MORRISBURG – Two more beaches owned by the St. Lawrence Parks Commission are about to reopen to the public this week. Crysler Beach, between Upper Canada Village and Crysler Marina, along with the Woodland Beach on Long Sault Parkway will open beginning July 18th.
Opening Crysler and Woodland beaches to the public should help alleviate some of the pressure tourists and residents have placed on municipal amenities in the region.
“Beaches are certainly a very popular activity across the province,” said SLPC spokesperson Krista Doyle. “This is to ensure there is no overcrowding, proper physical distancing can be maintained and overall, so that visitors can enjoy the beach safely.”
Limited beach access has led to overcrowding issues across the region since the province entered Stage Two of Ontario’s COVID-19 reopening plan. South Dundas limited beach access to its Morrisburg and Iroquois beaches to weekday-use only at the beginning of July. South Stormont fully closed its beach at Lakeview Park.
Doyle told The Leader that Crysler and Woodland beaches will open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. beginning July 18th.
Outside of the beach openings announced, Doyle said that the SLPC cannot commit to opening other areas.
In a separate announcement, the SLPC said that its Glengarry Park, Mille Roches, and Riverside Cedar campgrounds will remain closed for the 2020 season. Also closed are the campground and cabin areas of Crysler Park and the Nairne/Morrison Island campgrounds attached to the Upper Canada Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
Doyle explained that the UCMBS will be closed for the summer 2020 season, but not due to restrictions relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We experienced flooding early in the season making our trails and boardwalk unusable,” she said. “After careful consideration our team made the difficult decision to keep the park closed for the 2020 season given we are unable to open safely.”
She added that the SLPC was working with the Friends of the Sanctuary group, which operates fall and winter programming at the bird sanctuary.
“We value our relationship with the Friends of the Sanctuary and continue to work closely with our partner to ensure they are fully informed of all decisions,” Doyle said.
Another group affected by restrictions and park closures at the SLPC is the Friends of Grand Trunk 1008. That group won the competitive proposal process late Fall 2019 to steward the stablization and refurbishment of the historical railroad display at Crysler Park.
“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project has been delayed,” Doyle said. “As we work towards a more steady environment, we look forward to reconnecting with the group and re-establishing a path forward.”
She added that the SLPC is excited with the progress the Friends of Grand Trunk 1008 is making.
“We understand they are working very hard and getting organized to continue with this project.”
According to Friends chair Gardner Sage, there hasn’t been any communication received from the SLPC by the group since March.
“We understand that they have to focus their priorities elsewhere at this time, and we look forward to reconnecting with them to move ahead as soon as they are able,” Sage told The Leader. “In the meantime, we are planning to start what projects we can do on our own as soon as possible.”
Note: This story was corrected from the July 15th print edition.