Kootenay National Parks popular Redstreak Campground will not be accepting reservations throughout the summer and will have a delayed opening due to ongoing construction, Parks Canada have confirmed.

The 242-site campground near Radium Hot Springs is usually bustling with campers by the May long weekend the kick-off to summer in the valley. Improvements to the site have forced Parks Canada to push back their projected opening to June 1st, said Visitor Experience Manager for the park, Bill Leonard.

To compensate, Parks plan a May long weekend opening for McLeod Meadows, the 98-site campground deeper within the park.

Usually we dont open McLeod Meadows up until mid-June, but we will be certainly getting information out to campers to let them know that there are other alternatives in the Radium/Invermere valley, in the park, and in Lake Louise, Mr. Leonard said. Well get that word out in the coming weeks and it will be on our website.

Redstreak, Kootenay National Parks largest campground, is usually packed full of campers during the summer months, with reservations for sites with hook-ups booked months in advance. But uncertain weather last fall and this spring has forced Parks Canada to cancel the reservation system at the site for the duration of the upcoming summer, Mr. Leonard said.

According to Steve Wilson, campground manager for Kootenay and Yoho National Parks, although no reservations will be possible for the 2011 season, all of Redstreaks sites (50 serviced, 38 partially serviced, and 154 unserviced) will be open by the projected June 1st opening date on a first-come, first-served basis.

The bad news is we will miss the May long weekend [at Redstreak]. It is traditionally a busy weekend in Redstreak. It varies from being about 90-100 per cent full, and then it drops off again until mid-June, Mr. Leonard said.

Radium based Canyon RV Owner/Operator, Greg Deck, said that his 107 camping spots are usually 98-100 per cent full all summer, so he wonders where the extra campers will go until Redstreak is back in full operation.

We do at least two-thirds to three-quarters of our traffic through reservations, Mr. Deck said. People who know the valley well and know the camping situation in the valley will quickly realize that if Redstreak is running at any kind of reduced capacity there will be increased pressure on the other campgrounds in the area.

What that means is we will book more of our sites in advance and there will be fewer available for drive-by bookings.

Until high season, Mr. Deck said the campground closure will actually benefit his business, but he doubts the situation will help the other businesses in the valley.

For the valley as a whole, I will be one of the few businesses that this favours because if there are any number of short term folks who cant get a place to stay here they will go somewhere else. So the restaurants, the golf courses, businesses who may normally see that traffic may not this year.

The work being done in Redstreak Campground is coinciding with a water and sewer improvement project that will benefit the municipality of Radium Hot Springs, said Mr. Leonard, and while the ground is being disturbed the campground will be undergoing some improvements as well.

We are taking advantage of that to make a number of improvements to 50 of our RV sites to make them wider and to make them better for todays modern-sized RVs.

The campground will also be putting in a new sani-dump station as well as further improvements to the washroom facility, he said.

Doing the infrastructure first allows us to get that underground work done and then move on to the stuff above ground. It doesnt make sense to do the above ground stuff first.

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