News source from CTV News
For the first time in 23 years, campers in several Manitoba provincial parks are able to crack a cold one while within park grounds.
In 1995, lawmakers in Manitoba banned liquor on campgrounds during the long weekend in May, but recently decided to lift the ban at six of its busiest provincial parks following years of declining alcohol-related offences.
The move came as a big positive to campers who want to enjoy a couple drinks while spending their long weekend in the great outdoors.
“If you respect it and you’re an adult and you keep it in control and in moderation, you should be able to enjoy it,” Joel MacDonald, a camper at Birds Hill Park north of Winnipeg, told CTV Winnipeg. “You can enjoy (alcohol) pretty much anywhere else. Why police it for one weekend?”
Despite the ban being in effect for nearly a quarter century, several campers still chose to enjoy the odd drink while on park property.
“I don’t camp without having rum and hot chocolate,” said Kim Phillips, another camper at Birds Hill Park. “That’s camping to me, so we would bring a little. (We) never over-indulged at all.”
Rochelle Squires, Manitoba’s minister of Sustainable Development, said park staff will be keeping a close eye on campers this weekend and plan to reevaluate the decision in the future.
Long-time campers have noticed more patrollers through the grounds, but haven’t seen any of the commotion associated with excessive alcohol.
“(There was) no rowdiness,” said MacDonald. “No one even walked around, so it was (a) very positive, good night.”
Some burn restrictions in Manitoba were also lifted just in time for the long weekend. An extremely dry spring prompted officials to ban outdoor fires earlier this month, but rain this past week has lifted some of those restrictions.
With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Sarah Plowman
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