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Upper Thames River Conservation Authority announces start dates for nightly camping

Waterton Lakes National Park.
Waterton Lakes National Park. Matt Semel / Parks Canada

The Upper Thames River Conservation Authority (UTRCA) is out with its plans to allow nightly camping at conservation areas in the region.

Tuesday’s announcement is the latest in a staggered start to the camping season as restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus slowly relax.

Seasonal camping, which is when campers reserve a site for the entire season, previously opened June 8 at Fanshawe Conservation Area in London and Pittock Conservation Area in Woodstock and on June 15 at Wildwood Conservation Area in St. Marys.

READ MORE: Port Stanley, other Elgin County, Ont., towns getting ready to open beaches

On Tuesday, June 16, the UTRCA announced nightly camping will begin at Fanshawe on June 29, and at Pittock and St. Marys on July 6.

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Officials also announced that the splash pad in the campground at Fanshawe will open on Friday, June 26. At Wildwood, the day use swimming area/beach and washrooms will open Friday, June 19, while backcountry camping and reservations (as well as canoe/kayak rentals for backcountry camping) open Monday, June 22.

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“We are pleased to announce that nightly camping is opening soon,” said conservation areas manager Jennifer Howley.

“We need people to continue to respect physical distancing and group size maximums, to help make opening more facilities a success.”

READ MORE: People ignore social distancing rules, leave trash behind at Grand River parks: GRCA

Officials say site availability will be limited to 50 per cent capacity, nightly camping will be by reservation only, shower facilities will not be available under direction of local health units, and laundry facilities are also closed.

Additionally, swimming pools, group camping, and day use pavilion rentals and picnic shelters also remain closed.

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