The Manitoba government is taking steps to develop a new provincial parks reservation service with new software while also making short-term changes to the system to improve users' experiences when booking campsites this spring.
Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard announced today "The technical and policy adjustments to our parks reservation service are being made in response to public feedback. The improvements will help manage the load on the opening day for reservations, ease the booking process for campers and provide more opportunities to book camping facilities in high demand and limited inventory, such as cabins and yurts."
The Department of Conservation and Climate is exploring options for major changes, including a completely new software application. While the province works to scope out, acquire and implement a new system with an aim to have it in place in 2023, work is also underway on short-term fixes and policy changes to improve the reservation experience this year.
The immediate focus for this spring is on addressing the major challenges users experienced in booking campsites, cabins and yurts at provincial parks on the opening days for reservations in 2021. Any improvements will be tested against the department's best estimates of user traffic loads.
Though the short-term fixes will not address all of the current issues in the reservation system, Guillemard noted they are designed to improve performance this year while the province works on the longer-term changes.
Changes planned for the parks reservation service for this coming booking season include:
- server upgrades to improve system performance and other technology-based enhancements;
- an addition of two opening days to five from three;
- a limit to the number of reservations that can be booked in one session for cabins and yurts to two from three; and
- a reduction in the maximum length of stays at cabins or yurts to seven nights from 14 nights to give more people opportunities to acquire these facilities.
A tendering process will soon be underway to develop and implement a replacement system for future seasons, the minister said.
Prospective policy adjustments were presented recently to the public through the Improving the Parks Reservation Service online survey on EngageMB. Other suggestions made through the survey will be considered in future years, the minister noted.
"We appreciate the feedback we received through EngageMB and thank everyone who took the time to share their opinions to help us provide a quality reservation service for Manitobans and visitors," said Guillemard. "Our government is committed to making it easier for Manitobans to reserve campsites with this short-term and long-term approach."
The What We Heard report is available at: https://gov.mb.ca/asset_library/en/proactive/20212022/engagemb-parks-prs.pdf