Alberta parks campground reservations open Monday

Click to play video: 'What you need to know before camping in Alberta'
What you need to know before camping in Alberta
Global Calgary's Dallas Flexhaug gets some camping advice – May 15, 2017

Summertime might be something we only dream about at this time of year, but for avid campers in Alberta, this is precisely the time they need to start thinking about their outdoor plans for the seasons ahead.

On Monday, reservations open for group camping sites across the Alberta parks system. It’s the start of a phased-in approach to booking spots for the summer.

Comfort camping reservations open on Feb. 12, while individual campsite bookings open on Feb. 20. Bookings can be made 90 days in advance.

“They go quickly,” said Alberta environment minister Shannon Phillips. “You’ve got to plan ahead a little bit, particularly if you want some of those group camp spots that can be really, really nice.”

READ MORE: Parks Canada to open 2018 camping reservations

Phillips said the parks system saw high demand in 2017 for use by Alberta’s outdoor enthusiasts and is anticipating another busy year.

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“Last year, 164,000 online camping reservations were made,” Phillips said.

“Albertans love their parks and they love to keep their money in our communities, supporting small businesses here and the communities beside the parks, which I think is great.”

Phillips said 2018 will also be a year of upgrades as a number of parks will see long-needed improvements.

“We haven’t invested capital in our parks, really since [Premier Peter] Lougheed,” Phillips said. “It’s been about 30 to 35 years for a lot of these parks. That’s why as a government, we have made it a priority.”

The Alberta government is investing $239 million over five years for upgrades to things like hiking trails, shower buildings and other amenities.

“We know Albertans want to see a high-quality outdoor experience.”

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