PEI

Why you will have to pay in advance for P.E.I. campsites this year

In expectation of a busy season, P.E.I. provincial parks have changed their policy for booking campsites.

‘We just want to make sure it's done fairly’

Camping has proven to be a popular pastime during the pandemic. (Green Park Campground/Facebook)

In expectation of a busy season, P.E.I. provincial parks have changed their policy for booking campsites.

In past years the sites could be booked with a deposit, but this year you will have to pay in full in advance. Tourism Minister Matthew McKay said the idea is to stop people from booking a campsite and then not showing up.

"We don't want to have a vacant campsite when somebody else was there waiting for it. We want to make sure that they're getting used," said McKay.

"A lot of the complaints that we've got in the past is people can't access the parks. They can't get in to use them. They've tried booking them and they're full. So we just want to make sure it's done fairly."

The parks will reimburse fees if the reservation is cancelled 72 hours in advance.

The parks operated at 50 per cent capacity last year. McKay said the main reason for that was to limit competition with private campgrounds in what was expected to be a down year during the first summer of the pandemic.

But park officials are expecting a lot of demand from campers this summer.

The campgrounds open June 4, and the pandemic is still creating a lot of uncertainties about who will be able to come.

Currently the province is closed to off-Island tourists, but Premier Dennis King has said he expects an Atlantic bubble to open in June.

As for opening to the rest of Canada, McKay said he does not expect those borders to open before late summer or September. People are still free to book campsites, however, if they are feeling optimistic.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Angela Walker

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