Wet Summer Stifles Alberta Campgrounds
The wet summer weather has meant less revenue from campgrounds across Alberta’s Wetaskiwin County.
In a report presented to Wetaskiwin county council at its Aug. 23 regular meeting, revenue from five of six parks are down compared to this time last year, the Wetaskiwin Times Advertiser reported.
As of Aug. 19, Buck Lake, Twin Lakes, Mound Red and Red Deer Lake Parks have seen a combined decrease of $11,784.33.
“It’s not bad considering the summer we had with all the rain,” said Reeve Gerry Dearing.
“I’ve spoken with a few golf courses in the region and they are down $400,000 to $500,000 because of the wet weather,” added Steve Majek, director of agricultural services, who presented the report to county council.
Battle Lake Park is the only campground that has seen an increase with $1,659.14 more in revenue compared to August 2010.
“It’s a different crowd compared to the other campsites,” said Majek. “Those are the trailers.
“It’s really not a fair comparison because the clientele isn’t the same. If it’s raining, at Battle Lake in your trailers, you have some place to go. If you’re in a tent at Twin Lakes or Mound Red you pack up Saturday because you got soaked Friday.”
Coal Lake South Park was not included in the comparison because it was not operated by the County of Wetaskiwin last year.
In 2010, the former provincial park was closed by the province due to a lack in revenue compared to other provincial campsites in the region.
This year, the county took over operations at Coal Lake South, reopening the park with a one-year lease from the province.
“It cost us $4,000 to get it ready to go and so far we’ve seen $10,000 in revenue,” explained Majek. “With the money from Coal Lake South we are right in line with last year.”
At the end of the season, Majek said he is expecting to see $15,000 in revenue from the park, down from what they had originally projected
One possible reason for the decrease in dollars could be the lack of advertising for the park, Majek said.
“When I was driving down Highway 13, I realized Alberta Transportation had taken down the highway signs for the park,” explained Majek. “I physically have the signs now but they can’t be put up until we have approval. It’s something that we’re working on.”
The park was also not apart of any advertising for the county campsites because of the late season opening.
“Our advertising went out in May and didn’t have the park included because it didn’t open until June,” Majek told county council.
Despite the lack of signage and advertising, the campgrounde has been relatively popular this summer.
“It’s had some pretty busy weekends,” Majek said. “We’ve had to haul two loads of firewood out there because it’s been going pretty fast.”
The county is hoping on extending their one-year lease on the park to 25 years.