Here's our answers to some of the questions we get asked most often. Got a question you'd like answered? Email us at .

When are you open?
Why do I have to pay an admission/parking fee?
Do I have to pay the per person admission fee on top of the parking fee?
What are the caves like? What do I need to go in them?
Is the water in the park safe?
Does your campground have water/electrical hookups/trailer sites?
How many people/tents/cars can we have on a campsite?
What are the campground check in/check out times?
Can I reserve a group campsite?
Can I bring my dog to the park/camping?
Why is there a ban on bringing firewood into the park?
What is radio curfew and quiet time?
Do you have an alcohol ban in place?
What are the campground rules?
Are there bears in the park?
Are there bats in the caves?

Is Warsaw Caves a Provincial Park?


When are you open?
The park is open daily beginning in mid-May (Friday, May 12, 2017) and closes the weekend after the Thanksgiving weekend in October (Monday, October 9, 2017). You can still visit the park in the off season – just leave your car in the parking area near the gatehouse and walk in.

The public campground is also open from mid-May through to mid-October. Group campsites are available at other times of the year by contacting our head office at (705) 745-5791 to make the necessary arrangements. You can also organize a school trip by calling this number.

The caves are open to the public from April 15 through to December 1 each year. They are closed through the winter for your safety as snow and ice make footing unsafe.
 
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Why do I have to pay an admission/parking fee?
When you pay your admission or parking fee you directly help support the operation of the park. Admissions and user fees are an important source of revenue and cover off a significant portion of the operating costs of the conservation area.

If you are a frequent visitor, you can save money and show your support by purchasing an annual pass at the gate house. The pass is good for a year from date of purchase and allows access to both Warsaw Caves and Selwyn Beach Conservation Areas. The pass is valid for general admission only and does not cover camping or other user fees/services.

Please note that our fees are inclusive of all applicable taxes.

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Do I have to pay the per person admission fee on top of the parking fee?
No. You pay one fee or the other, not both. Pay the parking or bus fee and drive on in, or pay the walk-in fee and walk into the park after you have parked your car in the lot adjacent to the gatehouse. Motorcyclists pay per person walk-in fees only.

Camping permits include parking for one car. Any additional vehicles require a separate extra vehicle permit.

Program fees for activities such as canoe rentals and cave tours are paid in addition to admission or camping fees.

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What are the caves like? What do I need to go in them?
You could describe our caves as "beginner" caves they're easy to explore, but still lots of fun. The Warsaw Caves are a series of seven caves anywhere from 40m (130 ft.) to 91m (300 ft.) long. Some are connected, while others are dead ends that you'll have to backtrack. The network of caves is compact enough that you don't have to worry about getting lost. You can stand up in some places, but in others you'll have to crouch or wiggle your way through. Walking surfaces are generally level, but can be uneven and slippery in spots. There are no extreme drops with the sharpest ledge being about 1.25m (4 ft.) high.

You won't really need any special equipment beyond a flashlight (we sell headlamps at our gatehouse). Wear clothing that you're not afraid to get dirty, and a sturdy pair of shoes. Make sure that if you carry in a water bottle or a snack that you bring the bottle or wrapper back out with you -
no littering! No alcohol or glass containers.

(Yes, you really do need that flashlight. Really. Headlamps are preferred because they leave your hands free. )

Have fun spelunking!

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Is the water in the park safe?
A program is in place to ensure that the water in the campground and in the swimming area is safe. Drinking water is regularly tested in accordance with Ontario’s safe drinking water regulations. Water quality in the swimming area is monitored by the local health department.

Note that the swimming area is unsupervised and used at your own risk. Swim with a buddy and keep a close eye on your children.

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Does your campground have water/electrical hookups/trailer sites?
All of the campsites at Warsaw Caves are unserviced – we do not offer water or hydro hookups on individual campsites. Potable water is available at several stations throughout the campground. Even though our sites are unserviced, a number of them can accommodate trailers or RV’s (i.e. they are large and well surfaced).

Otonabee Conservation now also operates Beavermead Campground in Peterborough. Serviced campsites (30 amp) water hook-ups and a dumping station are available at that location, but not at Warsaw Caves.


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How many people/tents/cars can we have on a campsite?
In order to prevent overcrowding, we enforce reasonable limits on the number of people and vehicles that may use an individual campsite.

We allow a maximum of 5 persons per campsite
*. We do not place a limit on the number of tents you may have on a campsite, so it is possible for you to have a trailer/sleeping tents and a dining tent on your campsite as space allows (subject to the 5 person limit). You may not encroach on neighbouring sites, common areas, adjacent natural areas, or roadways/paths.

All vehicles must display a valid permit in their windshield. Your camping permit includes parking for one vehicle. Any additional vehicles must have an additional vehicle permit (per car, per night). You may park up to two vehicles on your campsite as space allows. You may not encroach on neighbouring sites, common areas, adjacent natural areas, or roadways/paths. A visitor parking area is available to accommodate extra vehicles.

Only spaces designated for camping or parking may be used for those purposes.

