West Country will be under a close eye this summer

RCMP and other enforcement agencies will be keeping a close eye on the West Country this spring and summer as the camping season ramps up.

RCMP and other enforcement agencies will be keeping a close eye on the West Country this spring and summer as the camping season ramps up.

Sundre RCMP Sgt. Percy Leipnitz said there will be a zero tolerance policy instituted during the Victoria Day long weekend in an effort to curb infractions that are typically seen in the camping season. This means there will be a concerted effort to make sure there is a large visible presence when people make their way west.

“Every year throughout the summer the influx is large,” said Leipnitz. “We will be making sure people are not getting out of control and breaking the law. For the most part, people are very good but there are instances where large groups gather to party so we need to make sure they are not going to endanger themselves or other people, or the environment.”

A combined force of more than 100 RCMP, municipal enforcement officers, conservation officers, and fish and wildlife officers will be on patrol from Sundre to Rocky Mountain House to make sure the rowdiness stays to a minimum.

Officers will check for drinking and driving not only in cars and trucks, but with off-road vehicles as well. They will be also look for people who are not cleaning up after themselves and damaging property.

Details on the planned enforcement for the long weekend are still being worked out and more information will be released later this month.

Officers see the same patterns year after year and are seeing more people come throughout the camping season.

Leipnitz said most times the problems occur when it larger groups congregate on the long weekends. He hopes the increased presence of officers and the zero tolerance policy will set the tone for a summer and minimize people breaking the law.

“We would like to see people come out and respect the law and the wilderness areas, but if not we will be there to stop them,” said Leipnitz.

Clearwater County Deputy Reeve Earl Graham said he is encouraged by the partnerships between enforcement agencies and knows that planning has been in the works for months in advance of the camping rush.

He has seen some of what happens during the long weekend when travelling with enforcement agencies and said people don’t want to know the things they find after campers have left.

“We hope people go out and respect the West Country by doing the right thing and cleaning up their garbage, and not break the law,” said Graham.

cpapke@bprda.wpengine.com

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