Most of N.W.T.'s territorial parks officially opened Wednesday, just in time for the long weekend. 

Here's CBC North's advice for making the most of camping vacations this summer.  

1. Build an awesome campfire

Summers have been dry over the past few years, which always creates a risk for a fire. Also, park rangers can regulate the size of fires, which is new this year.

Part of that was driven by problems with people building huge fires out of wood pallets.

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"It’s not a great material because it contains some noxious substances, so generally what you want to do is build a fire that’s less than half a metre high with flames, start with good dry wood, and avoid pressure-treated wood," said the N.W.T.’s director for parks, Richard Zieba.

2. Be a good neighbour

Generators, music and ATVs are all permitted in the parks, but ATV users need a permit. This was introduced last year because there were problems with underage drivers roaring around campgrounds. 

"You can’t use ATVs off-road in any of our parks, and you have to follow the rules of your own insurance for ATVS, including nobody driving ATVs who are under 14 years old."

Permits are available for free at the gate house when you check in to your site.

No generators are allowed between 10:30 p.m. and 7 a.m.

3. Get in some cultural camping

Some new elements Zieba is proud of this year are new cultural offerings, such as beading and bannock making workshops in the Sahtu.


Lady Evelyn Falls, located near Kakisa, N.W.T., is one of CBC North Trailbreaker host Loren McGinnis' favourite fishing spots. (Joanne Stassen/CBC)

"Those activities will be posted on our Facebook site and our website," said Zieba.

4. Make the most of your tax dollars

Many of the territory’s parks have new amenities, such as showers and trails.

"At Samba Deh Park in the Deh Cho region — we’ve built a beautiful new lookout overlooking the Trout River, which I think is a great way to get a panoramic view to increase your enjoyment of the area." 

Zieba guessed that the parks south of the Fort Providence river crossing filled up quickly this long weekend because the new bridge meant there was no question about getting across. 

5. Make a new friend from far away

Zieba said that outside the Yellowknife area, the bulk of campers in territorial parks are from outside the territory.

"When you’re camping… make a friend — visit somebody with a different plate, from a different province next door to you. We are known for our friendliness in the Northwest Territories," said Zieba.