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Cavan Lake; Cypress County’s best kept secret

Posted on August 18, 2015 by 40 Mile Commentator

By Tim Kalinowski
Cavan Lake may be Cypress County’s best kept secret as far as camping and fishing goes. The Cypress Hills tend to get all the attention regionally, and the numbers, but Cavan Lake, (located about 25 km east of Medicine Hat just south of Hwy. #1), has built up a reputation as a place where locals can go to enjoy the summer trailer season without having to go too far from home. Or as campground hostess and groundskeeper Dawn Penner puts it:
“The word is spreading and the word is: Come to Cavan Lake,” says Dawn.
Penner and her husband Roger took over hosting and groundskeeper duties at Cavan Lake about three years ago. For Roger and Dawn, who live in their own motorhome all year long in warm and sunny locales, it was a golden opportunity.
“We really love the place,” confirms Roger. “We camped here a few times prior to us taking this job and we talked to the previous caretaker who told us he was retiring. There are lots of friendly seasonal people here, and, of course, we love the lake and the trees here. It’s really an oasis in the desert. That’s the way we think of it.”
The biggest part of the job this year, says Dawn, has been keeping the park green and inviting despite high daytime temperatures. Their efforts have paid off. The numbers they have seen this year are looking slightly better than last year’s. Their powered sites are generally fully booked up every weekend.
“It’s a beautiful place to spend the summer,” explains Dawn. “Friendly people live out here. There’s the fishing. We have a park for kids. And it’s not too far from the city. If you come out here and forget something it’s just a short drive in.”
The core of Cavan Lake’s motorhome traffic is the seasonal campers who spend up to four months of the summer out at the lake.
“We have 44 seasonal sites booked,” says Roger. “And we have two types of seasonal people. We’ve got the retired people that go home on the weekend and come her during the week. And we’ve got the working people that come out on the weekends.”
Together these seasonal campers form a tight knit summer community. However, says Roger, everyone who lives at Cavan Lake loves the variety of occasional, highway travellers who come through the area and end up spending a day or two at the campground.
“We get a least a half dozen people at least who come off the highway per week,” says Roger. “We get everything from bicyclists to motorcycles. Last week we even had a couple from Switzerland that shipped their motorhome to Baltimore. And then they travelled the U.S. and Canada in their Swiss registered and licenced motorhome.”
Sharon Trainer is a seasonal camper at Cavan Lake who has become good friends with the Penners over her past two years of staying in the campground. She says in terms of nature, friendly neighbours, convenience and peaceful days and nights Cavan Lake can’t be beat.
“I really like the peace and quiet and that it is close to town. I love the nature and the birds on the lake. We have made good friends here. It’s a great place to spend the summer,” says Trainer.
For more information on Cavan Lake and booking information call 403-979-1788 or book online at

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