The most common complaints about Albertan provincial parks? Dog poop and smelly toilets

Bow Valley Provincial Park via Wikimedia Commons

The CBC has published a fascinating review of the top complaints made to Alberta Parks. The document, which was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, was 63,000 words long and contained grievances ranging from rowdy campers to too many mosquitoes to poor maneuverability for RVS.

While it seems campers have a lot to say about the deficits of the province’s parks, park officials insist that generally visitors are satisfied with their experiences.

“In 2016/2017 when we did the annual poll, we basically had a compliance rate of 91 percent,” Andy Reese, district conservation officer with Bow Valley Provincial Park, told the CBC.

This may be true for the majority, but some Albertans were less than impressed with their outdoor experience. Their number one thing to complain about? Other people’s dogs.

According to the CBC, campers complained about dogs being unsupervised, dogs being confined, dogs terrorizing children, dogs terrorizing other dogs, and, of course, dog poop not being picked up. One report even claims that campers and park officials got into a fighting match, complete with expletives and threats, over one dog’s diarrhea.

Dog poop wasn’t the only fecal theme in the report, either. Many campers also complained about the state of campsite bathrooms and outhouses. Ten percent of Elkwood’s reviews, which is in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park, contained some complaint about its smelly facilities, claiming the stench was so strong it could be smelt from various campsites.

“I’ve been to a lot of campsites and I don’t think I’ve had one as primitive as this for a long time,” said one review.

Despite all these complaints, Reese is confident that the majority is still having a good time.

“We have 1.8 million camper visits annually. With that many people being in the campgrounds we’re going to get complaints,” he told the CBC.

He does try to follow up directly with those who do complain, however.

“Just by taking the time to listen to their concerns or praises — that goes a long ways.”


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