Next time Carrie Turberfield goes camping she’s bringing her paintball gun for protection.
Turberfield, a group of friends and their young children went out to Wolf Creek campground last Saturday hoping to spend the long weekend unwinding in front of a campfire.
But things went sour on Sunday evening after a group of teens pelted them with rocks and kept them up until nearly 4 a.m. Monday morning.
“They wrecked our weekend,” said Turberfield.
“We figured it’s a small campground with two playgrounds — it’ll be perfect. It’ll be quiet.”
They were wrong.
At about 11 p.m. the noise started.
“We could hear this music and people hooting and hollering. It was loud enough that I was concerned the younger kids would be woken up.”
She went down and asked the commissionaire to talk to the kids. He did and the music stopped for about half an hour.
Then it started again and things began to get out of control, said Turberfield.
As the night progressed, more people showed up. They parked their cars outside the campground’s front gate and walked into the site toting beer and shooting pellet guns at each other.
“There was one girl walking and talking on her cellphone saying, ‘I can’t find the site, I can’t find the site,’ just hammered drunk and she didn’t look more than 15,” said Turberfield.
“I thought, ‘What is going on here?’ This is ridiculous.”
Over the next few hours the commissionaire went down to the site a dozen times to tell the teens to keep quiet.
Turberfield called the RCMP, who responded a half hour later.
They did a quick sweep of the site and left.
“The group of 40 or 50 people managed to hide in the bushes so it only looked like there were 10 of them,” she said.
At 3:30 a.m. they were still at it.
Turberfield went down to talk to the commissionaire one last time and on the way back to her site she realized she was being followed.
“I heard a noise in the bush and there’s a guy walking parallel with me in the bush.”
She hurried back to her campsite and sat at the picnic table.
Then out of nowhere came a rock the size of a softball.
“I jumped up and I yelled; I was mad at that point.
“He threw a couple more down and I got hit with them — that pissed me off even more.”
Turberfield and her friends chased him through the bush.
“I thought, ‘You ignorant little brats, this is a family campground and you’re out here making all this noise, then you have the audacity to throw rocks at somebody,’” said Turberfield.
Finally, the commissionaire laid down the law. He gave them 15 minutes to shut up or clear out or they’d call the RCMP again.
“They bee-lined out of there so fast all that was left was their chairs and tents,” said Turberfield.
She didn’t see them again.
Wolf Creek is the only campground in the Yukon with a commissionaire.
On Sunday night he tried to contact the Parks officers, but they were sleeping off a 24-hour shift of keeping the peace at Pine Lake campground after a melee erupted there on Saturday night.
There were 70 to 100 people partying around Pine Lake, said Yukon’s park officer supervisor Ryan Leef, who was called to the site by Haines Junction RCMP at 11:30 Saturday night.
“There were large fires, tons of booze, loud music, swearing, shouting and people staggering down the roadways drunk.
“Some people were leaning up against their vehicles passed out, some were puking all over themselves,” said Leef.
“It was your typical image of an unruly bush party.”
There was one attempt to light a fire in the outhouse and signs in the park were damaged from vehicles driving over them.
Ten park officers arrived at Pine Lake at 1:30 a.m.; they systematically moved through the campground shutting down the parties.
“We told everyone they had to shut down and go to bed,” said Leef.
“There were a lot of underage kids on the site who tried to hide the booze they had, but it wasn’t successful because there was so much.”
They officers hung out until the next morning, then went back to the sites and evicted about 100 people from the campground and handed out four public nuisance tickets.
“We didn’t engage in evictions the night before because we couldn’t be sure who would be a sober driver and who wouldn’t,” said Leef.
Although he wasn’t surprised to see the ruckus at the campground, it’s something that’s become less common in the Yukon, he said.
In 2004, the territory instituted a park officer program where officers patrol the sites each weekend.
Provinces such as Saskatchewan, Ontario and BC have imposed liquor bans on provincial campgrounds over the May long weekend.
“We haven’t gone that road and I don’t think we will,” said Leef.
“It is a busy weekend, all the campgrounds are full, but for the most part it’s a very quiet and enjoyable weekend all around.”
If campers have a problem with partying, Leef asks they call the park officer office at 456-3974.