Manitoba provincial campground frustrations a boon for privatized parks

Provincial camping spots have been the hot topic in Manitoba over the past few weeks, as would-be campers are expressing frustration with the province’s site-booking system.

That’s sending disgruntled campers over to privatized parks like Debonair Campground near St. Malo, where owner James Katsabanis says business is booming.

“There’s been a big growth, especially with COVID, but I think seasonal camping in Manitoba has always been strong,” Katsabanis told Global News.

“Our phone line’s been off the hook early in the week here due to (the backlog for provincial sites), so I think in general, the whole economy’s going to see a boost.”

Read more: Manitobans again wait hours to book campsites on provincial reservation system

A provincial spokesperson told Global News earlier this week that Manitoba’s online reservation system saw “a large volume of people” logging in and trying to book a spot when they opened Monday, with 27,337 reservations being made by that afternoon — more than double the 13,316 reservations that were made by the same time last year.

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“Staff are doing their best to process booking requests and we appreciate the patience of those trying to log in,” the spokesperson said.

According to provincial data, there are 4,051 campsites available for reservation at 46 campgrounds across Manitoba, and additional sites can also be booked in person at campgrounds that are not part of the province’s online booking service.

There are also 75 yurts in 10 campgrounds, 34 cabins in two campgrounds, and 91 group-use sites in Manitoba, according to the province.

— With files from Shane Gibson

Click to play video: 'Trying to get a camping spot in Manitoba' Trying to get a camping spot in Manitoba

Trying to get a camping spot in Manitoba – Apr 5, 2021

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