Alberta campgrounds won’t follow a sweeping long-weekend booze ban that will force Banff and other national parks to go dry, according to the Calgary (Alberta) Sun.
Cindy Ady, the provincial minister of Tourism, Parks and Recreation, said despite Parks Canada announcing a campground ban on all liquor in Banff, Yoho and Kootenay national parks during long weekends, the province has no plans to punish responsible campers for the actions of a rowdy few.
“There’s no reason to punish people who aren’t misbehaving,” said the Calgary member of the legislative assembly.
“The majority of the year we have no issues so why take out a sledgehammer when a ballpeen hammer will do?”
Concerned that booze-fueled revellers are ruining things for families looking for a wholesome wilderness escape, the feds decided to ban alcohol during four long summer weekends, starting with next week’s Victoria Day holiday.
Parks Canada officials said they were seeing a rise in problem drinking in Banff and other parks as campers migrated from provincial campgrounds that had imposed their own alcohol bans.
But Ady said since 2004 only 10 of Alberta’s 500 provincial parks have seen liquor restrictions and those only come into force for the May long weekend.
In total, some 23 provincial campgrounds fall under the temporary ban including those at the Ghost Reservoir provincial recreation area near Cochrane, the only park with an alcohol ban that has any proximity to Banff.
A Parks Canada spokeswoman did not return a call Tuesday.
Town of Banff spokeswoman Janice Carson said Mayor John Stutz was out of the country and a request for comment sent to every town councillor was declined.
Kurt Schroeder of the Banff Tourism Bureau said with or without alcohol, people will continue to flock to the mountain park.
“The parks and campgrounds are integral to the experience and being in this environment it’s still going to provide a stellar experience no matter what conditions are applied,” he said.
Long-time camper Samara Cygman, who said she and her friends drink responsibly when camping, was incensed at the move by Parks Canada and said she will look elsewhere when she makes long weekends plans.
“It ruins things for the majority of people who are able to enjoy liquor responsibly,” she said.
“I think we’ll probably just avoid these areas altogether.”