Jubilee Park Campground at Wizard Lake near Leduc, Alberta, will now be added to several campgrounds across Alberta that will issue an alcohol ban this May long weekend.
The decision to slap an alcohol ban on campers at Jubilee Park this May long was reached after a 6-1 vote in favor of the ban during Leduc County Council meeting on April 3, the Leduc Rep reported.
So far, feedback has been positive as campers have started booking for the long weekend at Jubilee.
“We’ve had a lot of positive comments so far,” said Dean Ohnysty, director of parks and recreation with the county.
The ban will be a test pilot for the campground and once the weekend concludes, county administration was asked by council to compile feedback on how the alcohol ban was received to see if future bans will be issued on the May long weekend.
“We’ll do an evaluation after that weekend and see how effective it was,” added Ohnysty.
The Wizard Lake campground is the only Leduc County campground with a liquor ban. The other county-run campground — Centennial Park campground at Joseph Lake — won’t have a liquor ban in place for the upcoming May long weekend. Jubilee Park’s liquor ban will run from Friday, May 18 to Monday, May 21. Over the past couple of years, there has been a growing list of provincial campgrounds that have issued alcohol bans on the May long weekend. This year Pigeon Lake Campground, Aspen Beach, Cypress Hills, Dillberry Lake, Garner Lake, Jarvis Bay, Miquelon Lake Wabamun Lake and Whitney Lakes all have liquor bans in place.
The May long weekend is the unofficial kickoff to the camping season and because it is the first open camping weekend, some campers have a little too much to drink — one of the reasons for the ban.
“The May long weekend is the first weekend and campers are excited. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been cooped up all winter, so you get out and there have been some enforcement issues in these specific parks and that’s why there are liquor bans in place,” explained Susan Johnson, public affairs with tourism and recreation with the province.
There aren’t any additions to the number of provincial parks, which have liquor bans on for the May long compared to last year. The nine provincial parks that were chosen for a ban resulted because of past incidents. Jubilee Park is not a provincially run park, it is run by Leduc County.
“We look at it every year to see where the areas are we need to target. It’s pretty simple, in terms of these camping grounds, because they are close to urban areas and are easy access for people to get to,” stated Johnson.
Having liquor bans in place hasn’t affected the camper turnout on the May long at any of the nine provincial campgrounds in previous years.
“We’re booked. It doesn’t seem to hamper people’s experiences at all and there are certain people who will only go to campgrounds that have a liquor ban in place — people with small kids, families like the idea of having one in place,” said Johnson.
As for privately owned campgrounds across the province, it’s up to the owner to decide whether to slap a liquor ban on.
The best bet is to call the campground and ask, added Johnson.
Campground staff will notify all campers of the ban and anyone caught drinking in the park could be handed a $250 fine.
The liquor ban for the nine provincial campgrounds will commence at noon on May 17 to May 21.