Otonabee Conservation is opening its conservation areas and accepting camping reservations beginning Friday after it delayed access in the spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The conservation authority is responsible for nine conservation areas in the Otonabee watershed in the Peterborough area. Many of the conservation areas offer hiking and biking trails and access to beaches, boat launches and more.
Online reservations for camping will begin on Friday at otonabeeconservation.com.
Campers are asked to utilize the system to book their sites ahead of time in order to minimize face-to-face contact at the gatehouse upon arrival and ensure a campsite is available for them.
The 97-site Beavermead campground — which is owned by the city and operated by Otonabee Conservation — will feature a new washroom facility. There’s also a new gatehouse at the Warsaw Caves campground, which offers 52 unserviced sites.
Both new buildings are fully accessible, offering barrier-free access for visitors. Beavermead campground also offers four fully accessible campsites with barrier-free picnic tables, a paved surface pad and close proximity to the new accessible washroom.
Otonabee Conservation says some amenities and services will not be available this year, such as showers, boat rentals and laundry facilities. Some trails remain closed, such as the Caves Trail at Warsaw Caves, where physical distancing cannot be ensured.
All closed amenities will be clearly signed.
“Camping will look a little different this year,” said Jessie James, Otonabee Conservation’s manager of conservation lands. “But it is a safe summer staycation option; this is close to home for those living in the Peterborough region. We hope that families will choose to camp with us and enjoy hiking, swimming, fishing and all the beauty that our watershed has to offer.”
Selwyn Beach Conservation Area will also open its gates for the season on Friday. Visitors must follow public health guidelines for physical distancing, not gather with more than 10 people and only gather with those who are from within their social bubble.