Tuesday, 13 December 2011 10:08

Saskatchewan Provincial Parks set new visitation record

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Saskatchewan Government

2011 was a record year for Saskatchewan provincial parks with 3.37 million visits being recorded across the park system, which surpassed the previous record set in 2009. These numbers were finalized recently, making the announcement of a new real-time, online booking system timely.

"This new state of the art system will allow visitors to our parks to book their own campsites online 24/7 at any of the provincial parks that accept bookings," Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport Bill Hutchinson said. "This will provide our campers peace of mind knowing that their summer vacation is taken care of. We continue to engage with our customers and this system, along with the new date change, is in direct response to their needs."

The new system will start accepting bookings on March 12, 2012, at 8 a.m. CST online at www.saskparks.net. The new system will allow visitors to plan and book their vacation, pay for it at time of booking and receive instant confirmation, all in a matter of minutes. The system will display in real-time the inventory of each park that accepts reservations and allows visitors to select their own campsite while searching by park, date or campsite type; much like booking a hotel or airplane ticket online.

The new system will be available online at www.saskparks.net on March 1, 2012 to allow people to become familiar with the system prior to the opening date of March 12. Individuals who are not able to book online can still book by phone through the toll-free number, 1-855-737-7275. The system will allow people to book either well in advance of their trip or minutes before they leave and bookings can be made from any mobile device. People who choose not to book in advance are still able to register at any park upon arrival.

The Integrated Campground Management System was developed and implemented by Camis Inc., a supplier of campground reservation services from Ontario. Camis Inc. won the contract through an open call for proposals.

Along with the new program, a number of new parks will start accepting reservations; check www.saskparks.net for a list of all locations and more details on the new service.

The seasonal camping program will also be available once again this year. A new online application process will be in place for Echo Valley, Moose Mountain, Pike Lake and Rowan's Ravine based on a successful pilot introduced in 2011. For the remaining parks, seasonal packages will be mailed or can be accessed at www.saskparks.net in mid-January. The application deadline is February 14, with the draw being held February 21, 2012.

In 2011, there were more than 28,000 reservations made through Saskatchewan provincial parks reservation service. Over the last four years, the Ministry of Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport will have spent $33 million in upgrades and improvements to Saskatchewan's provincial parks. For the 2012 camping season there will be nearly 1,100 newly electrified campsites, along with a number of new or upgraded service centres, change houses, boat launches, playgrounds, picnic tables, barbeques and more.

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