Saskatchewan provincial parks are officially open for summer, and there are a few things to take note of before hitting the road.
The big kickoff to the season takes place this May long weekend and according to park officials, a number of changes have transpired over the fall and winter.
“We have a new campground at Blackstrap Provincial Park, right close to the Saskatoon area, so some beautiful hilltop sites there that people will be anxious to get into,” said Mary-Anne Wihak with Saskatchewan Parks.
In the Bronson Park area, there are new electric sites and in Buffalo Pound a campground expansion is set to open.
The now-annual tradition of an alcohol ban for May long in the parks continues. There is also a campfire ban in three parks in the northwest area: Lac La Ronge, Makwa Lake and Meadow Lake.
“Open fires are not allowed at all, but we encourage people to bring along self-contained gas heating devices such as fire pits, barbecues, pressurized stoves and charcoal briquettes,” Wihak said.
There are 35 provincial parks in Saskatchewan; however, not all of them have campgrounds.
Site booking were spread over 10 days this year, and Wihak said the process went smoothly. For those who didn’t get their bookings in yet, there’s still time.
“We only book in around the 40 per cent mark during that initial launch period, and then there’s also cancellations that follow the launch, so people are making reservations right up until the time they stay,” she said.
Last year, there were a record 3.9 million visits to provincial parks in Saskatchewan.
“People are thinking of provincial parks as a preferred destination in terms of not only their camping trips, but our day use is also growing,” Wihak said.
Watch out on the roads
As many people hit the highways to enjoy the start of summer travel this May long, expect to see plenty of police.
Authorities said highways usually see more traffic and with that, more serious crashes.
City police are teaming up with RCMP this weekend for enhanced enforcement on the road, targeting drivers who are speeding, acting aggressive, distracted and impaired.
A series of sobriety checkpoints will be set up across Saskatchewan.