Cypress Hills campers and conservation officers report no real problems this long weekend

By Taylor Chartrand
May 19, 2019 - 6:54pm

CYPRESS HILLS, AB - This weekend marked the first time in a very long time that Albertans could drink in certain provincial parks legally.

On Thursday, Premier Jason Kenney relaxed the rules around liquor consumption in provincial parks, allowing them to be consumed by adults in their campsites.

Jasmin Bennett of Medicine Hat, spent this weekend camping at Cypress Hills, where liquor restrictions were generally put in place by park staff, prior to the long weekend.

However, along with the remainder of the province, Bennett was allowed to enjoy a cold-one this May long in Elkwater.

"I think it's great," explained Bennett. "Realistically, everyone was drinking anyways. At least you don't have to hide it now and I think adults can be trusted to drink responsibly. It's just nice to have the opportunity to do it legally."

Bennett and her husband pulled their camper out Friday evening and says besides some gloomy weather, things have been pretty calm out at the park.

"We honestly haven't heard anyone. I think we've probably been up the latest and that's been maybe 11:30-12:00?  But, the conservation officers have been driving around and I haven't heard or seen of them dealing with any problems. So far, so good." 

And she would be right.

Conservation officer Zachary Doan says there hasn't been any major issues in regards to drinking this weekend.

"It's been a pretty quiet weekend out here at Cypress Hills," explained Doan. "It was probably pretty quiet because of the weather. But, we certainly didn't see any major issues regarding liquor or any other major issues period."

Doan says over the past couple of years, liquor really hasn't been a concern for park staff.

"In my experience here, it's not a big issue. Obviously, we see it on a regular-basis, but overall, people are quite respectful and they know the rules and regulations here in the park." 

Which Bennett agrees with.

"Most people are out here with their family and are drinking responsibly regardless," she said. "Camping is the best. It's so relaxing, just a little mini-vacation."

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