* a single family of parents and their children is not subject to the 5 person limit

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What are the campground check in/check out times?
Our standard check out time for campers is noon and check in time is 2 p.m. (but we're flexible). Check in/check out times give us just enough time to tidy up and prepare for the next group of campers.

If the campsite you have reserved is not already booked or in use on the date before your reservation you are welcome to arrive early to begin your stay.

Similarly, if we do not have a reservation on the books for the site you are camping on, you are welcome to extend your stay past noon so you can sleep in, take a little more time in packing up, or enjoy other activities in the park.

Please check with us before hand. Give us a call ahead of time or check with park staff at the end of your visit for information about your specific circumstance.

And yes, once you are finished camping, you are welcome to stay and continue to enjoy the park until you decide it's time to go home.

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Can I bring my dog to the park/camping?
Sure, you can bring your dog for a day visit or to camp – after all he's part of the family. As a responsible owner you must respect the rules that apply to you and your dog during your visit.

• Dogs must at all times be on a leash not exceeding 2 metres in length. Warsaw Caves and Selwyn Beach do not offer any leash-free areas.

Dogs are not permitted in swimming areas, on beaches or in any other area posted as off limits to dogs. Dogs are not permitted in the caves. Dogs are not permitted in the comfort station.

• Do not leave your pet unattended. Dogs must be quiet and under control at all times and are not permitted to disturb other park visitors or campers, and they may not harass wildlife.

• You are required to clean up after your petpoop and scoop, please!

• Exemptions are in place for service dogs.

Additional information is available here.

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Why is there a ban on bringing firewood into the park?
We enforce a ban on firewood being brought into the park because of the movement of dangerous insect pests that can destroy a forest. The ban applies to all firewood from the Greater Toronto Area and from the London/Windsor area where trees are being attacked by the Asian Long Horned Beetle and the Emerald Ash Borer. A more general ban applies to any wood from outside of the country. These restrictions are based in Provincial and Federal laws intended to combat this threat.

The most significant factor in the spread of these destructive bugs is known to be the movement of wood from one location to another. The first Asian Long Horned Beetle infestation in the Toronto area, centered on Steeles Av. and Hwy. 400, is believed to have started with wooden shipping crates from overseas. Wooden shipping materials must now meet specific standards before coming into the country, but we are still having to cope with the resulting problem.

Firewood purchased locally (within Peterborough County) is okay to bring to the park. Firewood from any other origin is not - this includes old skids and other wooden shipping materials. You may be refused entry to the park or directed to remove from the park any firewood found on your campsite if you cannot clearly demonstrate that it did not come from an affected area.


When you buy your firewood locally, you support the operation of the park and the local tourism economy, and you protect our forests so they can be enjoyed for years to come!

More information is available here.

UPDATE April 2013 Victory! Authorities have declared the Asian Long Horned Beetle eradicated! The insect that threatened maple trees in the Toronto area was contained and then eliminated as a pest through effective quarantine practices and an aggressive program of control that saw the removal of over 30,000 trees. The beetle has not been seen in Canada since 2007.

UPDATE September 2013 Setback. Shortly after declaring this beetle pest eradicated, a new outbreak was discovered in an industrial area in Mississauga in the vicinity of the Pearson Airport. A new quarantine area has been established and the fight is on again.

Efforts are now being stepped up in the fight against the Emerald Ash Borer which is threatening Ash trees from Windsor to Pickering. This pest has not yet reached our area and a ban on movement of firewood out of the GTA remains in effect.

Don't move firewood! Buy locally! It's the environmentally responsible thing to do.

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What is radio curfew and quiet time?
Noise can be a problem in a shared outdoor setting. To help ensure that everyone can enjoy their camping trip there are rules in place that prohibit excessive noise. These rules are clearly posted at the gatehouse, they are printed on the back of your camping or extra vehicle permit, and they are provided as part of the information you receive if you make a reservation.

10:00 p.m. is radio curfew and all radios must be turned off. Note that this also applies to musical instruments, generators, any form of media player, and other sources of noise.

12:00 midnight is quiet time. You cannot not make any noise that might disturb other campers.

Note that, in addition to enforcing these specific rules, staff may intervene at any time to limit noise that may disturb other campers or otherwise interfere with the enjoyment of the conservation area by other persons.

Please respect your fellow campers and park users.

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Can I reserve a group campsite?
Certain conditions are placed on the use of group camp areas in an effort to help ensure the safe, quiet enjoyment of these areas by all users. While we recognize that the separateness of the group camp areas is one of the things that makes them attractive, please keep in mind that the same rules apply throughout all areas of the campground, including those rules related to the use of alcohol and to noise.

Group camp areas are made available to Scouting/Guiding/Cadet and recognized educational and community/social service groups. All other types of groupsyour family reunion; a camping trip organized by a group of co-workers; a birthday, anniversary, wedding or other type of celebration; a social club, religious group, or interest groupmay also make use of a group camp area.

