Alberta campsites mark a busy long weekend on Victoria Day

‘I think everyone just came to relax and enjoy’

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Slightly cooler temperatures and a lack of sun in the forecasts didn’t stop Albertans from kicking off the expected busy summer camping season over the long Victoria Day weekend.

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Campsites across the county were full or nearly full all weekend, whether it was Sundre, Drumheller, the Bow Valley, or other popular getaways.

Jack Goodall, the site manager of Greenwood Campground on the banks of the Red Deer River in Sundre, said that while his facility was busy, the city center seemed “a little quiet” for a long weekend. Westward Ho Campground, just outside Sundre, was packed, with dozens of campers participating in a baseball tournament in the area.

“We were almost full and we had great groups, really good,” he said. “I think everyone came to relax and enjoy.”

Spring Creek RV Campground in Canmore said it was “flooded with phone calls” in the run-up to the long weekend, and the town was nearly at a standstill with traffic heading east on Friday and Saturday.

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Campers also flocked to campgrounds closer to city centers, seeking to shorten the distance traveled in gas-guzzling RVs as pump prices remain historically high.

At Calgary West Campground, site manager Mei Lam said she had a few cancellations from out of town due to gas prices. Those who made the trip were largely Edmonton and Red Deer hockey fans who had secured tickets to Friday’s Game 2 matchup between the Flames and Oilers.

The site had a good weekend, but was not quite back to pre-pandemic norms, which Lam attributes to a continued lack of international guests.

“The long weekend should be a lot of foreign customers from Europe and Germany, but we don’t see that many yet,” Lam said, adding that she expects the site to get busier as summer approaches and local families start looking for them. easy outings.

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This was also the first long weekend in May since 2019 of unimpeded travel for Albertans across the provincial border to BC. In 2020 and 2021, governments hindered unnecessary travel due to COVID-19 and other health conditions on campers’ willingness to travel too far.

Radium Hot Springs Mayor Clara Reinhardt said the community was excited to welcome Alberta tourists back after a few years of uncertainty.

“It was a busy weekend,” she says.

“I spoke to a few companies and the room, and the message I got back was that people were happy. People were having fun, people were outside. † † there was no fear, no fear. They were just happy.”

But the community is still reeling from pandemic losses – some businesses have been unable to fully reopen due to staffing issues. Reinhardt said anyone looking to spend their summer in the mountains can choose from the many jobs available for sale in the village.

“It’s quite critical,” she said.

“College students or high school students or anyone who wants to work in the summer, come down. They can choose a job.”

Construction on the Trans-Canada Highway near Golden has been paused this weekend and has opened fully to allow for an influx of travelers through the area. Beginning Tuesday, intermittent lane closures and congestion will return for the summer, and an extensive highway closure is rescheduled for the fall, forcing travelers to detour through Radium.

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Twitter: @michaelrdrguez

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