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Okotoks campgrounds gearing up for busy season

As sports tournaments and community events reemerge, campgrounds in Okotoks are preparing for an influx of patrons.
Alberta provincial parks are opening up to summer reservations Feb. 20, while local Okotoks Lions Campground is accepting requests by email.
Okotoks' Lions Campground is preparing for large amounts of campers as typical summer events return.

Reservations for spots at Okotoks' campgrounds are flying off the shelves.

Riverbend Campground is booked well into the summer, said Kim Eliuk.

"Pretty much all of our weekends are taken, we're pretty much booked into August," she said. "It's a busy year."

The pandemic didn't necessarily slow down business for the campground, Eliuk said, but there is definitely an increase in interested campers this season.

"People could stay on their site and do their thing and get away from their house," she said of COVID-era camping. "Now, what I'm finding is people have trailers and nowhere to go, with the price of gas they don't want to go very far."

While visitors are coming from places such as Edmonton and Lethbridge, Eliuk said that a large majority of reservations are made by Okotokians looking for a staycation.

Eliuk said location is a considerable factor for interested campers, as are the playgrounds, bike and golf cart rentals, mini golf and proximity to nature trails.

"We have lots to offer," she said.

The Lions Park Campground is in a similar boat, said manager Pauline Krause.

"For the next three weekends, we have very minimal availability," she said, adding that sporting events over the next few weeks are driving a lot of traffic to town.

They are also fully booked for the May long weekend and well into June.

Patrons are permitted to book two stays in advance and then wait until the conclusion of those reservations to book again. Krause said this is their way of ensuring bookings aren't gridlocked throughout the season.

"We're not letting them book two or three or four in a row because then that [doesn't] make it fair to all the people looking," she explained. 

Ahead of the influx, Krause said Lions is stocking up on firewood and re-circulating information on camper etiquette.

She emphasized the amount of traffic expected in the area may cause stress for visitors and employees, but asks that everyone exercise patience.

"It's going to create congestion, it's going to create havoc," she said. "We're prepared for it, we've just got to have patience.

"We're all thankful we can get out this year. Let's start with having a bit of respect and kindness."


Lauryn Heintz

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