RV Park and Campground Briefs

July 16, 2012 by · Comments Off on RV Park and Campground Briefs 


From the Associated Press:

An 11th lawsuit has been filed over the deaths of 20 people in the flooding of the Albert Pike Campground in southwestern Arkansas.

The Texarkana Gazette reports ( that the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Texarkana, Ark., alleges “malicious and willful” neglect on the part of the U.S. Forest Service in the death of 38-year-old Eric Wayne Sultz of Nash, Texas.

The government has asked that the lawsuits be dismissed — claiming it has sovereign immunity and that state law protects it against claims filed by survivors and families of flood victims.

The victims from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas drowned after heavy rain fell the night of June 10, 2010, and the Little Missouri River rose from three to more than 20 feet in a matter of hours.



Alberta’s provincial campgrounds are getting a $24 million facelift this season.

The Alberta government is spending the money this year to modernize several of its campgrounds, as the number of people using holiday trailers steadily outnumbers the tents, reported.

The province’s improvements include adding power and water hookups to its campgrounds, adding nicer washrooms and bigger sites for RVs, says Katrina Bluetchen of Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

“We’re interested in keeping pace with what campers are interested in. So, for us, that’s meant making some changes to our parks,” says Bluetchen.

Last long weekend, provincial reservations were up 25 percent from the year before.


From the East Oregonian:

Hermiston City Council may consider a tax on hotel, motel and RV park stays in order to fund a marketing campaign for the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center, the EOTEC Authority chairman announced Friday.

Chairman Ed Brookshier, also the Hermiston city manager, said he would wait on an OK from the EOTEC hotel and marketing subcommittee before bringing the tax proposal to the Hermiston City Council on July 23. If approved, the tax would take effect Aug. 1. Brookshier said he expects to hear from the subcommittee by July 20.


From the Las Vegas Sun:

The campgrounds, trails and picnic areas of Mount Charleston will begin receiving makeovers throughout the summer, which will leave many of them closed for construction, U.S. Forest Service officials said in a release.

Officials said plans include adding picnic spots, improving gathering spaces and building new pathways among other improvements for visitors to enjoy. Construction will take place at Cathedral Rock Picnic Area, Desert View Overlook, Kyle Canyon Campground and Lovell Canyon Road.

Officials said Cathedral Rock Picnic Area is currently closed and will reopen in early 2014. They plan to add 68 picnic spots, two group picnic spots, a new gathering space, water system and toilet facilities. They also said there would also be a larger parking area for easier access.

Kyle Canyon Campground will be the next to close on July 21 to renovate the picnic area and won’t reopen again until 2013, officials said. Officials said the entire northern end of Lovell Canyon Road after mile 6 will be closed for a month beginning after Labor Day.

Desert View Overlook along Deer Creek Highway will also receive more accessible parking and a 1,100-foot-long pathway taking visitors through the vistas along the valley.



One man was hospitalized after lightning struck a tree at the Knoll Lake Campground about 90 miles from Flagstaff, Coconino County officials said.

Thunderstorms rolled through the area Friday afternoon (July 13) and a significant amount of lightning was reported around the campground, said Brady Smith, public information officer for the Coconino National Forest.

The man was reportedly alert and conscious when medical personnel arrived, officials said. He was injured after lightning struck a tree in the area, but his injuries were not specified.

The injured man was taken to a hospital by Guardian Medical Transport, officials said.


Campgrounds in the Tonto National Forest and Kaibab National Forest reopened on July 14 after officials decided to lift fire restrictions.

The Houston Mesa and Horse Camp campgrounds at the Tonto National Forest reopened at 6 a.m. on Saturday, forest officials said. The area was closed after a series of fires broke out in the area on June 21.

All other parts of the Tonto National Forest’s temporary fire closure still remain in effect.





