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Old 04-27-2022, 09:49 AM   #61
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I believe a few started getting into it last year. Stoney reopened an old campsite, can be found here: https://stoneycampgrounds.com/

But the facilities are a bit lacking as you can see in the photos. Hopefully though they put some money into it and get it to grow.
Wow, ya if it rains those will be unpleasantly muddy and dusty once some traffic shows up.
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Old 04-27-2022, 09:56 AM   #62
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It's fataing terrible. I've been trying to get a site on the lake at Two Jack Lakeside for about a decade. It's my favourite camp spot and I've been unable to take my kids there through their entire lives because it is seemingly booked by magic and I'm not a magician. We did manage to get a site there in September one year right before it closed, but it snowed a fata ton so we didn't go. Other than that, it's impossible. I'm not even going to try this year. It's a waste of time.
I was hoping to book a spot at Long Beach in Tofino this summer but I wasn't paying attention to the launch date for the reservation system and I didn't realize it opened in January for the season. I hopped on the website in Feb to find the launch date and found out that I was weeks behind and all the spots for the summer were gone. If you want to camp you can't be on the ball or else you are screwed.
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:14 AM   #63
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Yeah, fair. I lump in all the campgrounds as having ####ty booking methods. The problem remains too few campgrounds for our increased population.

Like, as a kid in the 80s you would just head out with your parents after work and drive to a campground and get a spot, right? No booking or anything. Even when I'd go with my girlfriend in our trailer in the mid- to late-90s we never booked anything ever. Went to Banff, Two Jack, Jasper, Kelowna, Kimberley, Vancouver, Osoyoos, etc. etc. in the middle of summer and just rolled in and camped.
I remember in the 80's, 90's still high demand however for certain campgrounds and dates obviously. I remember Mt. Kidd and the beauty campground on Skaha Beach in Penticton, bookings opened up at a certain time and my dad sitting on the phone waiting in queue to get a spot for the year.
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:18 AM   #64
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Yeah, fair. I lump in all the campgrounds as having ####ty booking methods. The problem remains too few campgrounds for our increased population.

Like, as a kid in the 80s you would just head out with your parents after work and drive to a campground and get a spot, right? No booking or anything. Even when I'd go with my girlfriend in our trailer in the mid- to late-90s we never booked anything ever. Went to Banff, Two Jack, Jasper, Kelowna, Kimberley, Vancouver, Osoyoos, etc. etc. in the middle of summer and just rolled in and camped.
There's still lots of campgrounds that are partially FCFS or are 100% FCFS.

Tunnel Mountain has quite a few no-service FCFS spots.

Also I'll let you in on a secret: Virtually all federal/provincial (NOT private) campgrounds have 1 or 2 non-reserve spots, even if they're "100%" advance reserve.
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:32 AM   #65
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Two jack is federal, it uses a different system thatís even worse than Albertaís.
I feel like the federal system is the best. It is:
1. Spread out park reservation opening dates across about two weeks.
2. All online
3. You login and get a randomized space in line.

Basically I block off 5 1 hr meetings in my schedule to book camping.

In contrast:
A. The Alberta Parks system means I have to login every day, so it's a pain. Furthermore they have that stupid ability to book 2 weeks ahead so often people use this to game the system.
B. Some US backpacking sites are still mail in requests, and it just depends when your letter is pulled.
C. There are lots of mail-in ballots in the US still as well.
D. In europe some reservations are only taken over the phone!

In terms of effort to plan my summer, Parks Canada is the least amount of effort to plan, and because they spread it out I end up getting a couple of the sites I want, and try other campgrounds because the ones I want are sold out.

But let's face it, pretty much any camping is great!
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:35 AM   #66
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The problem with the federal one is that all the dates open all at the same time for the particular location.
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:40 AM   #67
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Yeah, the system is fataed. After getting screwed out of sites for a few years in a row, my friends and I all just sit at our computers when dates open up and do a shotgun approach and book like fataing mad. It's the only way to get sites. We'll cancel them last minute if we decide not to go, but if you're not part of the problem you're basically not camping.

I'd say the bigger issue goes back to the #######s who don't want anything developed anywhere ever. Not going to go off on my regular tangent here, but we need to build more recreational sites in the mountains and elsewhere so our growing population can enjoy reasonable access to the outdoors. We need another Banff. We need another Lake Louise. We need more campgrounds. We have to start thinking about our kids' kids and the infrastructure they'll need in the way the people in the 50s, 60s and 70s had us in mind when they built up what we currently enjoy.
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It's a super aggravating system, and I've been shut out of my fav spots for the year already. Actually easier to book a site when the system first opens, then gets drastically harder after that, as the 10 day bookings are ahead of the system as it opens each day one by one.

So now I can only hope to jump on some cancellations if someone actually does so. It sucks, because I bought an inflatable boat this year just to use at that specific lake/campground.

