As Manitobans prepare to enjoy the May long weekend, it is important to remember that anyone heading to provincial parks, campgrounds or cottages should continue to practise social distancing and follow the fundamentals of safety for COVID-19. This is especially important in public areas such as campgrounds, trails, beaches, playgrounds, washrooms and shower buildings.
Remember the current Manitoba public health restrictions do not allow visitors to campsites unless they are from campers’ immediate households. Rules for campsites are the same as for private residences. Outdoor gatherings with people from outside your household are not permitted.
Campers are reminded that face masks must be worn inside buildings including washrooms, offices, visitor centres and shelters. As a precaution, campers should also bring their own hand sanitizer. Remember to wash hands and use an alcohol-based sanitizer regularly. Practise ‘Leave No Trace’ camping and pack out everything packed in including trash and recycling.
Frequent cleaning and sanitizing of washrooms and shower facilities within provincial parks will once again be in place to ensure visitors have safe and positive experiences. Campers should buy and print their park vehicle permits online ahead of time, if possible, and have their campsite reservation confirmations.
Manitobans who feel unwell should stay at home, and return home immediately if they become ill or experience symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. Do not use local health-care providers unless it is an emergency, in order to avoid overwhelming health facilities in small communities.
Level 2 backcountry and fire restrictions remain in place across southern Manitoba. In addition, in provincial parks south of the 53rd parallel:
- all trails and water routes remain closed;
- campfires are now permitted from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. in approved fire pits only at eastern region provincial parks (including Whiteshell, Nopiming, Moose Lake, St. Malo), as well as at Birds Hill, Grand Beach, Spruce Woods and Turtle Mountain provincial parks; and
- no campfires are permitted at any time in all other provincial parks south of the 53rd parallel and CSA-approved gas appliances are permitted.
Scattered rainfall is expected to continue to improve fire conditions in some areas over the long weekend. Restrictions will be reviewed daily and updates for provincial parks will be posted at manitobaparks.com.
Key reminders of what is different in Manitoba campgrounds and cottage country at this time:
- buy your provincial park vehicle permits online before you leave home,
- have your campsite reservation confirmation ready for check-in at the campground,
- practise social distancing,
- do not gather with anyone from outside of your household,
- pack out trash when leaving, and
- check for local rules on campfires.
Conservation officers will enforce public health and state of emergency orders within provincial parks, and park patrols, attendants, interpreters and beach safety services will provide education and monitor compliance.
Cottagers are reminded to limit the number of additional contacts made as part of their trips. That means gathering supplies and fueling up near home if possible, and avoiding extra stops along the way. In addition, stay home if feeling sick.
Another important annual reminder for campers: because the emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Winnipeg, firewood cannot be moved out of Winnipeg. Anyone caught transporting firewood could be charged and fined up to $1,300 for individuals or $15,000 for businesses. Firewood is available for purchase from retailers at campgrounds.
For more information on Manitoba parks and specific COVID-19 measures in place, visit manitobaparks.com.
For more information on being careful cottagers, visit manitoba.ca.