The new park manager at Woodlawn Regional Park hasn't had much of an opportunity to get ready for the start of the 2014 camping season, but she's still looking forward to what she expects will be an adventurous year.
Aaron-Lee Soparlo's first day on the job was May 5, which, ironically, came after seasonal campers started to occupy their sites on May 1. Non-seasonal campers will be able to begin accessing sites during the Victoria Day long weekend.
The days leading up to the long weekend have been frantic, she said.
“Our workers are in place at Woodlawn Regional already,” said Soparlo. “Now it's just getting our sites ready.”
They also had to make sure the public restrooms are ready for use, and they have been working on making sure their water services are ready.
The park's board has been very helpful with her transition, Soparlo said.
Soparlo said new things are happening at both the Souris River campground and at the Boundary Dam beach site camping site. New sites at the Souris River campground are ready to go, and they look great, she said.
“That's a huge opportunity for the park to get them up and going,” said Soparlo.
There are 142 seasonal and non-season sites at the Souris River campground, and 20 more sites are available for tenting. The Boundary Dam site has 101 seasonal and non-seasonal sites, and more are slated to be coming this year, Soparlo said.
“Our ratio this year is a 60-40 split,” said Soparlo. “So 60 per cent is seasonal campers, and 40 per cent is non-seasonal.”
The seasonal campers have water, sewer and power amenities. The new campsites at the Souris River campground don't have sewer services.
“It's good for short-term campers, not your long-term seasonal campers,” said Soparlo. “It's awesome to get people coming back through our parks, and seeing how we've rebuilt since the flood, and how things have changed.”
Demand has been higher for the Boundary Dam campground, she said, but interest is growing for the Souris River site, now that people realize it is open again.
The Boundary Dam beach site will host the third annual Beach Bash in August. The Estevan Chamber of Commerce is handling most of the planning for the event, but Woodlawn is helping out.
This will also be the first full year in which the beach volleyball courts at Boundary Dam will be open, Soparlo said.