The sun is shining and the parks are open as camping season has kicked off.
Thursday, a number of Saskatchewan’s provincial parks officially opened and the Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport are expecting a busy season heading into the long weekend.
“We see nothing but positives,” Minster Ken Cheveldayoff said. “It looks like mother nature is going to cooperate once again this weekend."
Early in April, the ministry launched its campsite reservation system. In an earlier interview, Cheveldayoff said over 26,000 reservations were made within the first two weeks. There is still space available at a number of parks across the province and in the Prince Albert region.
Cheveldayoff encouraged campers to visit the Sask. Parks website prior to heading out or to book reservations in advance.
Campsites in certain parks like Blackstrap, Buffalo Pound, Cypress Hills, Duck Mountain, Moose Mountain and Rowan’s Ravine are available now for reservations to the end of September.
In 2016, the province had a record number of visitators - four million - to its provincial parks and is hoping to repeat this success in 2017.
“We find that more and more people are wanting to stay a little bit closer to home and take advantage of the parks and the very economical enjoyment they offer,” Cheveldayoff said.
Though the province does advertise to those in neighbouring Alberta and Manitoba, he encouraged residents to take advantage of the provincial parks and what he called the “jewels of the province.”
As in years past, the alcohol ban will once again be in place for Victoria Day long weekend, effective from May 18 to 22.
“The alcohol ban has been in place for 10 years now and it is there to provide some assurance for people that they can expect a respectful stay,” the minister said. “I think all visitors understand the need for this ban.”
The minister also encouraged campers to exercise caution and be on alert as it is early in the season and wildlife could still be active.
In line with Canada 150, the provincial parks will be offering two free entry days this summer on July 1 and 15. In addition, the minister urged people to experience the Learn to Camp, Learn to Fish programs and will offer a special 150-themed geocaching program.
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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