on our last road trip, jenn and i made our way through alberta’s badlands. for the most part, we loved that part of the trip. we camped at a nice site on a river by the very cool bleriot cable ferry, we loved the tyrrell museum, we loved dinosaur provincial park…but what sucked, what really sucked, was camping at the shit hole known as little fish lake provincial park.
how’d we end up at such a dump? well, after spending the day at the royal tyrrell museum, we continued east to dinosaur provincial park. it was getting late in the day so we looked at the map for somewhere to camp en route. there was little fish lake, not too far out of the way, so we headed there.
but from the highway to little fish lake you must drive on 25 km (each way) of gravel road. we hadn’t noticed this on the map and were unpleasantly surprised by it. it wasn’t entirely rutted out but after some sketchy previous experiences with unintentional 4×4 camping, we were leery, for sure — that’s a long way on a gravel road we didn’t know. there weren’t any other camping options though so we pressed on.
after almost half an hour on that shitty road through boring, gross farm land, we arrived at the lake, and it was a fucking dump. the lake itself was like one big slimy piece of algae due to all the fertilizer runoff from the surrounding farms. there were sun-bleached, nearly impossible to read signs saying not to swim, not to drink the water, not to eat any fish that come from the lake, because of the poisonous algae bloom. there were the remains of a boat launch that no one had used in years, judging by the horrible condition of it and the abundance of scrub trees and bushes that had overgrown it.
the camp sites were just spaces between small trees in a grass field. there would be zero privacy, if anyone else had the misfortune to stumble on the place at the same time as you. there were no hiking or walking trails because there was nothing to see or do around the lake. there were no sizable trees or hills or anything else of any note. the place had pit toilets and garbage cans, and that’s about the only positive things i can say for little fish lake provincial park.
now guess how much the province charged per night at this shit hole. $20! $20 per night to camp by a poisonous, unusable lake in a desolate wasteland, 25 km down a fucking gravel road, with no possibility for recreation for as far as you can see. we couldn’t believe it, it was such insult to injury. we were pissed we had even come there in the first place and couldn’t imagine paying $20 for the privilege, so we didn’t. fuck them.
when we got home, i went to the alberta parks website to give them my thoughts on little fish lake provincial park. i told them almost exactly what i just wrote here. the online form said i could expect to hear back from them in a week or two. that was two months ago and so far i haven’t heard any explanation of why that province is pissing money away on maintenance costs like bathrooms, garbage, mowing grass, and camp hosts at such a shitty location or why they granted a poisonous dump ‘provincial park’ status. these are questions i’d love to know the answers to.
so to all visiting drumheller and alberta’s badlands: stay away from little fish lake. it is a complete and utter piece of shit, not even suitable for crashing at in the middle of long drives.