Waterton Lakes National Park set to welcome back tourists
Waterton and other national parks reopen June 1, although camping won't be allowed until June 21
LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- Starting June 1, visitors can return to Alberta's national parks, a prospect that has Waterton Park area residents excited with anticipation.
“It’s great,"said Waterton resident Dave Kerr. "It’s a beautiful park. We want visitors to come and enjoy it," he said, adding that “I think with the measures in place and the wind in Waterton, we should be safe enough.”
Visitors will be able to access the following services and activities after June 1.
· Some day use areas, including Cameron Bay, Waterton lakeshore, Emerald Bay, Linnet Lake, Driftwood Beach, Pass Creek, Hay Barn and Maskinonge. Picnic tables are available. Washroom facilities and shelters are available at some, but not all, sites
· Red Rock Parkway is open for hiking and cycling. Many trails are open as well. Visitors are responsible for maintaining physical distance on trails
· Upper, middle and lower Waterton Lakes are accessible for non-motorized craft water recreation
· Public washrooms in the Waterton village are available at the Fire Hall and Cameron Falls.
Camping will still not be allowed in national parks until at least June 21.
“It’s a community effort. Parks Canada business are all working together to ensure that when visitors do return they can return in a safe manner,” said Christy Gustavison, the External Relations Manger for Waterton Lakes Field Unit Parks Canada.
Parks Canada will be monitoring traffic making sure the park isn’t overcrowded.
“Staying at least two meters away from people not in your household. Practice safe hand hygiene. Come prepared with hand sanitizer, wipes, table clothes in their planning a picnic in,” said Gustavison.
The park normally springs back to life every year around Mother’s Day. Missing out on a few weeks of business is rough, but the park has seen tougher times, such as the massive wildfire that swept through it in 2017.
“There’s been a few tough years in the park and a lack of visitors as a result of that (wildfire)," said Kerr. "So any summer that we can have that helps the local merchants is important.”
Some have felt those slow summers and making them eager for this one to get going.
“We’re excited for everything to get back to normal. I think people need that right now” said Amy Vaka, who manages Pizza of Waterton . “We have lots of Australians come and lots from Ontario. But not this year - we will have mainly locals working.”
For help planning your trip to Waterton Lakes National Park visit https://mywaterton.ca/