Camp season begins
Fred Henne Park full for long weekend

Mike W. Bryant
Northern News Services

Yellowknife ( May 24/00) - Fred Henne Territorial Park is open for another busy summer season.

The local campground and recreational-use area has been open since May 15 and with the balmy weather that came in over the weekend, open campsites have been hard to come by.

"People have been coming in early on Wednesday just to make sure that they got a campsite for the weekend," said park engineer Michael Lynn.

"For the first weekend we had a full house, so it's really been a good start. It went really smooth. We had very little trouble."

According to Lynn, the weather was so nice over the weekend, some adventurous spirits have even braved taking a dip into Long Lake, which still has a fair portion of ice covering it.

"I saw some Yellowknife kids splashing around in there like it was summer," said an amazed Lynn.

There are approximately 80 campsites in use at the park at any given time. Some of the sites are currently being worked on by the city's public works department who are installing electrical service for RV campers.

Lynn said while most people who use the campground are local residents, he suspects that a few southerners were up to take advantage of the warm, long weekend at the park.

"Most people are from Yellowknife, but some people were from Switzerland and Germany," Lynn said.

"The ferry was out until last Friday so that maybe stopped some people from coming North," Lynn said.

One couple from Alberta -- who described themselves as "missionaries" -- are planning to spend the whole summer at the park in their camper-trailer. While they did say they are here "to tame all the bad guys" during their stay, they also hope to take advantage of the recreational opportunities available to them in the park.

"We'll do a little fishing and swimming, we hope so anyway," said a laughing Hugh McKenzie, who is with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Local residents Reg LaFleur and Barbara Hood were one couple who decided to spend the extra bucks during the week so they could be guaranteed a good spot for the weekend.

"We just wanted to get out of town and enjoy the sunshine," LaFleur said, not at all regretful that he payed $15 a day to keep his spot open for the Victoria Day long weekend.

Hood said that many Yellowknifers are missing out on a good campground just a short jaunt down the road from the city.

"You don't have to worry about the traffic on the Ingraham Trail," Hood said.

"Some people go all the way to the end of it and don't realize that they got this spot right in their own backyard."