Canada's P.E.I. Natl. Park Has Booking Bounty
Prince Edward Island National Park saw a 30% increase in sales on the first day of campground reservations this year.
Tara McNally MacPhee, the visitor experience coordinator for the park, said reservations have been on the rise over the last few years, but this year saw a big jump after the park Terra Nova and Banff as Canada's best national park for camping in the About.com people's choice awards, CBC News reported.
"That's definitely a bonus for us," said McNally MacPhee.
"There was all kinds of publicity around that, so that was great."
McNally MacPhee says the Cavendish Beach Music Festival also helped with first-day sales. Six hundred campsites over the three-day concert sold out in an hour-and-a-half.
Parks Canada has also been working to give potential campers a better idea of what they are getting. Its new reservation website includes photos of each campsite.
McNally MacPhee said a new, more user-friendly, booking system should make it easier for people to find what they want.
"People who are looking for something in particular, they really have an opportunity to go on there and make sure that the site that they're thinking about in their head matches the site that they're able to actually secure," she said.
Campers will still, however, have to bring their own accommodations. Some other national parks in the Maritimes, such as Fundy and Kejimkujik, now offer rentals of cabinlike structures which include bunk beds and a table and chairs.
"There's a new product that's coming down the line now. It's called oTENTik. Essentially it's a wooden frame with a canvas top, like a canvas tent top. And it sleeps four to six people, and some of them have stoves equipped, so they're a little more semi-permanent," said McNally MacPhee.
"We don't have any in Prince Edward Island National Park right now, but it's something that we're thinking about, so we're going to kind of watch what some of the other national parks across the country are doing and see if that's something that might fit here."
oTENTik camping at Fundy and Kejimkujik costs $70 to $100 a night.
In some areas of Kejimkujik and Kouchigouguac wireless internet service is also available, but not at P.E.I. National Park.