Plenty of Airdronians will likely decide to visit Big Hill Springs Provincial Park this Victoria Day long weekend.

Provincial parks reopened earlier this month as Alberta began to ease restrictions put in place because of COVID-19.

Read more: Alberta Parks opening again as province celebrates Alberta Forest Week

While Alberta Parks are open for day use, visitors are advised to be prepared with hand sanitizer and toilet paper as not all outhouse facilities will be open. As always, visitors are reminded to clean up after themselves and take any garbage with them when they leave.

“We’re busy staffing up so we can clean washrooms and plan for garbage services. It will take time to get these services in place,” says Alberta Parks.

Camping on public land is permitted, however in provincial parks, campers must wait until June 1. Campgrounds will operate at 50 per cent capacity and only one unit will be permitted per site. Reservations for camping in Alberta Parks reopened on May 14.

“Albertans are anxious for adventure and a change of scenery, but we must all be mindful and respectful of the current pandemic health recommendations," says Minister of Environment and Parks Jason Nixon. "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.”

Alberta's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw is asking Albertans to continue to practice physical distancing and avoid gathering in groups this long weekend.

"When outdoors or in public, take all the necessary precautions to protect your health and the health of those around you," says Hinshaw. "Please enjoy the weekend and stay socially connected, but do so as safely and responsibly as possible.”

Enforcement staff will be patrolling throughout the long weekend and will issue fines as necessary.

"Wherever possible, our enforcement staff will use education and awareness to ensure compliance with land-use rules and regulations, and pandemic health guidelines, " says Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

As for national parks and historic sites, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced earlier this week that they will reopen on June 1, however camping won't be allowed until at least June 21.

Parks Canada says once parks across the country start opening on June 1, there will be limited access and services and physical distancing measures will need to be maintained.

Angela Anderson with Banff and Lake Louise Tourism says normally they are preparing to welcome thousands of visitors ahead of the May long weekend, but that's not the case this year.

"We know that people love Banff," says Anderson. "Given that we are located in the national park, we're hoping to work in a really coordinated fashion to be able to welcome people shortly thereafter (June 1)."


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