Campers across the province got another chance to reserve a summer campsite Friday morning. In the first half an hour 1,500 people had successfully booked a site using Saskatchewan Parks' online reservation website.
The system was plagued by slow responses and other technical glitches earlier this week. However, veteran campers like Marcel Voyer say the new online booking system is still much better than the old first-come, first-serve system.
'It's sad to see other people who have camped in the same site for years and now have lost any site that they want,' - Marcel Voyer
"You don't want to drive on a Friday afternoon for two to three hours at 10 miles to the gallon, then arrive at a park with a first-come system and get stuck in the over flow [camping] and not even that because there's no room," Voyer said.
Voyer and his family have been camping in Saskatchewan since the 70s. On Wednesday, they were able to book two campsites side by side at Pike Lake for the middle of August. However, Voyer admits they had several different devices running while they booked. He thinks they were among the lucky ones.
"It's worked for us, but you're on pins and needles [wondering] if you're going to get what you want," Voyer said. "It's sad to see other people who have camped in the same site for years and now have lost any site that they want."
After more technical problems with the online booking site on Wednesday, the province is hoping a change will alleviate the problems.
Initially, eight campgrounds were supposed to become available for booking this morning. But, in an effort to alleviate the clogged website, the province changed it so that sites at only three campgrounds were up for grabs Friday, at Crooked Lake, Duck Mountain, and Good Spirit Lake.
Some of the other campgrounds will be open for reservations on Saturday and the rest on Tuesday.
The new launch schedule for these parks is:
- Saturday, March 8, 7:00 am, CST: Greenwater Lake, Moose Mountain
- Tuesday, March 11, 7:00 am, CST: Buffalo Pound, Echo Valley, Rowan's Ravine
The province is also asking customers to help booking run smoother.
"Please reduce the number of devices you are using to access the reservation website. Select one device: your computer, tablet or smart phone, to complete your transaction," Saskatchewan Parks said in a press release.
While the reserve-a-site online booking tool was running more smoothly on Friday, there are customer reports of technical issues with the site and the mobile booking app on Saskatchewan Parks' Facebook page.