Leamington, ON – In order to ensure compliance with physical distancing requirements, the Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) has made the difficult decision to close Hillman Marsh Conservation Area for the month of May.
“Traditionally, we welcome thousands of birders in May to Hillman, specifically for the Shorebird Celebration,” explains Kevin Money, ERCA’s Director of Conservation Services. “In order to ensure that no physical gatherings take place, we felt it prudent to proactively close this conservation area from May 1 – May 30.” Kopegaron Woods, originally closed for parking lot repairs, will remain closed due to the anticipated annual influx of visitors.
ERCA is continuing to monitor usage at conservation areas around the region. Gathering and loitering at all conservation areas is prohibited, and they are open for travel-through access, such as walking and cycling, only. Trail users are reminded that they must properly dispose of their own garbage, and to implement physical distancing measures (at least 6 feet) when passing other users.
“While we hope to continue to keep most of conservation areas open for physical and mental health, our top priority is to ensure that we are adhering to the public health requirements in place for the protection of all,” says Money. “If we find that people are not complying with these posted rules, we will be forced to close our Conservation Areas.”
Due to the current public health crisis, we are unable to hire additional summer maintenance staff, and as a result, are only able to perform basic maintenance tasks at Conservation Areas and greenways, so it is critically important that all users continue to minimize their impact on these areas for the benefit of all. We look forward to returning to our normal levels of maintenance as soon as possible.
Since 1973, Essex Region Conservation has been enriching and sustaining our region as the Place for Life.