Booking a provincial campground has been no easy task since the pandemic hit and Alberta Parks has fallen victim to its own success to such an extent that a new phenomenon has emerged: site resale.
Camping enthusiasts could make their first reservations from March 4. From the first minutes, the system was saturated .
Since then, Alberta Parks has received numerous complaints related to people trying to resell the sites they have reserved.
We are committed to ensuring that access to camping in provincial parks is fair and equitable , reads a written statement from Alberta Parks .
According to Alberta Parks , the resale of campsites remains rare, but recalls that it is not allowed to transfer a reservation.
We were contacted by social media followers to say there were a few resale ads online , a Facebook post said . We ask Albertans who see ads or messages attempting to resell reservations to call our contact center at 877-537-2757. We will cancel reservations for those who attempt to resell their campsites.
A fire is lit in a hearth. In the background a person is sitting at a picnic table in the middle of the forest.
Again this year, Alberta Parks is seeing very strong demand for campgrounds.
PHOTO: RADIO-CANADA / HELEN PIKE
Camping enthusiast Lisa Gabruck is among those who have come across site resale ads.
The non-refundable booking fee is too low at this time. Most resellers are willing to take the risk , she believes.
According to the Alberta Parks website , changing a reservation costs $5 and the non-refundable reservation fee is $12.
We encourage those who are unable to use their sites to let us know, as there are many people who could use them. Albertans can get a full refund, less the booking fee, up to three days before their arrival date , Alberta Parks reminds.
Victim of his own success
Last year Alberta Parks experienced significant popularity due to health measures related to COVID-19.
Nathan Larson was unable in 2020 to get his hands on a campground so contacted a few people advertising sites for resale.
According to him, resellers were asking between $20 and $30 more than the original cost of the sites.
The man decided to turn to private sites in 2021 to avoid the frustration of last year, but still found it was no different this year.
I kept seeing people saying they had extra sites for such and such a place ,” he says.
On opening day, Thursday, 23,830 reservations were made. By comparison, Alberta Parks had 11,628 last year.
The popularity led to problems on the reservations site, a frustrating situation for many.
It’s supposed to be a fair site for everyone , recalls Nathan Larson.