You will need a valid, free permit for rustic camping this year in Castle Provincial Park.
The Alberta government has released regulations for rustic campers this summer in the park which could have an impact on some local residents.
“That is camping that many people from the Lethbridge area do engage in, in the Castle Park,” said Minister of Environment and Parks Shannon Phillips on Friday.
“People need a free permit just so we know how many folks are out there,” she said. “In the case of public emergency, and in order to better support and plan these activities.”
There are nine camping areas located within the park, which can see thousands of people in the area over the summer.
“We have found over the years, on some weekends, we have over 1,000 people that go out to randomly camp in the Castle,” Phillips said. “So what we’ve done this year is better support that activity so we can reduce our wildfire risk, reduce risk to wildlife, reduce the risk to rivers, and ensure that our garbage and other waste is dealt with properly.”
Permits are needed before arriving in the park. They can be obtained at albertaparks.ca/castle, at self-serve kiosks, or retailers.
A permit allows visitors up to 16 days of camping, access to hundreds of kilometres of wilderness camping, and access to camping infrastructure such as fire pits, garbage containers and, in some areas, toilet facilities.
Fort opens for new season
The actual original fort dates much farther back, to 1869.
But the re-created Fort Whoop-Up Interpretive Centre in Indian Battle Park is celebrating a milestone in 2017. The fort, which officially opened for the season on Sunday, marked the commencement of its 50th year in Lethbridge.
“It’s very exciting,” said Natasha Gray, Fort Whoop-Up site co-ordinator. “Staff is all here and we can’t wait. Lethbridge has been great to us so we’re expecting a wonderful season.”
The replica site was built as a centennial project, downstream from the original site, in 1967.
This summer will be the first full season of operation by the Galt Museum and Archives, following the formal Operation and Service Level Agreement between the Galt and the City of Lethbridge approved in June 2016.
On Sunday, the fort also had a special Mothers Day program. They are planning other upcoming special events, including for Fathers Day and for National Aboriginal Day, both in June, as well as for Canada Day on July 1.
Chief Mountain crossing opens
Americans, leave your guns at home when travelling to Canada.
The Chief Mountain seasonal border crossing opened Monday, and after a busy season last year for Canada Border Services Agency officers, including a number of weapons seizures.
In multiple cases, the firearm owners were fined $1,000 and turned away at the border.
“We want to advise our American visitors to leave their handguns at home,” said Luke Reimer, Communications Officer for the Canada Border Services Agency.
“If you do choose to travel with your firearms, make sure that you have them properly stored, and you declare them at the first opportunity.”
Failing to declare a firearm can have serious consequences. On the other hand, declaring a firearm grants the opportunity to either abandon or export the weapon back to the U.S. without penalty.
“If you don’t declare it, and we find it and seize it, you won’t get it back. You’ll also be facing a penalty and possibly criminal charges.”
Bowie joins Order of Excellence
Lethbridge’s Gary Bowie will be among the eight provincial residents to become members of the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2017.
The Order is the province’s highest honour a citizen can receive and is an official part of the Canadian Honours System.
Bowie is well-known in Lethbridge for his extensive work in several areas.
He has been working on issues related to homelessness since 1997. As chair of Social Housing in Action, he led the development of Lethbridge’s plan to end homelessness.