Alberta Parks camping reservation website buckles under record load
CALGARY -- Alberta Parks fielded record demand for provincial campsite reservations Thursday, causing the website to crash.
According to AEP, roughly four times the number of people tried to make reservations compared to last year, resulting in 21,398 campsite bookings.
That is more than double the number of reservations made on the same day last year.
"Getting a campsite near Calgary is The Hunger Games," said Karen Ung, a volunteer Alberta Parks ambassador and outdoor blogger at playoutsideguide.com. "It is challenging."
She recommends avoiding the long weekend and if you missed out, don't be too discouraged.
"Today is actually the worst day because everybody is online at the same time," said Ung. "If you didn't get something today, try tonight, try tomorrow. It's a rolling 90 day window."
Bookings on Thursday only extended up to June 2, meaning lots of summer dates are still up for grabs.
Ung recommended avoiding long weekends, looking for midweek bookings and planning to go a little further afield, think Castle, not Kananaskis.
John Melville and his wife run the Alberta Camping Facebook group and said there are plenty of out of the way places to camp, from crown land to municipal and private campgrounds.
"You may have to hunt down those hidden gems," Melville said. "Municipal and county campgrounds all over the place so there is quite a few options for Albertans."
"You just have to get off the beaten path a little more sometimes and you can find them."
The province also holds roughly 5,000 campsites on a first-come-first-serve basis.