Manitobans can start booking summer campsites as of Monday morning.
The province’s reservation system is accepting bookings over three phases, starting with Birds Hill Park Monday — expanding to Winnipeg Beach, Falcon Beach, Caddy Lake and White Lake, among others, on Wednesday.
All other bookings open April 12.
For camping enthusiasts — especially this year, due to a pandemic-affected decline in out-of-province travel — booking campsites is an annual ritual that doesn’t come without stress.
Camper Christie Galaniuk told 680 CJOB the advance planning needed to book months of dates in one shot is a part of the whole experience.
“Usually around February, early March I’ve got the calendar out and I’m trying to figure out which weekends in the summer, if any, my husband will be on call,” said Galaniuk.
“It’s also totally dependent on what the kids’ football schedule is like, so I go in with the hopes that everything I’ve got planned out will work, but I enjoy the planning part of it… It’s all part of the fun for me.
“It can definitely be frustrating… I think I have three or four bookings I have to do this morning for Birds Hill. I think I’ll have a browser or two on my laptop open, an iPad or two, my work phone and my personal phone going, all trying to get that spot in line… and see which one comes through for me today.”
Although Galaniuk said she enjoys the planning, it doesn’t mean she’s satisfied with the process. She told 680 CJOB she’d rather see some improvements to the system.
“I don’t do a lot of camping outside of Manitoba — I’ve done Ontario a few times, and even their system is a whole lot better than ours,” she said.
“You don’t have to have the entire summer planned out at the beginning of April. I would love to see some changes to the system.
“It’s intense when you’re trying to get on and get those reservations.”
That intensity was reflected on social media Monday, as Manitobans complained about the difficulty of getting to the front of the online queue and errors.
“They need to do something to fix this, but I shudder at the thought of having to do this more than 1 time per year. Would have to waste 3 days to book a few different locations,” tweeted one camper.
“I was hoping it would just be a decently quick clickity click and have a site for one of the long weekends. But here I am an hour later still waiting. How naive of me,” said another.
Global News has reached out to the province for comment on the reservation system.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, campers are required to follow all current public health orders while on provincial campsites.
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