Oh, Canada! Southern Alberta Parks Packed for ‘Long Weekend’

June 28, 2012 by · Comments Off on Oh, Canada! Southern Alberta Parks Packed for ‘Long Weekend’ 

Campgrounds in southern Alberta are booked solid for the upcoming long weekend, according to Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

Enthusiasm for the July long weekend has hardly been dampened by the recent downpours that drenched southern parts of the province, the Calgary Herald reported.

As the rain-battered ground starts to dry, campground owners are now bracing for the onslaught of campers heading out for the Canada Day long weekend.

“It’s pretty soggy,” said Pauline Krause, park manager of the Lions Sheep River Campgrounds in Okotoks.

“But it isn’t deterring our campers. They’re all aware of it and they’re still coming.”

The Okotoks campground was evacuated as heavy rain touched down Tuesday (June 26). About 18 groups were displaced, but later moved back.

In High River, a large berm shielded George Lane Campground from high-rising water. The area is still muddy, but manager Darlene Wilms said two dozen campers remain on a wait list.

“We’ve been booked forever,” Wilms said.

Both Okotoks and High River residents were on high alert after being placed on a flood watch Tuesday. However, advisories were lifted less than 24 hours later.

Susan Johnson with Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation said provincial parks avoided extensive flooding and closures during the warning period.

Prospective campers are now out of time to reserve a site with clear, sunny skies being forecasted ahead.

Johnson said most campgrounds were “largely booked up about a week ago” and suggested Albertans check out first-come, first-served sites at 170 provincial campgrounds.

About 360 first-come, first-served sites are also offered at national parks in southern Alberta.

“The chances of getting one are pretty good,” Johnson said. Real-time availability updates can be found at



Alberta Won’t Close Campground Until August

May 18, 2012 by · Comments Off on Alberta Won’t Close Campground Until August 

Campers will be able to pitch their tents and park their RVs at Pigeon Lake in Alberta this summer after all.

The province originally planned to close 248 sites at the popular campground for renovations, but business owners in the area complained, saying the closure would have negative affects on their livelihoods, the Calgary Herald reported.

All 401 sites at the provincially run Pigeon Lake and Zeiner campgrounds are now open and will stay open until Aug. 7, the province announced Thursday (May 17).

The decision was reached after a Wednesday evening meeting between representatives from Tourism, Parks and Recreation and the Pigeon Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“I felt that this was a legitimate concern,” said Christine Cusanelli, minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation. “Pigeon Lake is an area that is important for recreation for Albertans.”

Chamber of Commerce members are pleased the government listened to their concerns, said president Rick Southern.

“It would have been disastrous,” he said. “Even the year-round businesses depend on the influx of tourists. People come and buy ice cream cones and shop at our grocery stores.”

Smaller projects that won’t impact campers, such as landscaping, will go ahead over the next few months. Larger construction projects, such as new shower buildings, will begin in August once the campgrounds are closed, said Camille Weleschuk, spokeswoman for Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

“We wanted to find a construction schedule that fits both the businesses and costs,” Cusanelli said.

Cusanelli could not comment on any possible extra costs associated with the new schedule, but said starting construction in August should allow for similar rates.

The $7 million redevelopment of the campgrounds, located about 60 miles southwest of Edmonton, will also include adding a new boat launch, enlarging some campsites and bringing power to others. More than 100 sites at the Zeiner campground have already been renovated.

Though the campgrounds usually close after the September long weekend, business owners aren’t upset about losing August traffic.

“We had to give and take a little bit, both sides,” Southern said, adding that tourism generally drops off in August.

Improvements to the sites should also bring more campers to the area in the future.

“We’re in support of all the upgrades,” said Shirley Hauptman, marketing co-ordinator of the Village at Pigeon Lake, a shopping complex and resort in the area. “If they need their four months and they can do it at the end of the summer, that’s perfect.”



Alberta Parks Brace for Victoria Day Long Weekend

May 14, 2012 by · Comments Off on Alberta Parks Brace for Victoria Day Long Weekend 

Jesse Merriam and Ryan Ahlstrom had their long weekend all planned out.

