Elk Island National Park hoping to build on record year
Free admission for Canada 150 celebrations last year, now it's free admission for those under 17
Dale Kirkland warms his hands over a camp fire at Elk Island National Park.
It may be cold outside but the superintendent at the park east of Edmonton wants the attendance hot streak to continue.
"Last year, Canada 150 was a big year," said Kirkland with a smile.
"It was a great, busy, wonderful year for people to come and enjoy Elk Island," Kirkland declared.
This month the national park system began offering free admission to parks and historic sites for kids under 17. Kirkland said that 2018 promotion is a way to build on last year's success.
There was an encouraging sign just this week when the park opened summer campsite reservations. On opening day, the park received the same number of bookings as last year despite much fewer free admissions.
But Brennen Bunko is hoping to drive visitors to the park even in the dead of winter.
While they're telling tourists to layer up before heading out to the park at this time of year, the bison are loving the recent cold snap.
After all, the largest land mammals in North America are already dressed for these conditions, according to Jonathan DeMoor, the park ecologist team leader.
"They're very impressive animals, and here at Elk Island you get the opportunity to see them occasionally really up close," said DeMoor.