COVID-19 Impacts on Parks, Recreation and Trails servicesUpdated May 22, 2020 3:00 pm

During the COVID-19 pandemic and particularly with regard to the Province’s Emergency Declaration the following measures have been put in place for the Parks, Recreation and Trails Department:

  • The Algonquin Highlands Trails office at 20130 Highway 35 will remain closed to the public until further notice, effective March 18, 2020. Staff are available to answer phone and email inquiries at 705-766-9033;
  • Stanhope, Dorset and Oxtongue Recreation Centres are closed until further notice, phone and email inquiries available at 705-766-9968,,
Amenity Open Closed Detail Date opened
Outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, outdoor picnic sites, benches and shelters in parks and recreation areas. OPEN   Includes:
  • Stanhope Park
  • Elvin Johnson Park
  • Dorset Parkette
  • Dorset Lions Park
  • Oxtongue Community Centre
  • Log Chute Park
  • Hawk Valley Parks (roadside picnic areas)
May 19, 2020
Playgrounds, play structures and fitness equipment.   CLOSED All locations  
Beaches   CLOSED All locations closed  
Hiking Trails (except Dorset Tower) OPEN   Walk-through access only. Maintain physical distancing and adhere to maximum group number limitations. Excludes Dorset Tower Trail which remains closed. Currently the dam access to Crests of Kennisis Trail at the Log Chute Trail is closed pending Parks Canada opening. Trail is accessible from Circuit of Five Viewpoints Trailhead.  May 15, 2020
Dorset Scenic Lookout Tower and Trail   CLOSED Includes entire property, trail, park, road, tower and water fill station. Seasons passes will be prorated upon re-opening.  
Campsites – Haliburton Highlands Water Trails – Frost Centre and Poker Lakes   CLOSED

Campsites associated with the Haliburton Highlands Water Trails remain closed for an undetermined amount of time due to provincial restrictions. No new reservations are being accepted. All reservations up to and including June 23, 2020 will be cancelled and refunded. Reservation holders will be contacted by a representative to process their refund. All fees except the non-refundable reservation surcharge of $10+HST will be refunded.

Currently there is no known date that campsites will be permitted to open. Provincial restriction timelines have been extended in two week increments since the order was made. Cancellations and refunds will now be processed relative to the provincial restriction timelines plus an additional two weeks. This will allow staff to prepare the area for the safe return of visitors if the restriction is lifted. For example, the current restriction is in place until June 9, 2020. If at that time the restriction is extended then cancellations will be extended to match the extension date plus an additional two weeks. If it is lifted on June 9th, then camping will be open starting June 24th, 2020.

This review process is a change from our previous approach of cancelling reservations in one month blocks and will allow us to open campsites in a more timely manner if they are permitted to open.

Water Access - Haliburton Highlands Water Trails - Frost Centre and Poker Lakes OPEN   Access to water remains open for recreational use.  
Canoe Rentals   CLOSED    


Algonquin Highlands Trails Office – 20130 Highway 35.   CLOSED    
Dorset Recreation Centre – 1051 Main Street Dorset   CLOSED Pass holders will be pro-rated upon re-opening. Closure includes Haliburton County Public Library book depot services.  
Stanhope Firefighters’ Community Hall – 1095 North Shore Road   CLOSED Rentals will be cancelled in monthly blocks and refunded completely.    
Oxtongue Lake Community Centre, picnic grounds and pavilion. – 3979 Hwy 60   CLOSED Rentals will be cancelled in monthly blocks and refunded completely.   
Municipal Boat Launches  OPEN   Adhere to physical distancing and maximum allowable group sizes  


WiFi (accessible from parking areas, buildings are closed) OPEN  
  • Stanhope Airport (1168 Stanhope Airport Rd.)  
  • Township Office (1123 North Shore Rd.)
  • Dorset Recreation Centre
  • Oxtongue Community Centre

Water Taps

  • Stanhope Airport (1168 Stanhope Airport Rd.)  
  • Township Office (1123 North Shore Rd.)

(Please note:  As these are public facilities, extraordinary hygiene practices are required)

Public Washrooms (not including Township office or Dorset Recreation Centre) OPEN  
  • Dorset Parkette
  • Elvin Johnson Park
  • Stanhope Courts and Playing Field
  • Water Trail access points. 

These facilities are not regularly checked and cleaned, users are asked to undertake appropriate hygiene protocols.



Summer events have been Cancelled   CLOSED Fall events will be reviewed in August.
Cancellations include:
  • Oxtongue Lake Canada Day
  • Oxtongue Lake Summer Speaker Series
  • Dorset Family Movie Nights
  • Dorset Museum Heritage Day
  • Stanhope Heritage Day
  • Swimming Lessons and Aqua-Fit
  • Stanhope Soccer League
  • Dorset Kids Fish Derby
  • Dorset Arts, Crafts and Antiques Show
  • Dorset Community Garage Sale. 
Summer programs have been Cancelled   CLOSED Scheduled recreational programs and events will be reviewed and decisions regarding cancellation will be made in 30-day blocks.  
Online programing OPEN   Online programming will be listed at: