Campground Use Levels
Why are campgrounds so busy?
- Alberta's growing population has greatly increased demand for
camping and other recreational opportunities.
- A priority of Alberta's 10-year Plan for
Parks is to upgrade, restore and expand park
- Some campgrounds rarely or never fill. Others, especially those
near large population centres, are much busier.
- Campsites with power fill faster than un-serviced sites;
provincial campgrounds contain far more un-serviced than serviced
campsites (i.e. those with power, water and/or sewer
How can I best ensure I get a camping
Why are some provincial park facilities in
such poor condition?
- There are nearly 500 parks in Alberta.
- Many park facilities were developed decades ago when Alberta's
population was smaller and at a time when environmental, health and
safety standards were lower. Some park infrastructure is aging and
in need of upgrading.
- The Government of Alberta has been investing millions of
- repairing and upgrading hiking trails;
- refurbishing campsites;
- upgrading water treatment/distribution systems and sewer
- replacing picnic tables and fire pits; and
- enhancing viewpoints.
Why aren't there more campsites with power?
- The number of recreational vehicles in Alberta has increased
significantly, which has resulted in greatly increased demand for
power hook-ups and other amenities at campgrounds.
- A priority under Alberta's Plan for Parks is to
offer modern facilities, policies and programs and we are committed
to upgrading, restoring and expanding park facilities as funding
becomes available (including adding more power sites wherever
Why are some campgrounds run by contractors instead of
the Government of Alberta?
- The Government of Alberta owns all provincial campgrounds;
however we do contract out some campground operations and services
when it is cost-effective to do so.
- Our operating
contracts ensure that contracted campgrounds are managed
to the same standards as provincially-run sites.
- Private sector contractors, local community groups and
municipalities operate about 70% of Alberta's provincial
campgrounds. Alberta Parks operates the rest.
- We also contract out some janitorial and grass-cutting
services, food concessions and other commercial services.
- The Government of Alberta has been contracting facility
operations for more than 30 years.
What if I have a complaint about a private
- We monitor contractor performance to ensure a quality visitor
- Help us to do this by providing feedback.
- Contact us online or call 1-866-427-3582 during
regular office hours.
What if I have a complaint about a staff member or
- If you've had an unsatisfactory interaction with a staff member
or volunteer you can:
- speakwith the facility operator;
- speak with the park manager or conservation officer in charge
of the site; or
- provide your feedback online or by calling 1-866-427-3582
during regular office hours.
- According to our annual Camper Satisfaction Survey, campers are
generally very satisfied with our staff and our volunteers.
Why does camping cost so much?
- Each campground's fees are determined based on limits set by
the Government of Alberta based on market demand and services
- $3.00 from every overnight camping fee is reinvested in parks
across Alberta. This levy is used to improve existing facilities
and to develop new facilities.
- Alberta's camping fees are comparable to fees charged in
national parks, parks in other jurisdictions, and privately owned
- Park entry and day use fees are not charged in Alberta's
Are there camping fee discounts for
- Some campgrounds offer senior discounts for people aged 65 or
older. Age verification may be required at check-in.
- Senior discounts typically range from $1 to $3 per night.
- You do not need to be an Albertan to qualify for a senior
- For campgrounds available for online
reservations that offer senior discounts, the discount is
applied at check-in. A senior discount cannot be applied when the
reservation is made.
- The Information & Facilities page for each campground
indicates if there is a senior discount, e.g. Carson-Pegasus
Why aren't more campsites available for reservation? Why
aren't more campsites available on a first come-first served
- Some campers would like more reservation campsites; others want
more first come-first served
- The percentage of reservation sites at individual campgrounds
is determined by the park manager based on demand.
- Many campgrounds offering campsite reservations also have some
first come-first served campsites.
- Unreserved campsites are available to campers who don't have a
- Some campgrounds offer only first come-first served
What disabled accessible facilities are available in
Why is firewood so expensive?
- The cost of firewood includes both the wood and the cost of
transporting it to the site.
- Authorized suppliers provide firewood at Alberta's parks.
How is firewood supplied?
Can highway directional signage be
- Alberta Transportation installs directional signs on provincial
highways and along access roads into provincial parks. We assess
the adequacy of these signs on an ongoing basis. When a need is
identified, we work with Alberta Transportation.
- Municipal authorities (i.e counties) are responsible for signs
along local roads.
Are internal campground and trail signs being
- We are implementing a new sign program and are improving and
replacing signs in a number of parks each year.
- A multi-year roll-out is necessary given the number of sites
and facilities in our system.
Safety and security
Why do some provincial parks have liquor bans
on the May long weekend?
- Alberta's parks need to be safe and enjoyable places for
- During May long weekends, a temporary liquor ban is in place at
select provincial campgrounds.
- In Alberta, the highest number of liquor-related enforcement
interventions at provincial campgrounds happen during the May long
- Provincial campgrounds that enforce temporary liquor bans on
the May long weekend experience a dramatic decrease in unacceptable
behaviours including vandalism, impaired driving, assault and other
crimes that endanger park users and staff.
- Notification of liquor bans is posted under Advisories and on
the landing page of each park with a ban.
What if I have a complaint about other
- Report concerns about other visitors to a
conservation officer, the facility operator or other staff.
- If there is danger to public safety and a conservation
officer is not available, contact the RCMP.
Why don't all provincial campgrounds have running water,
flush toilets and shower facilities?
- In some parks, providing running water is not be feasible.
- Running water is very expensive to install and maintain in
campgrounds, a major factor in determining whether or not such
services are provided.
- In some campgrounds water is hauled in. In other sites,
it is pumped from a lake or other source, then treated
and stored in a cistern.
- As funding becomes available, we will continue to install
modern washroom and shower facilities at campgrounds where running
water is feasible .
Why aren't hand sanitizers provided at all
provincial campground toilets?
- We recognize how important it is for visitors to properly clean
- We have installed hand sanitizers in vault toilet
- Theft and vandalism has limited the success of this service at
- Since we can't guarantee that there will be hand sanitizer
available at every toilet facility, we recommend that visitors
bring their own hand sanitizer.
Why are the toilets so smelly?
- By their nature, outdoor toilets tend to smell. Hot summer
temperatures make the situation worse by causing more gas to be
released from the contents of holding tanks.
- To minimize odours, toilets are cleaned and holding tanks
- Visitors can help by closing toilet lids. This allows gases to
be released through the outside vents on toilet buildings.