CALGARY -- Ahead of the 2021 tourist season in Waterton Lakes National Park, the federal government has announced a combined $8.7 million in funding to improve two campgrounds within the park.

On Thursday, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson made the financial commitment to help rebuild the Crandell Mountain Campground devastated by the 2017 Kenow wildfire and renovate the townsite campground.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance and health benefits of spending time outdoors," said Wilkinson in a statement released Thursday. "With the Townsite Campground fully open, there are now more opportunities for Canadians to do so safely in Waterton Lakes National Park.

"Rebuilding Crandell Mountain Campground with green, accessible infrastructure means an investment in both the park’s visitor services and in protecting its ecological integrity. When we are on the other side of this pandemic, we look forward to welcoming back visitors from all over the world to experience the beauty of Waterton Lakes National Park."

The reconstruction of Crandell Mountain Campground will be conducted in phases and is scheduled to begin this spring. The first phase will include:

  • Salvaging rare plants;
  • Removing hazardous trees;
  • Installing underground utilities infrastructure;
  • Installing a water tank;
  • Constructing a water treatment building;
  • Reclaiming a wildlife corridor; and
  • Rough grading the Crandell Lake Trail parking lot and trailhead.

The Townsite Campground, which reopened to visitors last weekend, is slated to receive new trees, landscaping and washrooms, as well as road resurfacing and improvements to utility infrastructure.