From the time the gate was opened on Friday, there was a steady flow of people with wide grins heading into the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park to enjoy its many splendors.

Sarah Parker, executive director of the Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation (GRPF), says people were overjoyed when it was announced the park would be opened as the province begins to ease out of its COVID-19 protocol.

"The minute that announcement was made, there were people lined up, ready for that gate to come down yesterday," says Parker. 

"When I was there in the afternoon, it was a nearly filled parking lot. I think people were excited to get back to the park they love and get back to nature."

Walkers, hikers, rollerblades, cyclists, and families were eager to take a break from it all.

"There's a strong link between mental health and nature. I think we all could use a good dose of nature right now."

It isn't quite business as usual.

The washrooms are now opened for use but people need to bring their own toilet paper and hand sanitizer for health and safety reasons.

The visitor centre remains closed until Alberta Parks gives the all-clear.

People also need to practice safe physical distancing at all times.

Parker gives praises the park staff.

"They worked a lot of overtime on Thursday getting things ready in the park. We've got to give them a big shout out."