Scouting/Guiding/Cadet, educational and community/social service groups can reserve and make use of group camp areas under the terms of a group camping permit at $5.00 per person, per night, subject to a $30.00 per night minimum (i.e. equivalent to the cost of camping for 6 persons). This type of permit does not permit the use of alcohol.

Use of group camp areas by all other types of groups takes place under the terms of standard camping permits at $8.75 per person per night, subject to a $175.00 per night minimum (i.e. equivalent to the cost of camping for 20 persons).

There are important differences between the two types of permit. We will only issue a group camping permit to groups that are part of a recognized legal entity with a designated officer(s) who has the legal authority to act on behalf of the group members. Scouts/Guides/Cadets, and school groups under the authority of a school board are the most common examples of the types of groups who may be issued a group camping permit and that are eligible for the lowest group camping rate (subject to specified minimums). Community and social service agencies such as child welfare organizations are also eligible for the lower rate. Note that we will not under any circumstance issue a group camping permit where the consumption of alcohol will take place regardless of the nature of the group. In such cases we will only issue standard camping permits for the use of a group camp area as described below. Also note that we will not issue a group camping permit at the lower rate simply on the basis that the group will not be consuming alcoholthe group must still be part of a recognized legal entity as noted above.

Any other type of group (as described above) may be permitted the use of a group camp area at the discretion of the campground supervisor, but only through the issue of standard camping permits. While the reservation is made in the name of the group, each individual group of campers that is part of the larger group is responsible for completing their own permit and paying the required camping fees. In practice, this means that each vehicle/camping unit will be issued a standard camping permit at the higher of the two group camping rates subject to specified minimums. No one individual will be issued a permit for the entire group or will be permitted to sign for more than one permit. Under the terms of a standard camping permit the responsible use of alcohol is permitted when using a group camp area.

We will in some cases accommodate a group where alcohol will be served under a special occasion permit (SOP) as issued by the Liquor License Board of Ontario as part of a wedding, for example. The SOP holder is responsible for meeting all municipal, Provincial and other requirements of the permit, and must provide liability insurance for the event. Such use requires a reservation and the prior permission of the campground supervisor. We will not permit the exercise of any SOP we have not been made aware of, that does not meet all of the requirements of the permit, or where event insurance is not in place.

Based on the information above interested groups may request the use of a group camp area as described at http://www.warsawcaves.com/gcamping.htm. All requests are subject to approval. Otonabee Region Conservation is not obligated to accept any request for the use of a group or other campsite that it may receive and may refuse to issue a permit(s) at its sole discretion.

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Do you have an alcohol ban in place?
The use of alcohol is not allowed within the park except in conjunction with the issue of a camping permit.

The responsible use of alcohol is permitted only on your campsite as long as you hold a valid camping permit and respect all applicable laws and park regulations. The use of alcohol is not permitted anywhere else in the park, including but not limited to, the beach, picnic areas, the caves, and other common areas.

Any person using alcohol is responsible for their own conduct at all times. Inappropriate conduct related to the use of alcohol, including but not limited to; disruptive behaviour, operation of a motor vehicle under the influence, open alcohol in a vehicle, open alcohol off a campsite, underage consumption, etc. is not acceptable. This may result in the withdrawal of a camping permit(s) and eviction or, when necessary, a call to the police.

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Are there bears in the park?
We have only very rarely seen bears in the park, although we know from signs that they are present early in the season after they wake from hibernation. They are most likely to be seen in the vicinity of the dumpsters seeking a meal. By early to mid-June, any bears in the vicinity have typically moved off in the search for food.

If you do see a bear, you should avoid contact with it. Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources Bear Wise program provides practical advice on sharing the outdoors with bears. It also offers information about how to handle an encounter with a bear.

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Are there bats in the caves?
Until recently, bats were quite common in the park. However, they don't generally make use of the caves here that visitors are invited to explore. The terrain and vegetative cover in the park is such that there are plenty of other nooks and cranies for bats to settle in without being bothered by humans. If you do see a bat, please observe from a distance and do not disturb it.

Bat populations in Ontario and throughout North America have been decimated by a deadly fungus known as white nose syndrome for the white ring of fungus that appears on the snout of an infected bat. This fungus does not affect people.

Until just a few years ago, it was quite common to see many bats here at dusk wheeling over open areas such as the group camp sites. They would swoop and twist through the air as they tracked and ate mosquitoes and other insects. Those fascinating early evening air-shows no longer occur and we now only see bats occasionally (but we're hoping they make a comeback).

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Is Warsaw Caves a Provincial Park?
No, Warsaw Caves is not a Provincial Park. There are over 300 parks in the Ontario Parks system, but we're not one of those (but we still love 'em as much as any other Ontarian).

Warsaw Caves is owned and operated by the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority, one of the province's 36 conservation authorities. The primary role of conservation authorities is in water resource management, which includes flood protection and good land development planning practices intended to protect those resources. Alongside this, many conservation authorities also offer recreational oppourtunites.

You can learn more about Ontario's conservation authorities at the Conservation Ontario website.


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last update 9 March, 2015 – subject to change without notice