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I just got back from hosting at Sun Lakes/Dry Falls State Park in Coulee City, WA.

During the month, there were a LOT of Canadians, I was surprised. The Canadians told me that the American State Parks are much better than the Provincial Parks because in the US, the rangers get to carry guns. The Canadians told me there is very little "Enforcement" at Provincial parks. Wow. That's not giving me a warm fuzzy feeling to want to visit Provincial Parks..... But hey, we love the Canadians, glad you like American State Parks! biggrin.gif biggrin.gif

Wow! I am surprised by this. We've stayed at a lot of Provincial Parks in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and P.E.I. In all those nights, I have never seen any reason for anyone to have to carry a gun. They have all been well run, orderly, and quiet. Maybe it's a west coast/east coast thing.
I think you are right MaineDon. I have camped in lots of Provincial Parks in Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario and never have witnessed anything that would need a gun-carrying warden to straighten out. As for enforcement, it has always been done to my liking with only one incident some years back where I could not get hold of the person in charge to complain about a loud party going on during quiet hours. There must be something in the air out west for people to need guns in State/Provincial parks.
Hi JJ,

I've never felt uncomfortable in any Provincial Park or State Park. I think you were dealing with what Canadian's call "West Coast Whiffies" *grin*. They smoke too much ****.

What is true is that State Parks are often considerably cheaper and have more facilities. For example the large campground at Whistler in Jasper has 774 sites--and precisely *one* bath house. I stayed there a number of years ago and it was $28.00 for a "dry" campsite. To that you get to add an $8.30 per person per day fee for being in a National Park. Now add $8.80 for a dump fee *ouch*. That totals over $53.00.

Compare Whistler to a State Park in ND. Wifi, water, electric and sewer all for $22.00 and no per person fees.
I just want to weigh in from a Canadian perspective. I live in Alberta and have camped regularly in Provincial Parks throughout Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan over the past 25 years. While there are situations (late parties, out of control guests) these are usually pretty isolated and can happen anywhere. I have never once been camping in a provincial park where I had hoped the authorities had a gun. There is very little "enforcement" because usually very little is needed.

So please don't let these people generalize the situation for all of our parks. Some of the provincial parks that we have that are amongst the Rockie Mountains are some of the most beautiful campgrounds that you will find anywhere with scenery that will live in your memories forever.

Also, cost wise, most provincial parks are very reasonably priced. I just arrived home from the Mt Robson Provincial Park (Mt Robson is the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains) and paid $21/night for dry camping (there were clean shower houses) and $3 for the dump station. Jasper is a National Park (federal government) and those are always a money grab. There usually is no "fee" for entering provincial parks, only National Parks (Jasper, Banff, etc.)

My point is, don't be afraid to come to the provincial parks in Alberta and B.C.

I've camped in several prov' parks in Ontario over the years & I haven't seen any situations where the ranger would need to carry a gun.

Mind you our camping neighbour @ the races in Clermont IN once felt it was necessary to show off his .45 Auto to us. I own guns & hunt, but was not impressed. Whether or not you carry a gun, I don't care. But don't hand it around like you got a new 3/8" ratchet wrench from the Snap-On truck.
Traveling man
I've mainly camped in BC and Alberta when visiting Canada, and think the provincial parks are actually quite nice. Like anywhere, some are better than others. I'm looking for scenery, not cable when I visit, so I enjoy them.

Besides the major parks in Western Canada, there are some great "little" forest campgrounds on lakes etc. which are quite relaxing. Many are free.

On the gun issue, up until a couple months ago I might have agreed. However recently a multi- state search for an escaped Arizona prisoner (who killed an elderly RV couple after escape) ended when a national forest service ranger spotted him camped in a remote area. I'm glad to see rangers armed, even if they never have a situation requiring them to use their weapon.
For the past twelve years we have spent two weeks each summer in BC and Alberta, camping in provincial parks. We have been up there with a tent trailer, pull behind and now a large fiver. Our experiences were all positive and, quite frankly, we went up to Canada because we preferred their parks over ours (we live in Oregon). In all our years of camping (over 50) we have never felt the need for an 'armed' ranger. My most favorite place in all of my memories is Tunnel Mt in Banf. Love those Canadian Rockies!!
We live in Ontario, and have camped at many provincial parks as well as many state parks. The provincial parks are gorgeous, and I have never, ever felt unsafe. Carrying guns is not common in Canada, but it isn't necessary either. The parks are very beautiful. We do like the State parks, as they are a little more affordable, and pick them according to location - some are close to the ocean, which we love, etc. Provincial parks, like state parks are chosen because they are "gems". If you are camping in Canada and want the wilderness experience and to truly experience the beauty of the country, don't hesitate to visit them.
There are one or two BC provincial parks that have a reputation for weekend summer rowdiness and perhaps that is what the folks visiting Sun Lakes were referring to. Otherwise we have some gorgeous parks that are well worth the visit.

In the flip side, having visited many Washington state parks (also very scenic), these are more likely going to have water and electrical hook-ups and washrooms with showers.

We have a tendency to head south as we are looking for warmer weather!

It is our experince that the provincial ("state") parks in BC are different than others.

(i) there are a couple that are "party central' and there is little or nothing done about the noise.
(ii) in the BC parks, the services available (or actually LACK of any service available) is a real disappointment. The fact is; we can camp in a Washington state park and get electric, water, and sewer hook up for the same price as we can pay in BC for no service camp site.

regards, pdq
As has been said already there are a few provincial parks in BC that attract party types, but the vast majority are fairly quiet. In the Canadian national parks I believe some of the park wardens are now armed as they have enforcement duties. However, the only time I have heard any gunshots in a park was due to a garbage bear and not some crazy camper. Presently on the Oregon coast enjoying the state parks as they have full hookups, unlike back home in BC where most have none. Anyways, I feel safe on both sides of the border in whatever campground due to my friendly RV neighbours. biggrin.gif
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