Agreed on needing more recreational sites. Have we even added any as we've watched our population explode? To me they make sense, they keep wear & tear of the environment to one specific location instead of driving more people to crown land.
Rates go up, extra fees like a park pass required, and services being decreased (no firewood, etc), demand far exceeding supply, it just seems it gets worse and worse each year. There are still some campgrounds that have decent availability however, but the sites are meh, no attractions or things to do around there, etc.

This will be the first year I'll mainly be crown land camping over the weekends.
I camped at St Mary Reservoir in 2020, it wasn't too busy. Great swimming, the water was extremely clear and warm.

Firewood will never come back. It was massively abused.

Given the amount of environmental hysteria on social media platforms, I can't see adding campgrounds as a priority for any govt.

The quality of the average camper has declined. The amount of disrespectful behaviour I've seen in campgrounds and just parks in general has increased.

I went to Elbow Falls in 2020, a family left all their garbage on a picnic table. They just went into their cars and left. Thanks a-holes.
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:49 AM   #68
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Once you book, can you release those mid week days? Or is it all or nothing? Seems the booking system could use some work if you can't partially cancel days.
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OK, so the system encourages abuse, or at least doesn't make it convenient to maximize camp site usage.
The system is designed to prevent this from happening which is actually a good thing. It's not ideal but at least everyone is playing by the same rules. BC Prov Parks is much the same and it's frustrating but at least you have a shot at finding something.

The way the system is designed is reservations open out to a maximum date in the future (often 90 days). You can make a booking beginning that date and make it for as long as you want (or the the campground maximum). If you were allowed to book and then drop dates midweek it would effectively allow someone to book a weekend further in advance than the booking window which is circumventing the rules.
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:53 AM   #69
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The problem with the federal one is that all the dates open all at the same time for the particular location.
Wow, for me that's the best feature of the Federal system - I can plan my entire summer all at once.

But I can see how the federal system favours those who are proactive and prepared for their summer, and that means the best campgrounds sell out on that first day, in some cases in the first hour.

The provincial system favours people who have more time to allocate checking the website every day, which means you're probably more likely to get a spot at the best campgrounds using the provincial system.
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:54 AM   #70
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We found a couple of private campgrounds that we like to use. One is quite popular and you have to email them your request on January 1 and wait to hear from them at the beginning of April. If you're even a couple of days late you may be out of luck. It is a frustrating process but we've been camping there with family for 8 years and once we're there it has been great.

For the other campground we go with friends. They have all the water toys and this is on a reservoir. My friend just calls and books for the group. Easy peasy. It used to be popular but got run down and is now being managed by people who are making it a nice campground again.

We like going to Waterton but Wateron lost Crandell Campground in the fire and the townsite campground underwent "renovations" over the past couple of years, which was terrible timing with the influx of people going camping because they couldn't go anywhere else during the pandemic. So it went from hard to get sites to practically impossible!
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:57 AM   #71
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I camped at St Mary Reservoir in 2020, it wasn't too busy. Great swimming, the water was extremely clear and warm.

Given the amount of environmental hysteria on social media platforms, I can't see adding campgrounds as a priority for any govt.

The quality of the average camper has declined. The amount of disrespectful behaviour I've seen in campgrounds and just parks in general has increased.

Two things

1. Talking to environmental people, it seems there are studies that show campgrounds and backcountry huts are better for the environment in that it concentrates people in small areas.

2. Camper quality declines as so few rangers. I'm always amazed in other places how there are guardians at huts, and rangers on trails, backcountry and campgrounds. For some reason we don't have rangers anymore in Canada (in last 20 years i've seen one on the trail, and never seen one in the backcountry and I'm out A LOT!).

I fully support using the kananasksi money to get more seasonal rangers to patrol, educate and support users of our parks.
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Old 04-27-2022, 10:59 AM   #72
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Wow, for me that's the best feature of the Federal system - I can plan my entire summer all at once.

But I can see how the federal system favours those who are proactive and prepared for their summer, and that means the best campgrounds sell out on that first day, in some cases in the first hour.

The provincial system favours people who have more time to allocate checking the website every day, which means you're probably more likely to get a spot at the best campgrounds using the provincial system.
For those who can or have the ability to know their vacation time that far in advance it's great. For those who do not or cannot it's nice to have at least a chance to book something when you finally know your vacation days come May or June.
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Old 04-27-2022, 11:22 AM   #73
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Two things

1. Talking to environmental people, it seems there are studies that show campgrounds and backcountry huts are better for the environment in that it concentrates people in small areas.

2. Camper quality declines as so few rangers. I'm always amazed in other places how there are guardians at huts, and rangers on trails, backcountry and campgrounds. For some reason we don't have rangers anymore in Canada (in last 20 years i've seen one on the trail, and never seen one in the backcountry and I'm out A LOT!).

I fully support using the kananasksi money to get more seasonal rangers to patrol, educate and support users of our parks.
Every time I went for a hike last year in K-country I saw an Alberta Parks truck.
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