Rain/Fire Ban Dampen the Fun for Alberta's 'Long Weekend'

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May 24, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

It wasn't only the rain that kept Albertans at home over the May "long weekend;" the fire ban was a big contributing factor too, the Medicine Hat News reported.

"Well half the fun of camping is a camp fire," said Sandra Derring, at the gatehouse of Golden Sheaf Park.

They were not as busy as usual. "We had had lots of phone calls from people asking if we had a fire ban."

There was plenty of warning from Environment Canada that it was going to be a wet weekend and Derring says for people planning to camp in tents they would have had to depend on a fire to keep them warm.

In Cypress Hills they only had 40% occupancy for the first long-weekend of the summer season.

"People either stayed home or went somewhere warmer," said Peter Swain district manager at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park in a telephone conversation with the News on Monday. "Saskatchewan still had 350 sites available when I talked to them."

Swain did not think the liquor ban contributed to people staying home.

"This is the third year of the liquor ban and it stopped the rowdies but others came back and expressed appreciation about the change," said Swain. "This (the lower numbers) may just be the weather because the fire ban also meant it would be harder to keep warm."

Gas City Campground was 90% full. They had a few campers who left early because of the rain but they were local people, said Kelvin Anhorn, facilities foreman for Gas City Campground.

Environment Canada is not forecasting a break from the rain until the middle of the week and even then it will not last more than a day.

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