Hikers warned to keep out of Grand River conservation areas

Signs warning hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to keep out of affected areas were posted near Grand River Conservation Authority properties on Friday, March 25, after a winter storm pelted the region with between 10 to 20 mm of ice.

Conservation authority says parks and trails will remain closed until further notice

Signs were posted at Laurel Creek Conservation Area, warning hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to keep out. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC)

Parks, trails and conservation areas under the Grand River Conservation Authority will remain closed until further notice due to ice storm damage. 

Signs warning hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to keep out of affected areas were stapled to trees and fences on Friday after a winter storm pelted the region with between 10 to 20 mm of ice.

"We are asking that people respect that signage," said Lisa Stocco, spokeswoman for the authority. "It's there because there are overhead hazards, such as the limbs ... or trees that are weakened and a good wind might bring them down."

The low lying bridge in St. Jacobs is closed due to high water levels on the Conestogo River. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC)
Rockwood Conservation Area and the Guelph Lake Nature Centre were reopened on Tuesday, but Stocco said it could be a couple of weeks before all closed areas can be accessed by the public.

"This storm certainly wasn't as significant or severe as the storm that we experienced in 2013 ... but, from what I understand, areas north of Guelph were impacted fairly significantly," she said. "It will take a little bit of time for our staff to go through all of the areas and assess any damage that has happened and clean that up."

Conservation staff are in the process of cleaning up the parks and trails.
"There are some trees that I understand still have limbs that have sort of broken off, but are still partially hanging on to the tree. Those limbs have to be removed, so that they don't pose a hazard."

Stocco said she doesn't know how much the damage caused by the storm will cost the authority, but said the ice storm of December 2013 cost about $570,000. She said this recent storm was smaller, and estimated it will cost about $142,000.

The authority is encouraging potential visitors to visit its website for an updated list of closures

The conservation authority says water levels on the Grand and Conestogo rivers will be high. (Melanie Ferrier/CBC)
In addition to closing some of its properties, the authority has issued a flood warning for Waterloo Region and Wellington County. 

Stocco said the authority is releasing more water than normal from its Shand and Conestogo dams, in order to increase the storage capacity of those reservoirs. 

As a result, water in the Grand and Conestogo rivers will be high and could flood low lying areas. 

"Flows through Elora will be up to the boardwalk behind Mill Street over the next day, but they're not expected to cause property flooding," she said. "The St. Jacobs low level bridge is closed and will likely remain closed until high flows in the Conestogo River recede."

There is more rain in the forecast for Thursday, according to Environment Canada, and Stocco said that while the authority is not anticipating any major flooding, it will continue to monitor water levels closely.


  • A previous version of this story said the 2013 storm cost $57,000 in damage, and that the estimated cost of this year's storm was $14,000. In fact, the 2013 storm caused $570,000 in damages, and the estimated cost of this year's storm is $142,000.
    Mar 30, 2016 2:13 PM ET


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?