Gateway Gazette

Alberta Parks Extends Camping Season in Three Parks

Popularity of Alberta’s campgrounds continues with seventh year of record-breaking reservation numbers.

Campers are encouraged to explore fall camping opportunities in Alberta’s provincial parks.
Campers are encouraged to explore fall camping opportunities in Alberta’s provincial parks.

In order to meet increasing demand for late-season camping opportunities the province has extended the camping season at three provincial campgrounds through October 31 as part of a pilot program.

Campgrounds in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park southeast of Medicine Hat, Saskatoon Island Provincial Park west of Grande Prairie and Cold Lake Provincial Park will all be open through October 31.

This pilot program also saw Crimson Lake Provincial Park campground, northwest of Rocky Mountain House, open two weeks earlier on April 15. The pilot will be evaluated once complete and decisions on extending the camping season in other parks next season will be made. This is the first time an extended season pilot program has been promoted in Alberta.

“Albertans love to camp, even when the summer season has officially come to an end. This is a way to extend the season on one of our favourite activities a little bit longer, and to enhance access to outdoor activities in some of the province’s most beautiful parks.”

Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks

 

“We are very supportive of this initiative by Environment and Parks to extend the camping season as it allows our customers to get more use out of their RVs and to experience Alberta’s wonderful parks system in the fall.”

Dan Merkowsky, Executive Vice President, Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association of Alberta

 

Camping in Alberta continues to be a popular recreational activity for both Albertans and tourists. Reservations on Reserve Alberta Parks are up by nearly 10 per cent to date with more than 155,000 bookings processed this past summer. This is the seventh year in a row where reservations have grown from the previous year.

Comfort camping in particular continues to grow in popularity, with an almost 25 per cent increase in reservations over the same time period in 2015. Comfort camping affords people the opportunity to step into a ready-made camping environment complete with shelter and a range of amenities that include beds, cutlery, fridges, stoves and much more. This year, Alberta Parks added comfort camping sites at Wyndham-Carseland, Miquelon Lake and Pigeon Lake provincial parks.

Parks with extended seasons

  • Beaver Creek Campground in Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park with access to power, hot showers and flush toilets will be open and reservable on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca
  • The campground at Saskatoon Island Provincial Park west of Grande Prairie with power hook ups and pit toilets will be available on an extended first come, first served basis through October 31.
  • The campground at Cold Lake Provincial Park, with power hook up and pit toilets, can also be reserved online atReserve.AlbertaParks.ca through October 31.

 

Late-season amenities ranging from power, hot showers and flush toilets to basic services such as power hook ups and pit toilets will vary by park so potential campers are encouraged to check the Alberta Parks website at AlbertaParks.ca to receive the services they are looking for.

In parks where power and water might be turned off for the winter, self-registered, extended camping season opportunities will continue to be available, including at popular campgrounds around Calgary, such as, Fisher Creek Provincial Recreation Area, Chain Lakes campground and Kinbrook Island.

Alberta Parks has a complete list of winter camping opportunities at AlbertaParks.ca

Earlier this year, government announced a $239 million investment in Alberta’s provincial parks system over the next five years. The money will be used to refurbish shelters, roads, visitor information centres and water systems that have fallen into poor condition due to decades of neglect. This investment will also support work below the ground, such as waterline replacements and cosmetic surface improvements such as painting and campsite refurbishment.

Regional projects include

Northeast

  • Lakeland Provincial Park – addition of comfort cabins
  • English Bay Provincial Recreation Area – campground redevelopment

 

Northwest

  • Young’s Point Provincial Park – playground and day use area upgrades
  • Lesser Slave Lake Provincial Park – parking lot converted to a camping area

 

Central

  • Blackfoot-Cooking Lake Provincial Recreation Area – trail system upgrade
  • Wabamun Lake Provincial Park – expansion of parking lots

 

Kananaskis

  • West Bragg Creek Provincial Recreation Area – trailhead expansion
  • Sibbald Lake Provincial Recreation Area – campground and day use area expansion and upgrades

 

South

  • Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park – boardwalk redevelopment
  • Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park – roadway upgrades and trail improvements

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