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Alberta campsite bookings up 100% over 2020 on opening day

Click to play video: 'Alberta opens provincial park camping reservations on March 4' Alberta opens provincial park camping reservations on March 4
WATCH: Alberta Parks opened its online camping reservation system for the 2021 season on March 4. Karen Ung joined the morning news with some some tips on the great locations, how best to reserve spots and make the most of your camping season. – Mar 4, 2021

Thursday was the opening day for online reservations for Alberta Parks campsites and Albertans came to play.

Thousands “enthusiastically booked their campsites on opening day,” a spokesperson for Alberta Environment and Parks said in an email to Global News.

This year, as of 4 p.m. Thursday, there were 21,398 reservations made, which is 10,801 more than opening day of March 2020 — an increase of more than 100 per cent.

Read more: Alberta to open provincial park camping reservations March 4

There were also 105,548 user sessions on reserve.albertaparks.ca, which is more than four times higher than opening day last March.

If you didn’t reserve your site on Thursday, don’t worry.

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“Many great sites and dates are still available,” the ministry spokesperson said. “In fact, there are sites at 26 campgrounds with reservations still available for the May long weekend.”

Read more: Provincial website slammed as thousands of Albertans try to book campsites

In a series of messages on Twitter Friday, Alberta Parks said it’s heard concerns about people posting their campsite reservations for resale.

“This is not allowed,” the ministry stressed. “Reservations are non-transferable.”

Alberta Parks asked people to report these ads or posts and said it would cancel the reservation of anyone trying to resell their campsites.

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The bookings that opened Thursday were only for stays up to 90 days in advance (June 2).

Those looking for spots can continue checking — especially the Monday or Tuesday before the weekend you’re hoping for — because there are always cancellations.

There are also 5,000 first-come first-served sites across Alberta.

Click to play video: 'Alberta Parks prepares for online camping reservations to begin March 4' Alberta Parks prepares for online camping reservations to begin March 4
Alberta Parks prepares for online camping reservations to begin March 4 – Mar 4, 2021

Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, Alberta Parks said group camping bookings remain closed.

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Camping fees are going up. In the Alberta budget tabled Feb. 25, the province is raising camping fees by $1 to $3 in 2021-22.

A number of measures were put in place at provincial campgrounds last year to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Those measures will remain in place this summer, according to Alberta Parks.

— With files from Caley Ramsay, Global News

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