The May long weekend is normally the start to the camping season, however recent restrictions has put it on hold.
With the COVID-19 pandemic keeping the province on lock-down, camping reservations at provincial and federal campsites have been put on hold.
Alberta Parks has suspended and refunded all camping deposits and bookings up to May 19.
“The decision is in line with other jurisdictions, such as Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Parks Canada, which have also suspended or delayed camping reservations,” a press release from the province reads.
Any camping registrations made up to May 19 have been cancelled and all fees associated will be refunded, the Province said.
It may take up to two weeks for refunds to be made, and they may be done in multiple transactions.
“Alberta Parks will begin notifying customers with existing reservations up to May 19 through a system-generated email.”
The Province may make additional cancellations to bookings after May 19 as the government continues to asses the current situation and advice from the chief medical officer of health.
“Random camping” on public land is currently allowed, however it is possible that further restrictions may come down from the province. Those camping on public lands should be aware a fire ban and off-highway vehicle ban are currently in place for the Forest Protection Area.
At this time, private campgrounds are permitted to be open during the outbreak as long as appropriate steps are taken to protect staff and patrons.
While they are not required to close at this time, it is recommended that private campgrounds follow what is being done at Alberta Parks and National Parks.
The Province says they expect private campgrounds to impose stricter rules should they chose to open. Those rules can include: closing shared washrooms, stopping group camping and posting signs in the campground area to encourage social distancing.
Despite no order to close, Alberta Health Services recommends only campgrounds that offer long-term residency or offer the sites as a primary accommodation for users to remain open.
Though private campgrounds are allowed to open, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’ chief medical officer of health, says to avoid all non-essential travel at this time.