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Discovery Canyon in Red Deer very busy on hot weekends

Discovery Canyon Park has been extremely busy with guests this summer – unfortunately too busy at times.
Discovery Canyon Park has been busy this summer. (Advocate file photo)

Discovery Canyon Park has been extremely busy with guests this summer – unfortunately too busy at times.

On Tuesday, the site’s official Facebook page issued a public service announcement, stating Discovery Canyon has experienced overcrowding on weekends when temperatures are higher than 20 C.

The amenity is operated by the River Bend Golf and Recreation Society.

“It’s a wonderful site – the city had a great vision in putting this together. It’s just right now the popularity on a hot summer day is overwhelming,” said Rob MacPherson, River Bend Golf and Recreation Area general manager.

“There are times we run out of parking, there are big crowds. It gets to the point where on a Saturday or Sunday there can be long lineups to tube that can be half an hour or 45 minutes to float down the lazy river.”

Discovery Canyon is a seasonal water park, located next to the River Bend Golf and Recreation Area clubhouse, that aims to be open from June until September long weekend, depending on weather. The free play area features natural river-fed bubbling pools of water, tube floating, trickling rivulets, a wading pool and more.

On hot Saturdays or Sundays, the site has had up to 2,000 people there, MacPherson noted.

People interested in going to Discovery Canyon are encouraged to visit the park earlier in the day or after 4 p.m., when crowds will be smaller. Alternatively, people could visit on weekdays, which will typically be less busy.

“Discovery Canyon grew past the point of what the city envisioned for the site. In the future we’re going to discuss how we’re going to manage that and come up with some controls,” he said, adding there will be a meeting this winter to discuss possible solutions.

“At some point, we’re going to have to say to people, ‘We’re full. We need you to come back another day.’ The problem with that is people … come from Edmonton, Calgary and numerous places from out of town – they’re coming from a long way so you’d hate to turn them away.”

This summer has been hot and dry, which has drawn more people to Discovery Canyon, MacPherson added.

“We’re not even halfway through August and we’re already at 2022’s numbers. We’ve got three weeks left in the season. It’s been very popular, it’s a great amenity and brings people to Red Deer. But we’ve got to try to manage it so everybody has a better experience down there.”

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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