GRCA to reopen four conservation areas in county on Saturday

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) will reopen four conservation areas in Wellington County for limited day use on Saturday (May 23) and plans to offer camping on June 15.

On May 20 the GRCA announced Belwood Lake, Conestogo Lake, Guelph Lake and Rockwood conservation areas will open this weekend for limited recreational activities such as walking and birdwatching.

Boating and fishing are not yet permitted, but officials are hoping to reopen boat launches on May 30, provided all public safety infrastructure, including booms and buoys, have been installed at dams.

These conservation areas will operate from 8am to 6pm.

“Since there is no automatic gate at these conservation areas, and gatehouses will remain closed, visitors without a Grand River Parks membership pass will be required to pay by cash (exact change only) in payment boxes located at the gatehouse,” officials stated in a press release, noting standard entrance fees apply.

Laurel Creek (Waterloo) and Shade’s Mills (Cambridge) conservation areas are also open for limited day use activities to those with Grand River Parks memberships or paying by credit card at the automatic gate.

All buildings and on-site facilities, including washrooms, gatehouses, picnic areas, playgrounds, beaches and docks in these areas will remain closed.

In addition, no garbage receptacles will be available and visitors are asked to carry any garbage or pet waste out with them.

The GRCA will also be reopening the following natural areas to the public on May 23:

  • Dumfries Conservation Area, Cambridge;
  • Arkell-Smith, Puslinch;
  • Guelph Lake dam to Victoria Road N.;
  • Puslinch Tract;
  • Snyder’s FlatsBloomingdale; and
  • Starkey Hill, Puslinch.

“Visitors are reminded to practice physical distancing by staying at least two metres or six feet apart, and not to congregate in groups,” states the press release.

“The GRCA is also asking the public to plan short visits to areas that have been reopened to ensure the space can be shared with all those looking to get outside and into nature. Parking is limited. Some portions of the conservation areas may not be accessible. Visitors are reminded to obey signage, and keep their pets on a leash at all times.”

Seasonal Camping

The GRCA is tentatively planning to open seasonal camping on June 15, subject to its ability to meet all the health and safety requirements of the provincial government.

Seasonal campers will receive further information regarding reopening and access to their sites directly from their park in the coming days.

For complete details about GRCA properties visit