GRCA parks open on April 25; some prices go up; others down

Grand River Conservation Authority park areas will open at noon on April 25, just in time for the launch of the trout fishing season the next day.

To prepare, hundreds of rainbow trout were stocked in ponds at Belwood Lake Con­servation Area and Rockwood Conservation Area the week before the opening. The Hamp­ton Pond at Belwood Lake is reserved for children under the age of 13.

The Ontario Ministry of Nat­ural Resources has also con­tinued its program of stock­ing thousands of brown trout in the Grand and Conestogo Riv­ers to give seasoned anglers a chance to enjoy some of the best fly-fishing locations in the province.

The GRCA operates one of the Ontario’s largest networks of parks, offering visitors a wide range of outdoor activities in some of the most striking natural areas in the province. With more than 2,500 camp-sites at eight conservation areas, the GRCA is the second largest operator of camp-grounds in the province – sec­ond only to Ontario Parks.

In order to help maintain and improve the quality of the parks, the GRCA is raising some of its admission and camping fees this year. How­ever, frequent visitors and camp­ers can take advantage of a price reduction for season pass­es and a new weekly camp­ing rate.

The price for an adult daily admission at most parks will rise to $4.25, an increase of 25 cents. The price of a child’s admission (6 to 14) will remain the same as last year at $2.50. Children five and under are free.

At Byng Island (Dunnville) and Brant (Brantford) conser­va­tion areas, the adult admis­sion fee will rise to $5 but will also include free admission to the park pool. The child rate will remain unchanged and will also include free entry to the pool.

The price of a season vehi­cle pass has been cut to $95, a sav­ing of $15 from last year. The pass allows unlimited ac­cess for all passengers to all 12 GRCA parks, throughout the season. For a family of four, the season pass will pay for itself in just seven visits. The season pass also includes one free night of camping (Sunday through Thursday).

The charge for a serviced camp­site will rise by $2 to $34, while the price of an unser­viced site will remain $27.

Campers can take advan­t­age of the GRCA’s new weekly camping fee, covering a five-night visit (Sunday to Thurs­day) at a reduction of 10 per cent from the regular overnight camping fee.

The parks opening this week are Luther Marsh Wild­life Management Area (Grand Valley), Conestogo Lake (Dray­ton), Belwood Lake (Fer­gus), Elora Gorge (Elora), Guelph Lake (Guelph), Rock­wood, Laurel Creek (Water­loo), Shade’s Mills (Cam­bridge), Pinehurst Lake (Paris), Brant (Brantford) and Byng Island (Dunnville). The Elora Quarry Conservation Area will open in mid-June.

The GRCA will continue the policy of a season-long alcohol ban at the Elora Gorge Conservation Area. There will also be an extended spring ban at two parks: Guelph Lake Conservation Area and Byng Island Conservation Area from May 15 to June 22. In all other parks, the usual alcohol bans during the Victoria Day weekend and Labour Day weekend will continue.

For more information about GRCA parks: Visit the GRCA web site at

Reserve a campsite by calling 1-866-ONT-CAMP (1-866-668-2267) or book online on the GRCA website.

For river conditions by calling the GRCA’s River Flow Infor­mation Line at (519) 621-2763, Ext. 519 or visit  the GRCA website at