ORCA campgrounds see increase in users despite virus

·2 min read

Although Otonabee Conservation campgrounds at Beavermead and Warsaw Caves Conservation Area were only open for 17 weeks in 2021 compared to a usual 23-week season, there was an 11 per cent upswing in the number of campers.

“It was a busy year,’ said Dan Marinigh, chief administrative officer at Otonabee Conservation, in Monday news release of its annual report to the watershed community.

“Our staff have worked very hard under challenging circumstances to fulfil our conservation mandate.”

There were 34,846 campers and day visitors to Beavermead Campground and Warsaw Caves Conservation Area.

“We (also) responded to another year over year increase in the number of planning and permitting inquiries and permit applications,” Marinigh said.

Otonabee Conservation’s social media saw an increase of 24 per cent in its followers and there were 105,540 website users in 2021.

The report said the year began with a need to pivot as a result of COVID-19. Staff worked from home while faced with restrictions on gathering, bans on activities, and other requirements, meaning Otonabee Conservation had to be creative and flexible in the way it provided programs and services.

More highlights from 2021 include:

13,455 native trees and shrubs were planted across the watershed which will sequester 2.5M+ kg of carbon over their lifetime

16 flood messages were issued to help protect life and property from flooding;

213 active files were responded to through the Drinking Water Source Protection program with 67 notices issued under the Clean Water Act

1,300 preconsultation files were opened to assist clients in understanding natural hazards and heritage features on a property

The Your Metres Matter fundraising campaign raised over $23,000 for the revitalization of the Jackson Creek Trail.

Ryan Huntley, chair of the board of directors, said in the news release, “Otonabee Conservation’s board and staff have shown great dedication to the conservation authority’s mission and have supported each other as we collectively met the challenges and opportunities during another unprecedented year.”

To view the Otonabee Conservation 2021 Annual Report to the Watershed Community, visit otonabeeconservation.

Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative.

Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner

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