses and boat launches, staff will be practising “zero tolerance” for rule-breakers and visitors are asked to be respectful and arrive prepared to pay with a card, not cash.

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