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Services continue but office is closed



DATE OF NOTICE: Posted March 23, 2020; Updated May 29, 2020

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) responds to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; ABCA closes public office until further notice; Staff continue to deliver programs, services remotely

In response to public health guidelines for preventive actions related to coronavirus (COVID-19), Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) has implemented changes to operations and programs:

ABCA office

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority office is closed to the public until further notice. 

Staff working from home but still available to help you

Staff who can complete their duties remotely will work from home and monitor emails and messages. We ask the public to communicate with staff by email or telephone. Staff will continue to respond to inquiries but some delay in response time may be anticipated. Check our staff directory for email addresses and phone extensions. Here is the link to the staff directory: 

If you are unsure which staff member to contact, email us at and we will forward your message to the appropriate person.

Programs and services

ABCA continues to ensure the delivery of essential services and programs during the COVID-19 pandemic. These services and programs include flood forecasting and warning; operation and maintenance of water control structures; communications; municipal support; general administration and corporate services; payroll; and property oversight. Staff continue to review development applications and issue permits as efficiently as possible.

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA)  properties and trails reopened to public for limited use

Issued: May 22, 2020

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) properties and trails have been reopened to the public, for limited use, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Properties have been closed since March 31, 2020. 

The reopening affects all conservation areas: Clinton, Bannockburn, Zurich, Morrison Dam, Crediton, Lucan, Parkhill, Rock Glen, and Ausable River Cut. Other properties include Mystery Falls, L-Lake, Sadler Tract, and Linfield. The opening also includes MacNaughton-Morrison Trail.

Download the Public Notice now:

The ABCA owns thousands of acres of forests and these properties are now open as well. Currently the following conservation area facilities remain closed until further notice: buildings and museums, playgrounds, washrooms and privies. 

The opening to limited uses also includes properties of the Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy (HTLTC) – Bayfield River Flats Natural Area; Mayhew Tract; and Heaman Tract.

Visitors are asked to select the property closest to their home in order to limit unnecessary travel and avoid over-crowding.

Visitors should limit their stay to an hour or less to ensure everyone can enjoy an experience in nature.

Be prepared to turn back if a parking lot is full. Illegal parking is subject to fines and towing.

Visitors should follow public health and safety guidelines: 

  • Do not visit the property if you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
  • Practise physical distancing by staying a minimum of two metres (six feet) apart
  • Stay on trails, stepping off only to allow others to pass
  • Yield to oncoming trail users when crossing bridges and boardwalks
  • Do not gather or arrange to meet family, friends or other groups
  • Keep pets on leash and clean up after them
  • Do not trespass on private property next to ABCA trails
  • Respect the instructions provided by our dedicated staff

To find out more visit

ABCA reopens conservation areas, trails to limited use
Playgrounds, washroom privies remain closed until further notice

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) announced on May 22, 2020 that trails and conservation areas owned and/or managed by ABCA were reopened to limited use. Playgrounds, play structures and privies in conservation areas remain closed and Arkona Lions Museum and Information Centre is also closed until further notice. Otherwise, ABCA trails and conservation lands are open for public use contingent on following public health direction. 

ABCA reminds people they need to practise all applicable public health guidelines including social physical distancing of at least two metres (six feet). The conservation authority is adding signs to reinforce the need for social physical distancing and it is asking people to not use the trails, conservation areas, or other conservation lands if they have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

The reopening includes all conservation areas: Clinton, Bannockburn, Zurich, Morrison Dam, Crediton, Lucan, Parkhill, Rock Glen, and Ausable River Cut. Other properties include Mystery Falls, L-Lake, Sadler Tract, and Linfield. The reopening also includes MacNaughton-Morrison Section of the South Huron Trail. 

ABCA began Phase 1 of property reopenings on May 19, with opening of conservation forests and management areas where there are no trails, parking lots, or other shared amenities.

The May 22 reopening of properties also extends to Huron Tract Land Trust Conservancy properties: Bayfield River Flats Nature Area; Mayhew Tract; and Heaman Tract.

ABCA continues to consult with municipalities and community partners in reopening of facilities. Staff have been doing risk management inspections at the conservation areas to ensure they are safe for reopening. The ABCA Board of Directors approved the property reopenings at the May 21, 2020 Board of Directors meeting. 

“We thank everyone for the patience they have shown as we prepared for the appropriate time to reopen these wonderful locations for safe nature enjoyment,” said Doug Cook, Chair of the ABCA Board of Directors. The past few weeks have really underlined how much local residents cherish local trails and conservation areas, according to the Chair. “We are glad to be in a stage where we can begin to reopen,” Cook said. “We ask people to use these areas properly to keep themselves, their families, their neighbours, and their community safe.”

The conservation authority will monitor trail and conservation area use and will make decisions affecting the areas based on updated information from the Province of Ontario, police and public health authorities, as well as local use patterns. For updates on trails, conservation areas, conservation lands, and Ausable Bayfield Conservation service adaptations visit the website and the Notices of Service Disruptions web page at this link:

ABCA is asking visitors to select the property closest to them in order to reduce crowding and to limit travel. Trail and conservation users are also encouraged to keep their visits as short as possible. As washrooms and privies are not available, trail and conservation area users are asked to plan their visit accordingly and to bring their own hand sanitizer as there are no hand washing facilities available. . 

Summer nature day camps for 2020 have been cancelled as part of our public health response to the current coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic in order to help keep everyone safe. We plan to offer day camps again in 2021.

Conservation education programs by ABCA are cancelled for the remainder of the school year.

Watch for updates

Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority continues to evaluate, daily, the evolving impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, in light of evolving public health recommendations, on how we deliver programs and services. 

Notices of Service Disruptions

For this and other notices of service disruptions, and for full details on Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority’s COVID-19 pandemic response, please visit the Ausable Bayfield Conservation website at at this web page:


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