Bookings have already started to roll in with the announced reopening of the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary on Thursday, May 28.

Sanctuary manager Alyx Harris says they're ready to welcome people back, and expects many of the wolfdogs will be anxious to see visitors return.

"I think there are quite a few of the wolfdogs that absolutely have missed all their people watching that they get to do throughout the day," says Harris." I think the wolfdogs will be pretty excited to have people back."

"Some of the really shy wolfdogs may have more of an adjustment, but I think even for those guys they do get that enrichment from having people around."

COVID-19 protocols has been out into place, including safe physical distancing.

Both their interactive and introductory tours continue.

"Because there is less capacity on those tours, just to keep our numbers down, we do recommend booking, especially for the interactive tour." 

They have discontinued their sanctuary walk because it doesn't allow for safe physical distancing.

Instead, they have established a general admission that includes an affordable family rate.

"The general admission is going to be really nice, especially for families. We do have a family rate available that I think pretty helpful for families looking to get out of the house and have something to do with their kids."

Being able to reopen early in the relaunch by the province is a natural fit for the sanctuary.

"We're lucky that our facilities are essentially fully outdoors. It makes it a lot safer for people to come out and visit, so that's a huge perk. We're lucky that the wolfdogs want to be outside."

Among the changes is additional signage to provide further insight and information about wolves and wolfdogs. A fun worksheet has also been introduced for youth to work through during their visit.

A new visitors centre will be opening in the fall. It had originally been scheduled to open this month but was delayed due to COVID-19.

The sanctuary is home to 25 permanent wolfdogs, 10 ambassador wolfdogs, and a number available for adoption. 

The wolfdog ambassadors are the wolfdogs that take front and center stage at events and sanctuary interactions, to help educate the public about wolfdogs and the importance of wolf conservation.

The sanctuary was established in 2011 as a rescue organization dedicated to the rehabilitation and rehoming of displaced wolfdogs.

It's located 15 km west of Cochrane just off Hwy. 1A on Range Rd. 53. It's open Thursday to Monday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.