Gateway Gazette

Camping in Alberta Parks

Environment and Parks has undertaken a number of measures as part of Alberta’s COVID-19 relaunch with boat launches opening May 14 and campgrounds re-opening June 1. We are now moving to 100 per cent campground occupancy with the exception of opening group camping and comfort camping.

Staff safety, protective measures and physical distancing are among the many issues that site managers and operators are addressing in order to get up to full capacity.

We encourage anyone visiting our provincial parks, protected areas and public land for recreation purposes to make sure you’re always following public health guidelines. We thank all Albertans for their cooperation and understanding during this process.

Camping

More Albertans will be able to access and enjoy our provincial parks this summer as we expand campground capacity under phase two of our relaunch strategy. Due to current travel recommendations, campsites are only open to Alberta residents.

All individual campsites – both reserve and first-come, first-served – as well as backcountry camping will be at 100 per cent capacity by July 1.

Updating the reservation system will take a little time so please be patient. Campers should check Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca for sites added to the system over the next few days and weeks. Unfortunately, due to resource capacity and system limitations, we cannot move people back to previously booked sites or re-instate cancelled reservations. 

The already closed portion of double sites with shared amenities will not open. Some “double campsites” on reserve.albertaparks.ca do not have shared amenities and will open. These “double campsites” have their own picnic table, fire pit and physical distance guidelines can be maintained. If you are not comfortable keeping your reservation, you can call our contact center to receive a full refund of all fees. 

In addition:

We will operate the 17 parks’ sites previously identified for closure this season because we want to give Albertans more opportunities to camp and connect with nature over the summer as we all recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a temporary measure for this camping season. The 17 sites are:

Overnight camping:

Stoney Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served

Sulphur Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served

Twin Lakes Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served

Notikewin Provincial Park – campground – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served

Running Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 as first-come, first-served

Sheep Creek Provincial Recreation Area – Open on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca for June 15 arrivals

Smoky River South Provincial Recreation Area – campground – Open June 15 as first-come, first-served

Crow Lake Provincial Park – Open on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca for June 19 arrivals

Kehiwin Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Open on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca for June 19 arrivals

Chain Lakes Provincial Recreation Area – campground – Open June 19 as first-come, first-served

Lawrence Lake Provincial Recreation Area – campground – Open June 19 as first-come, first-served

Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park – Tolman Bridge Campgrounds (East and West) – Open June 29 as first-come, first-served

Bleriot Ferry Provincial Recreation Area – Open June 29 as first-come, first-served

Gooseberry Lake Provincial Park – campground – June 29 (To be confirmed)

Little Fish Lake Provincial Park – June 29 (To be confirmed) as first-come, first-served

Day-Use:

Engstrom Lake Provincial Recreation Area – Opened June 1 for day use

Greene Valley Provincial Park – Opened June 1 for day use

Temporary access restrictions to some facilities such as showers remain in place. Playgrounds are open where operationally feasible.

Tenters will be permitted in Alberta Parks.

To continue to reduce cash handling, campgrounds on Reserve.AlbertaParks.ca will continue to be 100% reservable. Many campgrounds are also 100% first-come, first-served and do not require a reservation. Outhouses, dump stations and fish cleaning stands will be available.

Visiting during COVID

We know our Alberta Parks play an important role in both the physical and mental well-being of Albertans. We need your help to reduce the spread of COVID-19 so our parks can stay open, safe and accessible. We are asking Albertans to:

  • Continue to practice physical distancing.
  • Don’t visit if you’re sick or were recently exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Bring a cloth mask and wear it when you’re near other people.
  • Visit early in the day so you can head somewhere else if a parking lot is full and do not park on the shoulder of roads. If parking lots are full, please consider visiting at a different time.
  • Please bring your own hand sanitizer.
  • Leave no trace; pack out what you pack in. This will keep our parks clean and reduce the potential for human-wildlife encounters.
  • Follow the advice of public health experts to protect yourself and others during this pandemic.
  • Be extra cautious and stay within your limits, knowledge, skill and physical ability. Now is not the time to try new activities or head into unfamiliar areas. Continue to avoid high-risk backcountry activities, regardless of your experience level.

Campfires

Campfires are currently permitted for visitors to Alberta Parks and users of public land, but we’re asking Albertans to continue to exercise safety to ensure we’re not exhausting wildfire resources on human-caused wildfires.

Do not leave your campfire unattended and fully extinguish your fire when you leave. The most efficient practice to extinguish a campfire is to soak it, stir it and soak it again.

Campfires in provincial parks and provincial recreation areas are restricted to designated fire rings. We recommend that backcountry travelers use camp stoves.

We also encourage public land users to practice responsible campfire use.

Know Before You Go!

Know before you go to Alberta Parks or head out for recreation on public land. Plan ahead to ensure you have enough food, water, toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Check this website for the latest status on facility services within Alberta Parks.

Please wash or sanitize your hands before and after using high-touch shared amenities like washrooms, bear bins, self check-in stations, boat launches, docks, water fill stations and dumping stations.

Fishing

If you are an Alberta resident between the ages of 16 and 65, you must obtain an Alberta angling licence to fish. Non-residents must obtain an Alberta angling licence regardless of age. The Alberta Guide to Sportfishing Regulations has detailed information on season and catch limits. More information is available at fishing in Alberta’s Parks. Make sure you purchase your licence online.

Contact Alberta Parks with any questions or comments related to Alberta Parks response to COVID-19.  Questions specific to recreation on public land can be directed to Public Lands.

For up-to-date and accurate information on the Government of Alberta’s response to COVID-19 please visit COVID-19 coronavirus info for Albertans.

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