Medicine Hat, AB- There are so many reasons to love camping. The beautiful scenery, fresh air, and twinkling stars. For many though, the best part of camping is the uninterrupted time with your family.
Especially for Emmanuel Fournier.
“My parents took me out when I was a little guy so it’s kid of continuing the legacy I guess.” He continued “I would say when I was a kid, that’s what I remember the most. So that’s what I wanted for our kids”
Fournier has been able to give that experience to his four sons.
“We get to stay outside for awhile. Sometimes we sit around the campfire and roast marshmallows, makes s’mores. I get to play guitar.” His son Tristen said fondly.
Camping seems to be hitting new heights in it’s popularity.
Last summer, Alberta Parks had a record-breaking season, with over 170,000 reservations for camp sites. The highest number the province has seen in a decade.
The increase doesn't come as a surprise to the owner of Valhalla Pure outfitters Michael Harrington.
“I think we’ve been on the hegemonic treadmill. We’ve been working really hard to buy the expensive toys and now we’re realizing the value of taking our dog for a walk, or the kids for a little hike at Elkwater, or just spending the day in the rivers in the mountains. It’s very cathartic.”
Harrington also feels that people are anxious to get outside after the tough winter Medicine Hat experienced.
“The weather this year was really tough. It was not only a late, deep, dark, hard winter. But it was really lacking light. So the seasonal effective, in here in the prairies, in Canada’s sunniest city, really hit us hard. So people are stoked to get outside."
For the past number of summers, campers in Cypress County have had to deal with wildfires. Although there is no fire ban yet, Grayson Smith who is the Fire Prevention Officer for the city’s fire departmnet say there is always a possibility of one around the county.
“In the county and campgrounds and such, they have fire pits or larger areas were you can have fires.” He said. “However, keep it in the container. You want to make sure you have water near by and always make sure that before you go to bed for the night to make sure the campfire is out, the ashes are out and it is well doused with water and there’s no risk of re-ignition.”
While mother nature doesn’t seem to be on the side for campers this weekend in southern Alberta, that isn’t a problem for Tristen Fournier who says he is just excited to spend time with his family.
“That we just hang out, sit outside, and have a great time.”
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