326 B High Street West Moose Jaw, SK

Moose Jaw Express May 16, 2018

Provincial Parks ready for Camping Enthusiasts

Some of my fondest summertime memories are of camping with my family. We learnt to appreciate the beauty of our Provincial Parks, and the enthusiasm of those who spend a good part of their summer in the great outdoors. Provincial Parks open for regular nightly camping on Thursday, May 17, ready for the May long weekend campers.

Saskatchewan’s provincial park system was created in 1931 with the establishment of six provincial parks. It has now grown to include 35 provincial parks and 127 recreation sites. Our provincial parks have a great diversity, with something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a place to gather and socialize, or for quiet natural beauty, there is a park to suit your liking.

Our provincial parks are just as attractive for day trips as for camping. Our closest park, Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, offers a balanced blend of nature and recreational opportunities. Because the area was once used by First Nations to corral bison, watching the captive herd of bison among the scenic rolling hills is a unique experience. The park offers excellent hiking and biking trails, fishing, swimming, bird-watching, canoeing and kayaking opportunities. At $65 for a vehicle transferable annual permit that allows entry into all of the Provincial Parks, or $10 for a daily permit, provincial parks are great value for your money. For seniors and new Canadian citizens, entry is free.

As part of the Government’s commitment to improve and upgrade our provincial parks, capital investment in Saskatchewan Parks will total $9.5 million in 2018-19. The Government of Saskatchewan has invested almost $99 million in capital expenditures in provincial parks since 2008-09; new campgrounds and recreational facilities have been developed, water and wastewater systems have been upgraded and expanded and almost 1,900 campsites have been electrified, a portion of which are full-service sites with water, sewer and electrical connections.

New programs and services continue to be added. The recently introduced “Learn to Fish” program has been popular. A beach wheelchair program launched in 2017 was so popular it was quickly expanded. These chairs with buoyant tires allow park visitors with mobility challenges to enjoy the beach. To reserve a beach wheelchair, free of charge, visitors simply need to call the park they intend to visit approximately one week in advance of their visit.

Boaters should be aware that Aquatic Invasive Species prevention programs will be in place throughout the province. Invasive mussels and other aquatic invasive species can be impossible to eliminate if they become established in a water body and can cost millions of dollars to manage. Prevention efforts have been successful to date, and no invasive mussels have been found within Saskatchewan. It is now mandatory for individuals transporting boats on all public roadways to remove drainage plugs prior to transport and to stop at inspection stations.

Congratulations to the Moose Jaw Health Foundation, CHAB, the volunteers and all those who contributed in any way to the Family First Radiothon. The $209,856 raised for equipment for the hospital far exceeded the goal of $125,000. Thank you to everyone for your efforts.

To the camping and outdoor enthusiasts, please stay safe, and have an enjoyable camping season.