Cabin-like camping coming to P.E.I. National Park

Starting next year, campers at P.E.I. National Park will not have to bring their own accommodations.

Award draws attention to park's camp sites

oTENTik Parks Canada camp sites include semi-permanent structures with bunks, tables, chairs and sometimes stoves. (Parks Canada)

Starting next year, campers at P.E.I. National Park will not have to bring their own accommodations.

Some other national parks in the Maritimes, such as Fundy and Kejimkujik, already offer rentals of cabin-like structures which include bunk beds and a table and chairs.

"There's a new product that's coming down the line now. It's called oTENTik. Essentially it's a wooden frame with a canvas top, like a canvas tent top. And it sleeps four to six people, and some of them have stoves equipped, so they're a little more semi-permanent," said Tara McNally MacPhee, the visitor experience coordinator for the park.

oTENTik camping will come to P.E.I. National Park in 2014. At Fundy and Kejimkujik it costs $70 to $100 a night.

In some areas of Kejimkujik and Kouchigouguac wireless internet service is also available, but there are no plans for that at P.E.I. National Park yet.

Campgrounds popular in 2013

P.E.I. National Park saw a 30 per cent increase in sales on the first day of campground reservations this year.

McNally MacPhee said reservations have been on the rise over the last few years, but this year saw a big jump after P.E.I. beat Terra Nova and Banff as Canada's best national park for camping in the people's choice awards.

"That's definitely a bonus for us," said McNally MacPhee.

"There was all kinds of publicity around that, so that was great."

McNally MacPhee says the Cavendish Beach Music Festival also helped with first-day sales. Six hundred campsites over the three-day concert sold out in an hour-and-a-half.

Parks Canada has also been working to give potential campers a better idea of what they are getting. Its new reservation website includes photos of each campsite.

McNally MacPhee said a new, more user-friendly, booking system should make it easier for people to find what they want.

"People who are looking for something in particular, they really have an opportunity to go on there and make sure that the site that they're thinking about in their head matches the site that they're able to actually secure," she said.