Hundreds of campers and outdoor enthusiasts are heading out to the mountain parks and other recreation areas for the Victoria Day long weekend and enforcement officers will be out in full force to ensure everyone is following the rules.

The province says more than 300 Fish and wildlife officers, conservation officers, park rangers and RCMP will be on patrol in parks and public lands over the weekend.

“As Albertans, we are truly fortunate to have so many outdoor recreation opportunities. It is our mission to conserve and protect our public land so that it is always there for people to enjoy,” said Shannon Phillips, Minister of Environment and Parks, in a release earlier this week.

On May 31, new enforcement regulations will go into effect and some fines will increase:

  • Entering a restricted/prohibited area in a Public Land Use Zone = $402 fine
  • Failing to report to a mandatory watercraft inspection station = $310 fine
  • Random camping on public land for more than 14 consecutive days will increase from $172 to $287

Officers can write tickets on the spot and 38 new penalties have been added this year for offences on public lands and waterways.

The infractions include:

  • Driving a car, truck, OHV, etc., through a naturally occurring water body
  • Dumping large amounts of garbage
  • Cutting down trees and creating new trails instead of using existing ones
  • Building unauthorized structures on public land
  • Random camping in the same location for more than 14 days
  • Entering closed areas

Last year, 6595 tickets and warnings were issued for a variety of offences on public lands.

A mobile app has also been released to keep campers informed about fire bans.

The app provides information on bans, restrictions and advisories and is available for both Android and Apple devices. 

According to the province, 88 fire bans and advisories are in place around the province as of May 15th.

Fire officials are advising people to use caution if they are out on the Bow River this weekend and say flow rates are higher than average for this time of year.

A boating advisory has not been issued but boaters and rafters should be prepared for changing conditions and keep an eye out for debris in the water.

Parks Canada says that the Kenow Wildfire last year has affected a number of areas in Waterton Lakes National Park and they are still closed. Details can be found HERE.

For more information on rules and regulations in Alberta parks, click HERE.

For information about Alberta parks and campgrounds, click HERE.