Online reservations for most Northwest Territories campgrounds will open on Tuesday as residents settle in for an anticipated second summer of staycations.
The NWT Parks booking system for all but five territorial parks will activate at 10am. Three parks – the North Slave’s Prelude, Reid and Fred Henne – open for booking later in the week. Two parks, 60th Parallel and Happy Valley, aren’t opening this season.
In recent years, attempts to reserve a campground in the website’s opening half-hour have often become exercises in frustration. The NWT Parks booking system has been known to buckle under the initial strain of residents’ zeal for territorial campsites.
This year, the opportunity to dream of some time at a campground arrives with Yellowknife slipping into a Covid-19 outbreak gradually becoming the territory’s worst since the pandemic began.
Hundreds of people associated with the NJ Macpherson School outbreak will, as some small consolation, have plenty of time to refresh the campground reservations website from home while isolating.
On Monday, NWT Chief Public Health Officer Dr Kami Kandola clarified that her request for non-essential travel to be curtailed did not extend to residents planning trips to local campgrounds.
“When I’m thinking about recommendations on non-essential travel in and out of Yellowknife, I’m specifically looking at communities,” Dr Kandola said, explaining her rationale.
“There are some communities that have really low vaccine uptake. The last thing we want is for people to come in, have an exposure, then bring it back to their community.”
Bookings for Reid Lake open on Wednesday at 10am, followed by Prelude Lake on Thursday and Fred Henne on Friday.
Those three campgrounds open for the season on May 14. Most other NWT campgrounds will open by May 21 except the Dehcho’s Blackstone, which is expected to open on June 4.
For the second summer in a row, every booking of five consecutive nights at a campground will automatically generate a coupon for a free night.