Parks FAQ

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Park General Admissions and Reservations

We offer different options for entry to our parks depending on your needs and the location you wish to visit. Options for admission to our parks include:

  1. Pay your admission on arrival at the gatehouse – available for Island Lake, Ken Whillans and Terra Cotta Conservation Areas.
  2. Reserve your visit – available for the Cheltenham Badlands only and is mandatory for visiting this location. Reservation includes admission and parking.
  3. Pre-purchase your admission – a contactless pay option is available for Island Lake, Ken Whillans and Terra Cotta Conservation Areas. (Note: pre-purchased admission does not guarantee your entry during peak visitation times or allow you to bypass line-up).
  4. Reserve your parking – available on weekends and holidays for Island Lake and Terra Cotta Conservation Areas. Guarantees you a parking space during peak visitation times. Admission is not included and must be purchased separately online.

Admission tickets can be purchased online using contactless payment to reduce contact points at the park. Simply show your confirmation receipt to our gate staff when you arrive. Even with pre-purchased admission tickets, admission is on a first come–first-served basis at Island Lake, Ken Whillans and Terra Cotta Conservation Areas and is subject to seasonal operating hours.

Please note, we do our best to accommodate all visitors. Parking is subject to availability and is not guaranteed for pre-purchased admission tickets. If the park is at full capacity when you arrive, you can change your dates or request a refund.

Admission is always free for Conservation Parks members; you do not require an admission ticket.

Please check our Park Advisories before leaving home for the latest updates at each park.

Reserved parking is available on weekends and holidays for Island Lake and Terra Cotta Conservation Areas during the peak visitation season. Visitors can pre-purchase their admission tickets, plus an additional $10 reserved parking space online through the CVC Store. Parking reservations guarantee parking at any time during operating hours for the date of purchase. A parking reservation does not allow for faster entry, you may still have to wait in line to get into the park.

Parking reservations are free for Conservation Parks members, but you must book online in advance of your visit. Card holders of Conservation Parks memberships issued by the library must make a parking reservation by phone at 1-800-367-0890.

Please note, there are limited spaces available for the reserved parking option, so we recommend you plan ahead. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance. Reservations are accepted up to one day before your visit.

Ken Whillans RMA does not offer a reservation service due to the limitations of the parking area.

The Cheltenham Badlands is a small property with limited parking. A reservation system means we know the number of people in the park at any given time. This allows us to create the conditions needed for safe physical distancing, to ensure that everyone has the necessary parking and helps provide for an enjoyable visitor experience that is not overcrowded.

The reservation system offers other benefits, like allowing you to choose the best time to visit before you show up. You can avoid the frustration of arriving to a park and being turned away because it is already at capacity. The reservation system also allows CVC to improve the overall visitor experience and create a more efficient, enjoyable and sustainable approach to park management.

As Provincial COVID-19 guidelines change and more restrictions lift, visitors should expect heavier traffic and higher demand to visit this park. Reservations can be made up to two weeks in advance. Please book early and have alternative dates in mind to accommodate your visit.

Visitors can access some of our parks for free when they use active transportation. Active transportation includes travelling to the park by walking, biking, jogging, running, cycling, in-line skating, skateboarding, non-mechanized wheel chairing, skiing and snowshoeing. It does not include driving to or parking near a park boundary and entering by active transportation methods. Vehicles parked on adjacent roads are subject to enforcement.

Entry through active transportation is available in the following locations:

Terra Cotta Conservation Area– main gate
Island Lake Conservation Area – main gate
Ken Whillans Resource Management Area – main gate

Admission through active transportation is subject to availability. If the park is at full capacity when you arrive, you will not be permitted entry. Please check our Park Advisories before leaving home for the latest updates at each park.

Please note: Our Active Transportation policy does not apply at the Cheltenham Badlands. All visitors must make a reservation in order to visit the Badlands. Bruce Trail users are permitted to hike through the property and do not require a reservation.

 

Online Reservation System for Cheltenham Badlands

You cannot show up at the Cheltenham Badlands without a reservation. You must visit CVCparks.ca or call 1-800-367-0890 to make a reservation before arriving at the park. Parking at the Badlands is extremely limited and cannot safely accommodate visitors without a reservation. Those that show up at the park without a reservation will be turned away. There are no exceptions to this rule.

Reservations can be made up to two-weeks in advance. We kindly ask that you limit your visits to the Cheltenham Badlands to allow others an opportunity to enjoy this popular destination.

Yes, everyone needs a reservation to visit the Cheltenham Badlands. Conservation Parks members are still able to visit the Cheltenham Badlands for free but must have a reservation. Please be prepared to show your Conservation Parks membership card along with your online reservation ticket when you arrive at the park.

Yes, everyone needs a reservation to visit the Cheltenham Badlands. Conservation Ontario pass holders are still able to visit for free. Please plan ahead. Simply call us at 1-800-367-0890 and allow us to create your online profile. This will allow you to make your own reservations for the remainder of the year. You will need to call and renew your privileges with us each year. Additionally, you must have your Conservation Ontario pass and your online reservation ticket with you when you arrive.

Reservations for the Cheltenham Badlands are made for specific time slots during the park hours of operation. Your reservation will give you a 1.5-hour time slot, which is enough time to see everything that the property has to offer. Visiting the Cheltenham Badlands all day is not an option. Check your confirmation email for details of your visit.

