Albertans trying to book a campsite online were frustrated by technical problems Thursday after the website was flooded with high traffic.
In a Twitter post, Alberta Parks said the booking website, which opened to reservations Thursday, is “running slowly,” but that reservations are still going through.
Users commenting on Facebook and Twitter reported trying to book for hours, or facing broken connections when they tried to pay for their reservations.
According to Alberta Environment and Parks, 2020 was the busiest camping season on record with nearly 290,000 reservations, compared with 193,000 in 2019. Last year, high demand led the site to crash soon after the portal opened.
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, similar visitation numbers are expected this season.
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Camping fees are also going up this year, between $1 and $3 a night. According to February’s provincial budget, the government expects to pull in an additional $20 million in revenue from fees.
On Wednesday, NDP municipal affairs critic Joe Ceci raised the alarm over what he called “nickel-and-diming” by the UCP government.
Environment and Parks Minister Jason Nixon said Wednesday the anticipated increase in parks visitors will bump up revenue and strain on the parks system, adding that camping fees were also hiked by the NDP by $1 to $3 in 2016.
According to the ministry’s business plan, about $125 million will go to running parks in 2021-22, about $6 million more than the government forecasts for 2020-21.
Camping fees vary based on sites and services. For every reservation made over the phone or online, there is a $12 non-refundable booking fee. Basic sites range from $8 to $29 a night without any hookups such as electric, water or sewer, each of which cost an extra $8 per night.
More to come