Returning to a favorite spot, the Calgary, Alberta, roommates eyed a treed lot, away from the family crowds and with space for their party of 12.

“Our shenanigans can be loud and disruptive,” Merriam, 24, told the Calgary Herald.

They ended up paying for an extra space, away from their desired spot.

“We didn’t get the sites that we wanted,” Merriam said. “A lot of the good sites were filling up quickly.”

That was in March.

Time’s now nearly up to book a spot for the camping season’s first long weekend, May 18-21.

More than 30,000 reservations have been made at provincial campgrounds since February — up about a quarter during the same period last year.

About 1,400 bookings were made on opening day and things have stayed busy.

“People are calling now and it’s too late,” said Carol Herman, director of Riverbend Campground near Okotoks.

After a winter spent hibernating indoors, Herman said city slickers are always raring to break out their camping gear.

This year’s balmy winter has only fueled interest in the Victoria Day long weekend.

“I think it has to do with the weather,” Herman said. “Everybody is out in the garden already.”

“It’s been a very, very good start to the season for us,” said Erin Larson, spokeswoman for Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation

Larson believes the province’s online reservation system has boosted the number of pre-bookings in recent years.

Eight more campsites were added to the site in 2012 for a total of 59.

Another 78 group sites were included for the first time.

“That’s expanded the options for people for sure,” she said.

There are nearly 500 parks within the provincial parks system.

There’s still hope for those who haven’t booked. First-come, first-served sites are offered at 170 provincial campgrounds.

About 360 first-come, first-served sites are also offered at national parks in southern Alberta.

Three campgrounds are open in Banff on the May long weekend. However, Tunnel Mountain Village 1 is the only one still accepting reservations as of Sunday.

Park officials also say a dose of nasty weather may chase away fair-weather campers.

“Depending on the weather, we could do a lot better or a lot worse,” said Mark Merchant, spokesman for Parks Canada.

“We always have cancellations,” said Cassandra Hayward, general manager of Spring Creek Mountain Village, near Canmore.

Hayward suggests last-minute campers sign on to wait-lists immediately.

Camping fees are returned for cancellations if given 24-hours’ notice. However, there is a non-refundable, $12 fee.

Some say they’ll stick it out rain or shine — on one condition.

“It depends on how full the cooler is, of course” Merriam said.

Those planning a boozy excursion with Mother Nature will have to check out liquor bans scheduled for the long weekend.

Alcohol is banned in at least nine Alberta campgrounds including Cypress Hills, Jarvis Bay and Pigeon Lake.

The ban starts at noon on Thursday and goes until 6 p.m. next Monday.

Fire bans are also planned for Dilberry Provincial Park and Buffalo Lake Provincial Recreation Area.

RCMP say they’re expecting to be busy keeping notoriously wild spots under control.

Last year, traffic units laid 3,263 charges across the province from May 20 to 23.

Charges included speeding, impaired driving and non-hazardous violations such driving with a suspended license.

Staff Sgt. Patricia Neely said this year’s May long weekend crackdown is timely, given the “recent spate of fatal collisions.”

“There will definitely be a noticeable police presence throughout southern Alberta,” Neely said.


Temporary Campsite Closures Irk Area Businesses

May 4, 2012 by · Comments Off on Temporary Campsite Closures Irk Area Businesses 

Construction will close most of popular campground.

Upgrades that will shut down most of an Alberta campground this summer have area businesses arguing the province shouldn’t do the work during peak season.

Just 38 of the 284 campsites at the campground in Pigeon Lake Provincial Park will remain open this summer while renovations are going on, Blair Northfield, owner of the Blackstone Mini Golf and Family Park and former member of the Pigeon Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce, told the Edmonton Journal.

“It’s 86 per cent of their park that they’re closing for the whole summer, and when you project the loss in terms of revenue dollars, you’ve got the potential of $3-million-plus of lost revenue to the local economy because of closing those particular sites,” Northfield said Thursday (May 3).

“That is a very, very large piece of local revenue for businesses around the lake.”

