What goes into closing a park for the winter?

While 32 provincial parks remain open for the winter, the rest hibernate until spring.

But closing a park isn’t as simple as just locking the gates. Our staff put a lot of elbow grease into prepping each park for the winter.

Here are just a few of the tasks we do each fall:

Park wardens

warden standing in front of lake at sunset

Our wardens keep parks safe for visitors, while protecting our natural resources.

At the end of the summer camping season, park wardens return and inventory all of their gear including uniforms, binders, badges, keys, and more.

They make sure all of that gear is secure and put away for use next summer. Following inventory, they place an order with the park clerk for everything they will need for next year.

Wardens also compile statistics on all of the work they did all summer. Now they are ready to enjoy a winter off!

Park maintenance

Our maintenance staff have a big job at the end of summer camping season. Getting the campgrounds, beaches, and trails ready for winter takes a ton of work!

The maintenance staff bring in the warden’s boat, docks, buoys, canoes, and kayaks from our waterways.

Staff driving UTV

Much of our equipment needs to be winterized each fall. This includes the boat and motor, pumphouse, fleet, and sewage system.

On top of all that, pop machines need to be emptied, garbage emptied and dropped off, flags lowered, and leaves blown. Phew!

Our staff pumps out and empties the vault toilets, and completes any other necessary maintenance. They collect gear for winter storage, and shut down the hydro to the campgrounds.

maintenance staff

Maintenance staff cleans out the campground fire pits, day-use barbecues, and gutters on all buildings. They also close the staff house and rental shack, and take down the self-serve station and store front.

To deal with the winter weather they also install a plow blade on to the truck, snow blower on to the tractor, and tracks on to the ATV. Staff also services each snowmobile and tops up all of the vehicle tanks for winter.

In order to make sure our visitors can enjoy our trails all season long the staff perform grooming and maintenance to prepare for cross-country skiing.

Last but not least, staff puts out the winter signs, and we are ready to go. Bring on the snow!

Office work

staff working at gate

The office staff have a crucial part in closing the park for the season.

Office staff are responsible for collecting all of the information and statistics from the past year. Among other things, they create Discovery and Ontario Parks merchandise year-end reports. They also create a summary of customer comments from the year.

Staff will collect and store all leftover gear, and do an inventory of things like firewood, merchandise, and more.

Administrative staff also prepare for any new projects at the park. This could include new cabins, shelters, or comfort stations.

Staff truck plowing snow

Lastly, they have to arrange for snow plowing once winter hits. At parks that offer skiing, administration staff work with local ski groups to prepare the winter’s ski program.

This is only a sample of some of the work our hardworking staff will be up to!

Don’t forget that 32 parks stay open all winter long!

We have day-use, winter camping AND roofed accommodations! To find out which parks are open, check out our Winter Activity Hub.

Otherwise, we’ll see you in the spring!