GRAND RIVER – A sure sign that spring is in the air happens on Monday, May 1 when the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) swings open the gates for their 2017 camping and recreational season.
The GRCA operates 11 Grand River Parks, eight of which offer camping with about 2,500 campsites available.
Other activities at the parks include hiking, fishing, canoeing, kayaking and swimming.
Opening on Monday are Byng Island (Dunnville), Brant (Brantford), Pinehurst Lake (Paris), Laurel Creek (Waterloo), Conestogo Lake (Drayton), Guelph Lake and Elora Gorge. Belwood Lake (east of Fergus), Rockwood and Shade’s Mills (Cambridge) are already open for activities, but will now be providing their full range of services such as canoe and boat rentals. Elora Quarry will open in mid-June when the weather is warmer for swimming.
A Grand River Parks membership card may be purchased for $130. Membership provides entry to all 11 Grand River Parks as well as Luther Marsh Wildlife Management Area, throughout the operating seasons for up to six people in one vehicle. The membership also comes with a booklet of vouchers redeemable for free experiences like equipment rental and free park passes for friends. For the 2017 season, day visitor fees are $6.50 for adults, $3 for children (ages six to 14) and $5.50 for seniors and people with disabilities, while children five and under are free.
May 1 is also a big day for those still looking for Hillside Festival campsites. Full-weekend festival sites are available at Guelph Lake Park beginning on Monday.
In 2017, families will enjoy an ever-increasing number of nature events — part of the popular park events programs — which are included with admission or with a membership pass. These include Friday night movies at Shade’s Mills Park, star gazing, owl prowls and fishing derbies.
Please check with the park you are visiting to learn more, or visit www.grandriver.ca/parks.