May 15, 2017 10:31 am
Updated: May 15, 2017 6:14 pm

Camping in Alberta over May long weekend? Here’s what you need to know

WATCH: With May long weekend quickly approaching, Dallas Flexhaug gets the scoop on what Alberta campers need to know.


Eager campers anxiously awaiting the May long weekend might want to brush up on a few important details before they load up their gear and hit the road.

Alberta Parks conservation officer Arian Spiteri joined Global Calgary on Monday with details on the most important things to know before heading out of town.

Hoping to hold a spot? Lawn chairs won’t cut it

If you’re planning to head out to the mountains before Friday to stake your claim to a campsite, Spiteri warns lawn chairs won’t cut it.

Story continues below

“Lawn chairs aren’t a camping accommodation unit. So if you’re going out to the first-come first-serve campgrounds, what you need to do is you need to actually occupy it – and occupying it means with a tent or a tent trailer or some sort of motorhome.”

Reservations are accepted at some campsites.

“A third of our sites across the province are reservable,” Spiteri said. “So people can try to make a reservation in advance.”

Liquor bans in effect in 9 provincial parks

“There are a couple liquor bans that are in place,” Spiteri warned.

According to, a liquor ban is in effect at the parks listed below from noon on Thursday, May 18, 2017 until 6 p.m. on Monday, May 22, 2017.

Aspen Beach Provincial Park

Cypress Hills Provincial Park

Dillberry Lake Provincial Park

Garner Lake Provincial Park

Jarvis Bay Provincial Park

Miquelon Lake Provincial Park

Pigeon Lake Provincial Park

Wabamun Lake Provincial Park

Whitney Lakes Provincial Park

“This temporary liquor ban is implemented to deter criminal and offensive behaviour, underage drinking and excessive partying on the May long weekend, which were concerns at these campgrounds previously,” the website states.

The ban applies to all campgrounds and group campgrounds within the park.

Don’t forget to check for fire bans

Although most campsites will have signage posted if a fire ban is in place, it’s still best to check before you head out.

Leave your drone at home

Drones are not permitted in provincial parks.

“If people just recently purchased a drone and they’re looking for places to use them – if you’re planning on visiting the parks this weekend – then leave them at home,” Spiteri warned.

READ MORE: Feds unveil new fines, tighter rules for drones flown too close to airports

“We’re seeing an increase,” Spiteri admitted. “We’re trying to educate people and inform them that they’re not permitted.”

No snowfall expected in southern Alberta

Global Calgary meteorologist Jordan Witzel said he doesn’t expect any snowfall at recreational locations across southern Alberta, but said higher elevations in mountain parks could see some snow.

For weather on the go, download the Global News Skytracker weather app for iPhone, iPad or Android.

Attention hikers: there’s still snow in the mountains

Although no new snow is expected to fall, Spiteri said there is still snow in higher elevations.

“It’s important for people to recognize that if they’re planning on hiking, the hike may take a lot longer than normal because they will be walking through snow for a long time.”

Spiteri recommended hikers keep snow in mind when choosing their footwear.

WATCH: Alberta Parks conservation officer Kananaskis district Arian Spiteri joins Global Calgary to discuss May long weekend preparations as the majority of camp sites open for the season.

Avalanche hazards are still in effect

An avalanche hazard still exists in some locations.

“Large size avalanches can still happen,” Spiteri warned. “We’re recommending that back country travelers don’t walk on snow slopes and don’t walk on cornices or underneath cornices.”

To check for avalanche risks in the spot you’re camping or hiking, visit

Be bear aware

Bears are active and can wander through your campsite if they smell food.

“Any time you’re camping – or even picnicking for that matter – you need to make sure that all your attractants are secure from wildlife and secure from bears,” Spiteri said.

“Garbage and foods are obvious ones, but sometimes people don’t think about pet food, recyclables… any scented items can be an attractant.”

READ MORE: Coach describes ‘moment of panic’ as grizzly bear joins Banff high school rugby practice

Spiteri also cautioned against leaving any scented items, like food, unattended.

“If you’re going for a walk, if you’re going inside your tent or inside your camper, you need to make sure that the food is either inside your vehicle or inside your hard-sided trailer.”

WATCH: Naturalist and former superintendent at Banff National Park Kevin Van Tighem joins Global Calgary to discuss why grizzly bear 148 seems to have no fear of humans.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Report an error


Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first.