Manitobans left frustrated as demand for campsite reservations skyrockets

The number of Manitobans hoping to book campsites, cabins or group-use areas has more than quadrupled compared to last year, and the rush for a reservation has left many people frustrated.

By 7 a.m. on Monday, in the opening minute for campground reservations, 12,825 people signed on to get their reservations, according to the province. At the same time in 2020, it was 2,804 people.

The province noted that many people also sign on with multiple devices and browsers.

By 11 a.m., Manitoba Parks had made 10,668 reservations. By the same time last year, it has taken 5,706 reservations.

The province noted that during the rush for reservations on Monday morning, there was a technical issue, but it was quickly resolved.

STUCK IN LINE

A number of people took to social media on Monday morning, seemingly frustrated with the province’s booking system.

Several Manitobans said that they were kicked out of the line, with many others saying they waited hours for a reservation.

I was ticket 1844 and then got to the last dot and then got kicked out with an error, please try again message. So not impressed that I’m now 20,530..�� pic.twitter.com/zvOJJPnTpz

— Brett Paskaruk (@l3rettAshley) April 5, 2021

 

I waited 1h10m to gain access to the site then managed to log in. Once logged in it now says I don't have a valid ticket and to go back in line?

— Eric Boisjoli (@erkswerks) April 5, 2021

Others called on the province to fix its booking system.

I was 1248 this morning, got booted to over 21000. You guys seriously need to fix this, a alot of us have lost out in year when there's already going to be limits to what we can enjoy.

— Hadmatter73 (@TomLoughlin6) April 5, 2021

I was in. Tried to login and it crashed now I’m at the end of the line again. You think they would have fixed the system after last years fiasco ��

— Evelyn Bruneau (@evelynbruneau) April 5, 2021

STAGGERING RESERVATIONS

This year the province has introduced staggered reservation dates to make it easier for Manitobans to book their camping trips.

This means that on April 5 reservations opened up for cabins, yurts and group-use areas at Birds Hill Provincial Park. On April 7, inventory will open up for Winnipeg Beach and campgrounds in Whiteshell Provincial Park. Then, on April 12, the reservations will open for the rest of the parks.

Elisabeth Ostrop with the provincial government suggests that those hoping to book a reservation should be prepared with their user ID and password.

“There’s going to be a lot of people trying to get a site at the same time, so at 7 a.m., you’re going to be in line or in the queue and it will take a while to get through to your turn,” she said.

Ostrop noted the province also limits people to three reservations per session. A person can still make more than three reservations, but they will have to get back in line.

HELPFUL TIPS

Ostrop suggested that people should also try looking at different dates and locations than they may have initially planned.

“Try other parts of the week, maybe midweek isn’t as busy or try a new park,” she said.

“Everybody has their favourite places to go, but maybe it’s time to explore and get to know other parts of Manitoba.”

She said that if people do not get their ideal date, they should check for late-season cancellations.

“People do change their minds later in the season and they might have booked a site and not actually want to go on that particular weekend,” she said.

“So if you check on a Monday or a Tuesday for availability on that following weekend, you might find campsites available that you initially wanted.”

More information on the province’s campgrounds can be found online. 

- With files from CTV’s Michael Hutchinson and Jeff Keele.