Fears new parks fees will lead to damage on crown land

CALGARY — The May long weekend isn’t even here yet, but people are already ripping it up in Waiparous and McLean Creek provincial recreation areas.

Reports on social media say a lot of campers and off-road users were out in the areas last weekend.

Shawn Peter of Bragg Creek & Kananaskis Outdoor Recreation is worried about the damage they’re leaving behind.

“People [are] shooting propane tanks, lots of vehicles driving where they are not on designated trails, vehicles getting stuck everywhere,” said Peter.

“It’s super muddy out there right now. There are trails that go through bogs that shouldn’t be used early on in the season. Everyone is driving through them and getting stuck.”

He wants the provincial government to act now and not delay until the fall to implement a new user fee for off-highway vehicles (OHV) in Alberta’s backcountry.

While there is a new $90 fee to access Alberta parks like Kananaskis, people who use crown land outside the parks only have to pay $30 a year to camp and there’s no daily fee.

McLean Creek and Waiparous recreation areas are exempt from the new park user fee.