Government is encouraging all Albertans to follow public health guidelines and take extra steps to keep themselves and members of their household safe as they head out to provincial parks, cottages and onto public land this weekend.
“Albertans are anxious for adventure and a change of scenery, but we must all be mindful and respectful of the current pandemic health recommendations. If we continue to be vigilant in the face of the pandemic, it will be easier for us to relaunch more of the services and experiences that Albertans enjoy.” Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks
COVID-19 has altered many routine experiences and opportunities, but that doesn’t mean Albertans can’t have a safe and enjoyable kick-start to the summer.
“Alberta's Relaunch Strategy recognizes the importance of the outdoors and recreation for Albertans’ sense of well-being. This long weekend, I am asking Albertans to continue to practise physical distancing and avoid gathering in groups. When outdoors or in public, take all the necessary precautions to protect your health and the health of those around you. Please enjoy the weekend and stay socially connected, but do so as safely and responsibly as possible.” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health
Alberta’s provincial parks are open, but visitors are reminded some facilities remain closed, campfires are not permitted and camping does not open until June 1. Camping on public land is permitted – as it has been all along – but campfires are not permitted.
To support the safety of Albertans and enforcement staff, including fish and wildlife officers, conservation officers, public lands officers, forest officers and commercial vehicle officers, sheriffs and RCMP will be out on the roads and landscape to promote and enforce good behaviour through education and awareness. If necessary, they will issue fines for violations.
“Our enforcement objective this weekend is to ensure Albertans are looking out for each other while having a safe and enjoyable time. Wherever possible, our enforcement staff will use education and awareness to ensure compliance with land use rules and regulations, and pandemic health guidelines.” Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
Before Albertans head out, here are a few things to know to help you enjoy a safe, relaxing and peaceful long weekend:
The majority of provincial parks’ facilities and amenities remain closed at this time, but we’re ramping up efforts to reopen them.
For everyone’s safety, please come prepared with your own water, snacks, toilet paper and hand sanitizer.
Leave no trace; pack out what you pack in. This will keep our parks clean and reduce potential human-wildlife encounters.
Alberta Parks’ online campsite reservation system is now open for bookings for June 1 onward.
A fire ban is in place for provincial parks and protected areas and on public land. This move will allow emergency resources to remain focused on COVID-19, not putting out human-caused wildfires and supporting community evacuations.
Drive to the road conditions. Check 511 Alberta for the latest highway conditions. Remember, May long weekend weather can include snow and rain.
The week of May 12-18 is Canada Road Safety Week. In Alberta, the RCMP, Sheriff Highway Patrol, Edmonton Police Service, Calgary Police Service and other law enforcement will be on the lookout for impaired drivers, distracted drivers and speeders. Exercise common sense on our roads and highways.
If visiting summer cottages, respect the health and safety of small communities by planning your trip without stops for gas or food, where possible.
Provincial Press Release May 15, 2020 @ 2:30 PM