A discount program offering a free night’s camping when you book five consecutive nights at an NWT campground will return this summer, the territorial government confirmed.
The coupons for a free night proved popular in 2020 as the territory tried to drive residents to take more staycations in its parks. This year, parks and campgrounds will start to open for the season from May 14.
NWT Parks’ reservations website will open on May 4 for bookings in all campgrounds except the North Slave. Bookings at Reid Lake open on May 5, Prelude Lake bookings open on May 6, and Fred Henne bookings begin on May 7.
Reid Lake will have a second discount program operating. Overnight stays between Sundays and Thursdays at Reid Lake, excluding statutory holidays, will be available at a 50-percent discount.
The draw for extended-stay sites at Reid and Prelude will take place online on April 8. Ballots are due on April 6. If you need more information about the extended-stay draw, the territory says that information will be posted on the NWT Parks website by March 29.
North Slave campgrounds open on May 14 followed by the Sahtu’s MacKinnon Territorial Park on May 15, South Slave campgrounds on May 17 (except the 60th Parallel Territorial Park, which won’t open this year), most Dehcho campgrounds on May 21, Beaufort Delta campgrounds on May 24 (except Happy Valley Territorial Park, which is also staying closed), and Blackstone Territorial Park on June 4.
The territorial government said the Kakisa and Little Buffalo River Falls day-use areas may be opened up for camping earlier, depending on conditions, with sites available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Last summer, numbers of overnight stays in NWT parks were overall down 34 percent as the territory closed to travellers from beyond its borders. However, visits to parks booked by NWT residents rose 46 percent compared to 2019.
North Slave campgrounds were almost as busy as they were in 2019, thanks in large part to Yellowknifers making more use than usual of the ability to camp locally.
Reid Lake even recorded a 46-percent increase in use in 2020 compared to 2019.
Last week, the NWT government named Blackstone’s Mike Gonet its territorial park operator of the year for 2020.