Interested in booking a campsite in Alberta’s mountains? Parks Canada has some tips

Parks Canada has launched reservations for Alberta’s national parks using an updated online reservation system.

Pamela Clark, Director of Visitor Experiences at Jasper National Park, said: “The queuing, site selection and payment process worked very smoothly despite the volume increase we experienced.”

Demand for campsites continues to grow and has increased significantly over the last three to four years.

“When we launched ( Parks Canada Online Reservation System) In 2015, we had about 1,800 pre-orders on launch day,” Clark said of Jasper. “Now, fast forward to 2023 and on launch day he has over 20,000 pre-orders.

Whistler Campground in Jasper National Park in Summer 2022.

By: Parks Canada

“People know we have a reservation system. They understand that’s the best way to secure a site that meets their needs,” she said. .

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“In 2019 and 2020, when we really started to recover, even in the use of national parks, what we have seen in the last four or five years is that people are looking at outdoor opportunities and nature. It is that we are drawn to escape from.”

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Jasper National Park opened front country (service) site reservations on March 16th. Bookings for backcountry sites opened on his March 20th.

“When a user logged in at 8am last Thursday morning, there were about 22,000+ people in the waiting room, but we were able to manage that number and the average wait time was about 30 minutes,” said Clark. say.

A phased approach to site booking will reduce overall volume and make booking sites run more smoothly. Parks Canada has separated backcountry bookings in Banff and Jasper, Clark said.

“Our old system wasn’t able to keep up with the volume we were experiencing, especially over the last three to four years, but we have increased volume significantly,” says Clark. “From last year to this year, we had more than 6,000 reservations.”

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For Banff National Park, front country site reservations will begin on Thursday, March 23rd. Backcountry site reservations started Wednesday morning.

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As other areas open, Clark offers some tips for people looking to book a spot.

“They need to visit our website — Parks Canada Reservations — and go through all the tips there. You will need to open your profile if you do not already have one, or update your profile if you have previously accessed the system. And you need to know well the area where you want to camp.

“Have a plan. Have some backup plans. This is very important.”

Clark said Jasper National Park has more than 2,000 campgrounds, making it the second largest campground in North America managed by a single park. In total, there are approximately 5,000 campsites in Sangaku National Park. In spite of the “plenty” of stock, demand is very high in July and August.

Whistler Campground in Jasper National Park in Summer 2022.

By: Parks Canada

Serviced front country campgrounds in Jasper National Park fill up within hours during peak months.

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“Since the launch date, there are no rooms available in July and August, but there are still plenty of seats available in May, June and September, and we are looking for a campervan with a little more flexibility in departure dates and not looking for .service site.

“At the moment, we are looking at October for serviced sites. From May through September, we have absolutely no vacancies at serviced sites,” says Clark. “They are really popular.”

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If you are unable to book a campsite in your desired area at your desired time, Parks Canada recommends considering off-peak hours or staying just outside the national park.

“There are also campgrounds on the outskirts of (Jasper National) Park — even in the Hinton area of ​​Mount Robson State Park.”

Alberta parks open to reservations for state campgrounds 90 days before the scheduled date of stay. For example, March 22nd will start booking camping trips for late June.

“And if you really have those dates in mind, you can check to see if there are any cancellations. Sometimes there are cancellations, so you might be the lucky one to get cancelled.”

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Backcountry sites are also an option for the more adventurous campers.

“There are still openings on some lesser-known backcountry trails,” says Clark. “It’s the iconic classics that fill up quickly: the Skyline and the Marine. There are no vacancies left in the summer. But pretty much every other trail we manage he available in the area.”

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And another great tip for Alberta park-goers?

“When they come to a national park, they assume control of these areas, follow special rules, put garbage in its place, and follow that wildlife-watching etiquette,” Clark said.

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“It’s very important that we all share in caring for these wild spaces.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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