Okotoks Bible Camp Redevelopment
The Okotoks Bible Camp is slated for redevelopment. Years ago, there were two campgrounds just west of us here at Riverbend. We had another privately owned operation called Wilderness Campground. They were located in the area at the base of the hill with their entrance along North Railway just before the east bound road curves and goes up the hill and on to our entrance.
The second campground neighbor was the Okotoks Bible Camp which was south of Wilderness along the river. Both camps ceased operations a number of years ago. After closing, Wilderness Campground fell into disrepair. The campground infrastructure was removed or became overgrown with vegetation. With the natural features of both properties mostly undisturbed, the area has become a haven for wildlife and birds.
Okotoks Buys Bible Camp
In 2019, an annexation on the eastern edge of Okotoks brought these properties into the town. Late that year the Town purchased the 28.8-acre Bible Camp property with the intention of turning it into an area for public use and public access to the river. Riverfront Lands is what the property was called at the time of purchase.
Through extensive consultation with Okotoks residents and Indigenous partners they have settled on plans for the property. Iitopatopa. is the new park name. This is from an Indiginouse word meaning “A place where we return to often.” The phonetic pronunciation is e’-toba’-toba
Iitopatopa Park Plan
The overall concept for Iitopatopa Park is to provide outdoor recreation opportunities year-round. There are five zones of the property. These take into consideration the different features of the property from wooded areas to an open grassy meadow. There is currently an entrance road in off 48th Street just north of the river. There is also an existing building.
Work will begin this year with the construction of three picnic shelters. Town planners are considering Nature trails, playgrounds, a disc golf course, powwow and tipi sites. Winter recreation activities under consideration are an ice-skating loop with seating and firepit area, cross country ski trails, and snowshoe trails.
These are ambitious plans for this property on our western border. You can learn more about the plan and follow progress with this landing page on the Town of Okotoks website.
Once the Okotoks Bible Camp redevelopment is complete, Iitopatopa Park will be on our list of things to do in Okotoks. To check out ideas of other things to do in our area that are currently on the list check out this page on our website.