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Cold weather in store for campers

If you think it would be cool to go camping in Manitoba this Victoria Day weekend, you've got that right.

After the coldest winter in 116 years, the May long weekend will bring significantly colder-than-normal average highs between 15 C Friday to 18 C Sunday. That's down from the seasonal normals of about 20 C. Environment Canada is forecasting showers for Monday.

If you're planning to pitch a tent or set up a camper, you will have plenty of choice of campsites around the province. Provincial parks officials say reservations for campsites are down 20 per cent heading into this weekend, but they still expect it will be busy.

"The forecast for the weekend is good, so I imagine people will be making late decisions in terms of going camping, and they'll just walk up and get any available campsite," said Elisabeth Ostrop, manager of recreation and education services for Manitoba Parks.

"People with campers and trailers, they're up off the ground. I was at St. Malo Wednesday, and there were people arriving, ready to check in and get their summer season started."

The cold weather this spring has prevented some campsites from opening because of wet conditions.

"Rainbow Beach on Lake Dauphin, they had snow longer, and the ground is too wet to set up tents or campers. And at Porcupine Forest's North Steep Rock, they're not quite ready for campers -- they still had snow late last week. They're a little higher elevation," Ostrop said. "Lake Wellman campground in Duck Mountain, they weren't able to get all of their campsites open because of the conditions.

Leave your cooler of beer at home, as this is an alcohol-free weekend at all campgrounds.

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