A number of provincial parks in southern Manitoba will begin welcoming campers this weekend. 

"With the slow start to spring this year, many Manitobans might be more eager than usual to get outside and enjoy our beautiful provincial parks," says Natural Resources and Northern Development Minister Greg Nesbitt. "Manitoba Parks staff can't wait to welcome everyone for the 2023 season and the Manitoba government hopes everyone has the chance to visit their favourite parks and explore somewhere new."

All other provincial park campgrounds will open for the May long weekend. Manitobans can make a reservation for campsites, cabins, yurts and group-use areas by using the recently launched Parks Reservation Service, online at www.manitobaparks.com or by calling (toll-free) 1-888-482-2267. Nesbitt says the Manitoba government will be evaluating the new service through the camping season for future enhancements.

Campers will notice improvements in several provincial campgrounds this season including a new picnic shelter in the Birds Hill group-use area, new playgrounds at Asessippi, Beaver Creek, Paint Lake and White Lake, and a new amphitheatre at Hecla-Gull Harbour. Mobility access mats are also being added to beaches at Clearwater Lake (Camper's Beach), Hecla/Grindstone (Little Grindstone and Black's Point), Rivers, Paint Lake, Wekusko Falls and Whiteshell (Brereton Lake).

Some campgrounds remain closed including Otter Falls Campground in Whiteshell Provincial Park, Tulabi Falls walk-in backcountry sites in Nopiming Provincial Park and the Birch Point Provincial Park Campground. These campgrounds will be under construction for flood-related repairs this spring and the minister says opening dates are undetermined at this time.

Nesbitt says the Manitoba government will be announcing a larger park renewal strategy plan and infrastructure projects in the coming weeks.

Tips for visitors and campers at Manitoba provincial parks include:

  • check the Manitoba Parks website at www.manitobaparks.com for advisories before travelling;
  • buy and print provincial park vehicle permits online before leaving home at  www.manitobaelicensing.ca;
  • all campers must check in at campground offices upon arrival to receive camping permits;
  • have reservation confirmation and personal identification ready for check-in;
  • be 'Wildlife Smart' by maintaining a clean campsite, keeping all food, trash, toiletries and cooking utensils locked in a vehicle or trailer, and pack out trash and recyclables before leaving;
  • keep all pets on leash; and
  • keep all campfires in approved pits such as those found in campsites and check with the campground office for any campfire restrictions.

Campers are reminded that because the emerald ash borer has been confirmed in Winnipeg, no firewood can be transported outside the city. Transportation violations can result in charges and fines of up to $1,300 for individuals or $15,000 for businesses. Firewood is available for purchase from local retailers at most campgrounds.

Several provincial parks are continuing to hire seasonal staff for the camping season including campground attendants, maintenance staff and tradespersons. Provincial parks are also hiring youth to join the Parks Green Team program. These seasonal positions are valuable work experience for careers in parks and natural resource management, trades and tourism.