Saskatchewan Public Parks in Full Swing
Camping season in Saskatchewan got off to a slow start this year – due to spring flooding and wet weather – but warmer and drier temperatures have turned things around, the Regina Leader-Post reported .
"It's starting to look up with places drying out," said Mary-Anne Wihak, manager of visitor experience with the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport. "Most of our facilities are up and operating now, there are still a few being impacted by the fallout from the flooding. But in most areas we are up and running."
In the Qu'Appelle Valley the Echo Beach boat launch is up and running but the Pasqua Lake side boat launch is not.
"We're still not sure when we're going to get (the Pasqua Lake boat launch) operational because the water level is too high to even properly assess what the conditions are," said Wihak. "We hope that as the water levels recede we will be able to get it operational as well. Both of the beach areas on the Echo-Lake and PasquaLake side are closed. They are both being impacted by the high water levels."
Further down the river at Katepwa things are better.
"Katepwa Point Provincial Park is fully operational (but) there is still part of the beach that's being affected," said Wihak.
She said boat launch and beach areas at Crooked Lake Provincial Park are not operational but the majority of the camp area is open.
"We have people camping and enjoying the park but just not able to get to the beach and boat launch area, but that's going to take awhile," explained Wihak.
Another park that's still dealing with the effects of this spring's floods is the Fort Carlton Provincial Park. The roads into the historical area were washed away and are still in need of repairs.
"We've got an assessment going on right now to see exactly what kind of repairs need to be done and then to get that scheduled and repaired," said Wihak. "We're still not sure how long that will take."
Although some parks are still dealing with the affects of highwater levels, Wihak said the number of people using the parks is high.
During the Canada Day long weekend Saskatchewan parks had an 82% occupancy rate compared to 78% last year.
"Camping is just at an all-time high over the past five years," said Wihak. "We've just seen the demand spike very rapidly and very sharply. It's really quite a challenge to meet all the demands."
She said camping has become a trend among people and that's true in Saskatchewan as well.
"During these six to eight weeks of summer it's busy," said Wihak.
She suggests people call the park they want to visit to make sure there is an available camping site before making the trip.