North

Record number of people book N.W.T. parks online on opening day

While snow still covers the ground, eager campers flocked to the N.W.T. Parks online reservation system in record numbers on opening day last Wednesday.

1st day campground bookings boast 17 per cent increase over 2017

Over the two opening days last Wednesday and Thursday, Fred Henne Territorial Park located near Yellowknife was the most popular site for campers with 655 reservations. (Sara Minogue/CBC)

Snow may still cover the ground, but eager campers flocked to the N.W.T. Parks online reservation system in record numbers on opening day last Wednesday.

According to the Department of Industry, Tourism and Investment there were 710 reservations made that day — or about $101,900 in sales. That was a 17 per cent increase over first day reservations made last year.

Over the two official opening days last week — Wednesday and Thursday —  there were 278 bookings at Reid Lake Territorial Park, 263 at Prelude Lake Territorial Park, and 88 at Fort Providence Territorial Park. 

Fred Henne Territorial Park near Yellowknife was the most popular campground with 655 reservations made.

In total, the government reported $174,750 in sales over the two days, a seven per cent increase over 2017.

Most campers are from the Northwest Territories, followed by visitors from Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia. There were also a number of bookings from the United States, including reservations made from Michigan, California, Arizona and Virginia.

North Slave Regional Superintendent Kris Johnson attributed the popularity in part to the location of parks and improvements to camp sites like showers and playgrounds.

"Everybody is really getting out and enjoying the great outdoors and all the campgrounds really provide some great facilities to do that, it makes it easy," she said.

Issues with server speed

The NWT Parks and campgrounds website sports a new look, is mobile-friendly, and — the government says — updates have made it much faster than last year. 

Johnson said the updates helped with opening day this year, as in the past there have been issues with server speed.

"Every year we kind of cross our fingers that we're not going to break any servers or processors when the website opens because there's so much demand," Johnson said.

Several territorial parks begin opening in mid-May with the season ending in mid-September.

Last year a record number of 35,050 people visited the territory's parks.

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