Sask. campers not deterred by COVID-19 restrictions

Families across the province are setting up their campsites this week at provincial parks, despite restrictions on beaches and public showers which are still in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Beaches, public showers closed but overnight stays now allowed

Peggy, Grayson and Terry Linder stand in front of their campsite at Echo Valley Provincial Park 60 km northeast of Regina. (Matt Howard/CBC)

Families across the province are setting up their campsites this week at provincial parks, which are now open to seasonal campers.

COVID-19 safety measures are in place, but that doesn't seem to have stopped people from heading to the great outdoors.

Campers who booked seasonal sites across the province were officially able to check in on Monday.

They'll be required to practise physical distancing and minimize contact within other campers. And, while overnight stays are allowed, playgrounds, pools and beaches remain closed. 

Terry Linder, who camps at Echo Valley Provincial Park every year with his wife, children and grandchildren, said normally they would cool off in the lake on a hot day, but this year they've come up with a backup plan.

"We'll just have to take it in stride," said Linder. "We'll probably get ourselves a blow up pool or something for the site and probably a lot of other people will be doing the same thing."

Beaches, pools, laundry rooms, showers and playgrounds are still closed at provincial parks in the province. (Matt Howard/CBC)

Linder is from Regina and uses his campsite mostly on weekends. He said he enjoys fishing and campfires, two things that are allowed. 

But along with pools and beaches, laundry facilities and public showers will be closed. 

That means campers will have to do laundry at home or in a nearby town.

People with trailers can only use the washroom in their trailer if they have one. Public washroom access is limited to one household at a time. 

Despite all the rules, Stephanie and Devon Kolebaba also booked at Echo Valley. 

The couple said they usually camp in B.C. but decided against it this year because of COVID-19. They also wanted to be closer to home in Regina because of their four-month old son Lucas. 

Regina's Stephanie and Devon Kolebaba usually go camping in B.C. but because of COVID-19 they have booked closer to home at Echo Valley and are sharing their love of camping with their four-month old son Lucas. (Alex Soloducha/CBC)

The Kolebabas said they didn't hesitate at all in booking a site in Saskatchewan, with campgrounds operating at 50 per cent capacity. 

"As soon as we learned that camping was going to be open we were like, 'yep, we're on it,'" said Stephanie. 

"There's lots of open space here," said Devon. 

The couple said that while some of their usual camping activities are now out of the question, they will keep busy with ladder golf, bocce ball and long walks. And because the playground is closed, they set up a swing on their campsite for their baby. 

The province said park staff will provide enhanced cleaning and sanitization in parks. All campers are asked to stay home if they're feeling sick.

About the Author

Alex Soloducha is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan.


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