In regards to the article “province plans campground, trail upgrades for Kananaskis” in the April 13 Outlook.
Although I applaud the basic premise and intention of camp facility increases, it seems to me both our provincial and national campground business models seem to be moving away from a tourism and recreation model and more towards a more simple to manage hospitality business model.
Where it is required to book a campsite many months in advance, it can make it almost prohibitive for a traveller or a family to make a spur of the moment trip out to camp in our provincial and national parks.
Often times, I’ve experienced campgrounds that are otherwise full with many vacant campsites. On one such occasion at Bluerock campground on a Saturday morning, the full campground was 25 per cent vacant. From a management point of view, I understand this simplifies management but provincial and national parks should not be in the hospitality industry where its focus is on revenue but should be about accommodating and promoting tourism and recreation. If campgrounds were better utilized, maybe we would not require as much development of both new and existing campgrounds.
I suggest the current model is broken and maybe if there were repercussions for not showing up for your reservation on time, a reservation was forfeited and/or billed extra as a penalty. Perhaps a one-night grace and at 10 a.m. the following day an inventory completed, fines implemented and campsites made available.
Maybe ample repercussions would provide responsible attendance? Provincial and national parks are there for us all to enjoy not just those that can book their holidays months in advance.