The solution, says Alberta Parks Minister Cindy Ady, is to open the park gates to private enterprise — allowing developers to build and operate campgrounds under licence.
“The policy hasn’t been completely nailed down yet, so I can’t say how it will work, but what we know is this: It could be anywhere in the province,” said Ady.
“If somebody can bring to us a solid plan, there are private campground opportunities.
“They would build it, they would run it.”
The private campground scheme is imminent — Ady said she plans to bring it forward in the fall, as part of her capital budget plans.
“I’m hoping within this year to have that policy work done, so we can at least tell people the rules of engagement,” she said.
The article raises, and actually addresses, one of the great mythologies of private park management — the whole “neon sign in front of Old Faithful” meme.
Images of neon signs and Seattle-based coffee chains may have wilderness lovers horrified, but Ady assures those who head to the woods to escape the rat race, that respite won’t change.
“It will absolutely be the same standards as now — any time we let anyone in on contract, we’d be very careful because they’re still on park land or crown land,” said Ady.