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Alberta man creates website to scan for last-minute camping spots

Click to play video: 'Alberta-made website finds canceled park reservations' Alberta-made website finds canceled park reservations
Canmore’s Dan Thareja joins Global News Morning Calgary to discuss his website that finds Parks Canada reservation cancellations – May 16, 2022

May long weekend is fast approaching, and many Albertans may find themselves frantically scanning the Parks Canada website, looking for a last-minute camping spot.

But an Alberta man doesn’t want those without a spot to give up hope.

Read more: Alberta campsite bookings up 100% over 2020 on opening day

Dan Thareja created Schnerp.com to catch cancellations on the Parks Canada website as soon as they happen, which he says, happens more than you might think, considering how early campers need to book in many cases.

“Some of my friends were saying they would just go on the website and refresh the page themselves. And do it over and over and over,” he said. “I was like, ‘No way. You can just do that with code!’ So, I decided to build a site which would watch these cancellations and allow people to schnerp their spots.”

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Click to play video: 'Increase in campsite usage prompts Alberta Parks to change 2022 bookings' Increase in campsite usage prompts Alberta Parks to change 2022 bookings
Increase in campsite usage prompts Alberta Parks to change 2022 bookings – Jan 10, 2022

He says he created it as a tool for himself, but quickly heard back from lots of campers who said it helped them find places to pitch a tent or park an RV.

The site is searchable by campsite, date and then can be filtered based on amenities and location. Once the site has those details, Thareja says the site will email cancellations, usually within five minutes of the site opening up.

Read more: Alberta Parks make a few tweaks to 2022 campsite bookings

As for the term “schnerp,” the Canmore man said he and his friends made it up on the ski slopes, while snapping up – -or “schnerping” — the last traces of fresh powder a week after a snowfall.

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“And I was thinking about a name for this project, these campsites, we’re really doing the same thing. We’re ‘schnerping’ spots that maybe might not exist or would only exist for a few minutes at the last minute, so it just fit.” he says.

“And it’s super fun to say, too! Just ‘schnerp,’ you know?”

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