CAMBRIDGE — People can now enjoy Shades Mills Conservation Area year-round, even before there’s someone on duty to let them in.

Automatic gates have been added to the Cambridge park, allowing visitors to get in an early run or walk on the trails or sink a few fishing lines.

“The park will be open for the public to come any time,” said park superintendent Brian Hunt.

Generally the hours will be dawn to dusk. Before, the gates didn’t open until 8 a.m., and the park closed for winter from mid-October to the first of May.

But that meant people couldn’t enjoy the park through all the seasons, or at convenient times. Some people would park nearby and enter the park when it was closed and without paying.

“People were using the facilities and not paying at the honour box,” Hunt said.

Shade’s Mills has 12 kilometres of hiking trails through a hardwood forest winding along Mill Creek, and fishing in the 32-hectare reservoir behind Shade’s Mill dam.

Read more: Automatic gates: Shade’s Mills Conservation area now open year-round, from dawn to dusk, in Cambridge