The first part of a four-year, $20 million plan to improve recreation opportunities in the Castle parks is already complete. According to a release, new amenities include improved and expanded campsites, an improved day-use area at Butcher’s Lake and new comfort cabins at Beaver Mines Lake.
Other projects currently underway include new day-use shelters and the creation of more than a dozen rustic camping sites capable of supporting RVs. The province is also conducting an assessment of all trails in the parks to develop a backcountry system for improved cross-country skiing, mountain biking, snowshoeing and horseback riding.
“The Castle is a special place that is already loved by campers and RV users. Our industry welcomes improvements to the Castle parks and looks forward to exciting new investments in coming years,” said Dan Merkowsky, executive vice president, Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) of Canada. “By building spaces today, more Albertans will get to experience the Castle, creating their own RV traditions and memories along the way.”
“The Castle is a unique Alberta region that deserves protection,” added Justin Howse, operations manager, Norseman Outdoor Specialist. “These improvements should increase the outdoor experiences enjoyed by many Albertans in the Castle Parks, with the potential to create sustainable economic, social and environmental benefits along the way.”
• Castle Provincial Park now has 184 available campsites at Castle River Bridge, Castle Falls, Lynx Creek and Beaver Mines provincial recreation areas. Improvements include new firepits, picnic tables, information kiosks and signage, as well as vaulted toilets and trail improvements throughout the park.
• An expansion to the Butcher’s Lake day-use area includes a new trailhead, washroom facility and additional parking.
• Four comfort cabin units will open at Beaver Mines Lake Campground this summer, expanding the diversity of opportunities offered in the Castle Provincial Park.
The establishment of the Castle Provincial Park and Castle Wildland Provincial Park protects 103,000-hectare of prime habitat on the eastern slopes.
Conservation is a major objective of the parks, which includes safely increasing the opportunities for outdoor recreation and tourism. The Castle parks already offers front-country and back-country camping, hiking, fishing, wildlife viewing, scrambling, climbing and mountain biking.
The government previously announced $6 million from Budget 2017 for paving an 11 kilometer gravel section of Highway 774 within the newly established park and another $9 million towards a water line serving Castle Provincial Park, Castle Mountain Resort and neighboring communities.