As Alberta moves into its relaunch plan, some people really can't wait to get out there and start adventuring. Apparently, locals have been just itching to go camping. On Friday, May 15, Alberta Parks said that they had processed nearly 40,000 camping reservations in the first 16 hours after the site relaunched.
The day before, Alberta Parks announced that they were welcoming booking requests for campgrounds again as part of Alberta's reopening plan. The reservations allow people to camp on provincial parks starting June 1.
As of now, no out-of-province residents are allowed to camp on the provincial park grounds. And the reservation system was divided by zones: South, K-County, North, and Central.
But none of those criteria were able to stop the massive swarm of people who raced to the system to get their reservations booked.
Alberta Parks said that by 4:00 p.m. Thursday, they had processed 39,963 individual campsite reservations and 2,513 backcountry campsite reservations. That's all within 16 hours since reservations were made available again.
As soon as the system was taking reservation bookings again, Parks staff kept posting on their Facebook that the site was "experiencing slowness due to high network use."
Even the main website kept crashing for some reason, even though you don't necessarily need to go there to make reservations.
Yet the organization kept encouraging people to be patient and keep trying, and assuring them they were working on the servers.
The post went on to reveal that as of 10:00 a.m. on May 14, over 8,000 reservations were made. Compare that to March 17, when the reservation system was shut down to the public, and the organization had only 2,000 reservations or so.
So it's safe to say that summer camping is at the top of the list for some Albertans.
Alberta Parks also said the volume of people trying to get reservations could be influenced by the fact that people have limited capacity for physical distancing.
Travel plans being discouraged right now has been mentioned as another reason as to why so many people made bookings. Furthermore, at the time, the national parks were also not accepting requests for new reservations.
On the other hand, Banff and Jasper National Parks have announced that they will be reopening in June.
A bunch of people wrote into the Alberta Parks Facebook page and complained about their network issues.
One person said, "Alberta Parks website = hot dumpster fire!"
Another Facebook user wrote, "I cannot even log into my account nor can I get through on the phone line. The server is down and the call fails every time."
One person commented, "It’s easier to apply for a permanent residence card than getting a spot. So frustrating."
It seems to be that Alberta Parks simply did not expect so many people to flood the system and get those bookings.
But anything for camping.