The major redevelopment at Pigeon Lake Provincial Park started a few years ago and will cost the province between $6 million and $7 million in total, said Camille Weleschuk, spokeswoman for Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation.

The park is about 60 miles southwest of Edmonton and includes two campgrounds — Zeiner campground, which has about 115 sites that have already been fixed and will remain open, and Pigeon Lake campground, which will close most of its sites.

The overhaul expected to be finished within the next year will modernize Pigeon Lake campground by enlarging campsites, adding power, installing an extra boat launch and building new showers and washrooms, Weleschuk said.

The popular boat launch will remain open, she said. Much of the work must be done when the ground is thawed and dry enough for equipment to drive on the site, Weleschuk said.

“We can certainly appreciate the impact this may have on local businesses,” she said. “Unfortunately, camping and construction seasons are one and the same. We were able to do some of the work off season, but we don’t have as much of a construction season here in Alberta and we did need to do some of the work in the summer, too.”

There are other campgrounds around Pigeon Lake as well, she said.

The provincial park upgrades will benefit Pigeon Lake businesses in the long run, Weleschuk said. “We’re confident that these new and improved facilities will really pay off for the community in the future. They’re going to better serve the campers who are there and draw in people as well.”

Businesses agree upgrades are needed but don’t believe the work must be done during the busy summer months, said Shirley Hauptman, marketing co-ordinator for the Village at Pigeon Lake, a shopping village and resort that includes a hotel, spa and large market.

“We’ve done a lot of construction here as well and we find the best time to do these things is in the off season, September, October, that kind of thing, and that’s our concern,” she said. “Why would they close it down for the whole tourist season rather than do it in the off season?”

Hauptman sent numerous letters to provincial MLAs urging the province to do the work during spring and fall, even though upgrades might take longer.


Tribe Challenges Alberta Over Campground

May 9, 2011 by · Comments Off on Tribe Challenges Alberta Over Campground 

A scenic campground has become the scene of a simmering dispute between the Alberta government and a northern aboriginal band, whose leader says the camp is on their traditional land.

Members of the Cold Lake First Nation set up their own camp at the provincial campsite near English Bay on Friday (May 6), refusing a government directive to vacate the spot by 5 p.m., the Edmonton Journal reported

“We’re not going to relinquish our access or our rights to this land,” said Chief Cecil Janvier, an hour after the province’s deadline had passed. “We’re going to voice our opposition to their proposed development . . . and if I have to park my truck in the middle of the road or whatever, I will do it.”

Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation spokesperson Camille Weleschuk said members of the First Nation had been asked to leave the site Friday and if they refused, the government would “discuss the next course of action.”

The English Bay Provincial Recreation Area is about 24 miles north of the Alberta city of Cold Lake along the border with Saskatchewan.

The campground has been there since the 1950s, but the government began working in 2006 to expand and significantly redevelop the modest site, planning to add campsites that would accommodate large RV units and power hookups, as well as a boat launch, playground, registration booth and new washrooms.

A government fact sheet says the planned redevelopment of the site is intended to meet demand for additional camping spots in the area.

The redevelopment was paused shortly after it began in 2006, after a number of historical artifacts were found in the area, some dating back more than 4,000 years.

The find led to a broader archeological study of the area and the campground redevelopment remained on hold until earlier this year, when Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation got approval to continue with the project.

But as the government prepares to start working on the site, it has become clear that Janvier’s people have other ideas.

He said he is staunchly opposed to any redevelopment of the site and has the strong support of the rest of the community. He said there were about a dozen people staying at the site on Friday night, and that the group will stay there as long as necessary.

He said the First Nation has also filed a lawsuit against the province.

Weleschuk said Alberta has worked in consultation with the First Nation for the past few years on the campsite redevelopment plan and is not clear about their concerns.

Janvier, who has been chief for about eight months, said he doesn’t believe the previous consultations were adequate, and the discussions between the two sides are far from over.

“Take your park somewhere else, that’s my stance,” he said.