Thursday, 21 March 2013 05:28

Sask. Parks’ officials happy campers about southwest camping registrations

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Campgrounds in southwest and west central Saskatchewan are popular.


Mary Anne Wihak, the director of visitor experiences with Sask. Parks, Culture and Sport said recently the pre-scheduled, staggered-style launches to the camping spot season went extremely well for both the province and the southwest/west-central areas.
“We were really pleased with the launch. There were a few problems with the first launch (March 4),” explained Wihak who said there was some bottlenecking of the direct payments. “We’ve got those wrinkles ironed out. We’ve been hearing a lot of positive comments about their experiences this year.
“Last year, (we) did it all once and this year we did grouping certain areas together in specific launches (back to back to back).”
Southwest and west central parks in 2012 had more than 4,700 to open the registration season with the new registration format. In 2013, an even more impressive 5,800 spots were booked for the southwest and west central parks. The area’s launch was March 6.
Provincially in 2012, the online reservation system saw 13,500 campsites booked on opening day, with 15,014 in the first week. By creating staggered release dates, the website traffic was spread out through the week, giving more campers the opportunity to book a site. It resulted in 19,436 bookings over the week which was a 29.5 per cent increase over last year.
Wihak explained while there are a lot of camping spots booked already, there are still a lot of spots available and campers still have a lot of choice.
She said it’s just some specific spots in certain campgrounds on certain days may be gone and it’s just a matter of pitching a tent a few sites over.
Saskatchewan Provincial Park camping and vacation planning info 
Sask. Parks, Culture and Sports said the Government has invested $33 million to improve Saskatchewan’s provincial parks from 2008 to 2012. 
Government is continuing to improve Saskatchewan’s provincial parks by investing, over and above base capital funding, an additional $10 million for park upgrades from 2012 to 2016.
Wihak said this new system and announced launches has definitely been a success. She is happy the government decided to go this route.
“We were one of the last jurisdictions in Canada to go through this route,” said Wihak. “Our campers were calling for it. It’s the sign of the times with the call centre opening up.
“We’re relying in the company CAMUS Inc. to handle the technical aspect of the bookings. They represent a lot of jurisdictions across North America.” 
Those looking to book but need some assistance or have some questions, can phone the help line at 306-787-8676 or 1-800-205-7070; email parks.info@ gov.sk.ca or go directly to the registration website at:www.saskparks.net/SimpleBooking.
It will remain open until the September long weekend.
For those campers who still prefer to phone to make reservations, contact the call centre at 1-855-737-7275. Also, visit www.saskparks.net or the Saskatchewan Parks’ Facebook page www.facebook.com /saskparks for info about the parks.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor

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