Nothing says summer is on its way more than the frantic rush to book territorial campsites in mid-April.
This year, NWT Parks’ online reservation system will open for business on Tuesday, April 16 at 10am MT for all but Yellowknife’s Fred Henne Territorial Park.
Reservations for Fred Henne will open on Wednesday, April 17 at the same time.
“We stagger the parks reservation system because the demand is incredibly high, with visitors and residents alike trying to grab their favourite spots for the summer,” said tourism department spokesperson Mike Westwick.
“That level of demand has the potential to cause some technical challenges.
“Giving our largest campground its own day in the spotlight is our way of managing the load at the highest demand point in the season.”
Westwick said NWT Parks has seen year-over-year increases on opening day and “we’re keyed up for another big year.”
Big Beau Del increase
In 2018 the territory reports 710 reservations were made on opening day, which translated to $101,900 in sales.
When Fred Henne opened for reservations the following day, 655 reservations were made.
In total, the tourism department reported $174,750 in sales at its 16 campgrounds over the first two days of 2018.
A record 36,526 people camped in the territory’s parks in 2018, a four-percent increase over 2017.
Parks in the Beaufort Delta region saw a 122 percent year-over-year increase in overnight visitors. Those parks had 5,615 campers in 2018, compared to 2,526 in 2017.
The tourism department attributes the increase is part to road-tripping tourists driving the Inuvik-Tuktoyaktuk highway to the Arctic Ocean.
Meanwhile, Fred Henne saw a 7.5 percent decrease in visitors in 2018, compared to 2017, as Yellowknife mourned the sun during one of the rainiest summers in memory.
The government calculates the number of campers by multiplying the average party size in each park by the number of camping permits issued.
Most territorial parks open in mid-May and close in mid-September.