All local Conservation Areas to close due to COVID-19 state of emergency

A bridge across the marsh at the Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area in Kingston. Photo by Naila Jinnah.

Update (Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2020): After a number of readers reached out to us, we have confirmed with the City of Kingston and Frontenac County that both the K&P Trail and the Waterfront Trail are not closed to the public at this time. Additionally, the City of Kingston is reminding residents that, while City parks are closed, residents are allowed to walk, jog, or run through the parks during these closures.

Original article:

To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, the Cataraqui Regional Conservation Authority has broaden its steps during the current state of emergency to include the closure of all conservation areas.

Effective as of 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2020, all conservation areas and trails owned by Cataraqui Conservation will be closed to the public until further notice. The closures include two Lake Ontario boat ramps, Hay Bay in the Town of Greater Napanee and Henry St. in the City of Brockville, in line with other closures in those municipalities. Inland lake boat ramps and water access points will remain open at this time, Cataraqui Conservation said in a press release on Tuesday, Apr. 7, 2020.

The Conservation Authority said it is continuing to monitor the COVID-19 situation in Ontario closely and working with local municipalities, public health officials, and the community to “flatten the curve.” The decision to close its trails and properties was made after “staff observed a significant increase in visitor traffic to our conservation areas. While many visitors have respected physical distancing measures, staff have observed and the public has reported concerns that some visitors are disregarding these protocols and gathering in groups larger than the provincially-mandated five individuals,” Caratraqui Conservation said.

“The next several weeks are critical. We encourage residents to stay at home and practice social distancing,” said Katrina Furlanetto, General Manager of Cataraqui Regional Conservation Authority.“We sincerely hope that by taking these steps now, everyone can get back to enjoying these properties, trails and facilities as soon as possible.”

As such, the following conservation areas will be closed as of Wednesday, Apr. 8, 2020:

  • Cataraqui Trail (Strathcona to Smiths Falls)
  • Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area (City of Kingston)
  • Lemoine Point Conservation Area (City of Kingston)
  • Gould Lake Conservation Area (Township of South Frontenac)
  •  Lyn Valley Conservation Area (Township of Elizabethtown-Kitley)
  • Mac Johnson Wildlife Area (Elizabethtown-Kitley & City of Brockville)
  • Marble Rock Conservation Area (Township of Leeds & the Thousand Islands)
  • Marshlands Conservation Area (City of Kingston)
  • Parrott’s Bay Conservation Area (Loyalist Township)

All public events are Cataraqui Conservation Areas have been cancelled, and the following closures currently in place have been extended to May 4, 2020:

  • The Cataraqui Conservation Administration Office (1641 Perth Road, Kingston) is remaining closed to the public until May 4. Staff will still be available during regular business hours of 8:30 4:30 p.m. by telephone or email.
  • The Outdoor Centre at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area and the Nature Centre at the Mac Johnson Wildlife Area in Brockville remain closed to the general public until May 4. This includes all education and weekend programs.

Programs and services, including Cataraqui Conservation’s flood forecasting and warning, dam operations and planning and permitting remain active, with staff available by telephone or email.

18 thoughts on “All local Conservation Areas to close due to COVID-19 state of emergency

    • This does not include the K&P Trail. Frontenac County has indicated that there has been no discussion about closing the trail at this time.

  • Does this include the K & P trail? If not do you see closing in the foreseeable future.
    Thanks for responding.

    • This does not include the K&P Trail. Frontenac County has indicated that there has been no discussion about closing the trail at this time.

    • We’ve been in several of the closing areas over the past week without seeing any crowding or unacceptable behavior. We did not see any staff. I wonder what information the closure is based on.

      Staying in close quarters does nasty things to your immune system, lost conditioning is hard to regain.

  • I’m glad that trail remains open. I have been using the Rideau Trail and Lemoine Point daily, I can’t confirm any of these claims. Seems unreasonably overreach to me. The few people out there are super sensible. Are they planning on moving the homeless living there, too, or is it just sign placing activism? You feel sorry for whoever has to enforce this nonsense.

    • Not a scientific thoughtful decision. These spaces keep people sane. Chance of this decision having a useful outcome is zero

    • I will miss the birds and people’s smiles… We were good at distancing, we had too much to lose… I can’t believe that we are losing our favourite places anyway despite our efforts to behave diligently… Very sad… Sidewalks are hard concrete and cold… Let’s hope that this pandemic will soon be behind us leaving us with an even stronger will to create a better world…

  • I run Lemoine point almost every day around sun rise, and have done so for 20+ years, most mornings recently I have encountered very few people, one day I met no one at all, it is a shame a few people have ruined it for the rest of us.

    Lets keep people safe. Perhaps the solution is control at the gates, limit the number of visitors permitted in at a time and space out /flatten the curve of peak times.

  • The picture is labelled incorrectly. It is actually from the boardwalk near the Outdoor Center at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area.

  • Yes, agree with people above, very short sighted, uninformed decision. I am there everyday, I can not overstate how well the vast, vast majority of people using Lemoine’s are behaving during these times. These trail systems are far more essential than liquor and beer stores to people’s physical and mental well being. There is no way to ensure perfect compliance, this is heavy handed and unnecessary, we only have 52 cases in the entire city, the likelihood of transmission while carefully enjoying these outdoor spaces is infinitesimal. Continuing to punish everyone for the 0.01% of non compliers, to not acknowledge and reward the majority of people complying by these types of actions will end up backfiring without doubt. Shame on whoever made this call.

    • I see my comment that was critical of this has been removed, anyone that thinks closing all conservation areas and keeping the waterfront trail open is smart should give their head a shake. You have just forced anyone who could have gone to a sparsely walked trail onto a busy waterfront one, nakes sense, concentrate the spread, well thought out.

  • I agree with closure .. I did notice to many groups and close contact on trails .. the more proactive now the better in future.. especially with Easter weekend coming hope everyone is following rules closely so we can keep our essential workers safe.. be careful and safe on K&P or it will be next .. exercise not socialize. Sad but true right now.

  • I would urge the Conservation Authority to reconsider its decision. I fully understand the decision, but I do not agree with it. We walk at Lemoine every morning, and we have observed that the vast majority of people are practicing proper physical distancing. I consider these walks vital for everyone’s mental, social and emotional well-being.

  • Absolutely ridiculous, the busy trail is obviously along the waterfront yet it remains open? Take the trails at Gould lake for instance, you would be lucky to meet someone there in summer let alone now, how are active people supposed to remain sane and healthy? This is about as smart as the closure of community gardens in the city, the level of stupidity and lack of thought for citizens is frightening.

  • The Nanny State at work! Silly laws that that invite civil disobedience. The well paid and pensioned civil service treating us as the great unwashed.

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