SASKATOON -- Campgrounds were packed with people looking to enjoy the nice weather, great outdoors and the first three-day weekend since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted on July 11.

Matthew Lee made his way to Pike Lake Provincial Park to camp with family, traveling from La Ronge.

“The first night was already just a blast and a half. I’ve had so much fun seeing everybody’s friendly faces.”

Joining Lee are 22 family members from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. They have been waiting for the opportunity to gather after Lee's grandfather Wayne Lee, 70, passed away. The pandemic put plans on hold with inter-provincial travel closed off and other restrictions in place.

“This weekend what we're doing is a family memorial trip for my late grandfather who passed away last year,” said Lee. “We all wanted to do something in the old man’s honour.”

The mighty Lee contingent weren’t the only ones packing into the Pike Lake.

“When it comes to sites you can reserve, we are at capacity,” said Dan French, executive director of park operations for Saskatchewan Parks. 

French said the parks have been busy since the beginning of the season and have stayed busy since the beginning of July after the schoolyear ended. The province's parks are also seeing lots of day visitors come out to the beaches at spots like Pike Lake, Blackstrap, and Good Spirit.

“Our day-use visitors are off the charts.”

Sturgeon Lake Regional Park which has been busy all summer is jam-packed this weekend. The park  hosted a volleyball tournament, horseshoe tournament and held a beach party with fireworks on Saturday.

“It has been unprecedented actually,” said Melanie Neufeld who manages Sturgeon Lake Regional Park. “We can’t take any more campers, we are like beyond full staff, and we called in more people.”

Fire bans remain in place at some of the provincial parks.