Pincher Creek RCMP (Alberta) has requested the public to avoid the Cottonwood Campground for the next three days due to a copper wire theft that caused a power outage across the site. On May 4, Alberta Parks, which manages the campground near the Oldman River Dam, reported the theft, according to Const. Rachel Welsh.
Dave Hagedorn, Alberta Parks chief ranger for southwestern Alberta, stated that crews would be on-site throughout the weekend to assess the extent of the damage.
“It remains to be seen if the damage will significantly impact the site’s availability this season,” he said. Welsh mentioned that copper wire thefts are not uncommon in the area, as thieves had recently targeted wind turbines at a wind farm near Pincher Station.
The theft at the campground damaged several electrical panels, all of which need to be replaced, Welsh noted. Mounties are actively investigating both wire thefts. According to Welsh, the theft at the campground occurred after it closed last September.
The campground’s main entrance was closed to vehicle traffic, but Alberta Parks kept another gate open, allowing parents access to a children’s play area on the east side of the campground. The location, popular among young families and dog walkers, is easily accessible on foot, Welsh added.
Pincher Creek RCMP urges anyone who has witnessed suspicious activity near the campground to call their non-emergency line at 403-627-6010.
Alberta Crime Stoppers also welcomes anonymous tips at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), online at p3tips.com, or through the P3 Tips app, available for download through the Apple Store and Google Play.
Incidents like these can also have significant implications for private campground owners and operators as the public campground’s closure could mean fewer visitors in the area.
Damage caused by thefts often leads to unexpected expenses and potential loss of revenue due to site closures and repairing damaged infrastructure. These incidents also highlight the importance of security measures and vigilance within campgrounds.
Owners and operators are encouraged to collaborate with local law enforcement to develop best practices for maintaining security and preventing theft at their facilities.
By working together, the camping community and law enforcement can help ensure the safety of campgrounds and create a more enjoyable experience for visitors.