Yes. Show your receipt at the Ken Whillans, Island Lake or Terra Cotta gatehouses to receive a discount on your admission fee to these three Credit Valley Parks. The discount is equal to the value of your Cheltenham Badlands reservation receipt and can be used for same day entry only.

Same day entry to these other three parks will be allowed if space permits and the park is not already at capacity. Please check our website for park status before arriving to ensure space is available.

If you have borrowed a Conservation Parks membership card from your local library, you can make a reservation by calling 1-800-367-0890. Staff will reserve your time and date at the park during the hours of operation. Please note, space is limited per time slot. Your reservation will only be confirmed as space permits. You should be prepared to select a new time slot to secure a reservation.

No, the Canoo Pass is not valid at the Cheltenham Badlands.

No, the Access 2 Pass is not valid at the Cheltenham Badlands because this property has a parking fee, not general admission fees.

Yes, your reservation includes access to a space in the parking spot. We ask that you have your driver bring you directly into the park and drop you off in the parking lot. Visitors should not have third party ride programs drop them off roadside at the Cheltenham Badlands because this impacts local traffic, creates safety issues and can inconvenience our neighbours.

Parking

Parking is available at many of our parks however, please be aware of the following conditions:

Island Lake and Terra Cotta Conservation Areas – Parking is available at multiple lots in the park. Accessible parking is available. No roadside parking. If parking is full, please make alternate plans.

Ken Whillans, Limehouse, Meadowvale and Upper Credit Conservation Areas – Limited parking is available within the park. Accessible parking is available. No roadside parking. If parking is full, please make alternate plans.

Elora Cataract Trailway – Parking lots are located in Erin and Hillsburgh. Accessible parking is available. No roadside parking in these communities.  If parking is full, please make alternate plans.

Rattray Marsh Conservation Area – No parking available at this conservation area. No roadside parking. Parking is available at:

If the parking is full, please make alternate plans.

Silver Creek Conservation Area – Limited roadside parking is available. Do not park in dangerous areas. If the parking is full, please make alternate plans.

Cheltenham Badlands – A reservation is required to visit the park. Vehicles are not permitted to stop, stand or park along Olde Base Line Road. One accessible parking space is located near the feature and is for persons with a valid permit and a reservation only. There is available parking onsite to accommodate everyone who has a reservation. Please note: there is active police, by-law, provincial offences officer and security officer enforcement at and around the site.

Memberships

Memberships can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-367-0890. You can also purchase a membership in-person at Island Lake Conservation Area, Terra Cotta Conservation Area and Ken Whillans RMA.

COVID-19 Park Safety

Except for Belfountain Conservation Area which is closed for the 2021 season, all other CVC parks and trails are open for public use. Enhanced safety measures are in place at CVC parks in accordance with public health guidelines, to maintain physical distancing and to comply with outdoor gathering limits. Available park amenities include trails, water access, boat launches, fishing piers, natural playground, picnic tables and washrooms, where available. Visit our Park Advisories page for the up-to-date status on our parks, trails and visitor amenities.

To help protect both staff and visitors and promote physical distancing in our parks, the number of daily visitors in our parks may be limited.

Visitors are required to maintain physical distance of no less than two metres (6 feet) from other persons, except for persons living in the same household or in the same social group.

Visitors are expected to wear a mask whenever entering open indoor facilities (for example washrooms), while waiting in any lines, or whenever two metres (6 feet) distance cannot be maintained between other park visitors.

Group sizes must adhere to the current provincial limitations. For the latest updates visit the Government of Ontario website.

In some locations in our parks, signs have been posted on narrow structures and trails for one-way use to allow for physical distancing. Please follow all posted rules.

Online maps and park kiosks are available with information to plan your visit, including general etiquette and rules and regulations for visiting a Conservation Area.

You can check how busy select parks are before you go by checking our visitor capacity information for our staffed parks, available on our Park Advisories page.

Park Amenities and Activities

Washrooms are available at select locations.  Enhanced safety and cleaning measures are in place to help protect visitors and staff. Washroom use is limited to ensure visitors always stay six feet apart. Please follow in-park instructions and remember to wear a mask inside. We have increased our cleaning schedule and frequently touched surfaces will be cleaned and disinfected in accordance with public health guidelines.

Re-fill stations and/or potable water is not available at CVC parks in 2021.

We currently don’t have any park events scheduled. Up-to-date listings can be found on our events calendar. We will assess future events based on the direction of the province and public health authorities.

Picnic and group reservations are now available. Reservations are subject to compliance with provincial restrictions on outdoor gathering limits. Reservations are available online. If you have a question, please email us.

Check our Park Advisories page for the latest updates.

Customer Service

Conservation Areas are spaces for the public to visit and connect with nature. Whether it’s your first visit or simply your first visit in a while, it’s important to get familiar with park etiquette, and the rules and regulations before heading to a local conservation area. We want you to make the most of your visit! Before you leave home make sure you:

Our park staff are receiving a high volume of calls and emails. Many of your questions can be answered through our online resources which include:

We recommend reviewing these resources first. If you still need assistance, email us or call 1-800-367-0890 and our staff can assist you. Please leave a message if you are unable to reach a staff member.

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