Crazy for Keji

by Karen Janigan

The website was jammed and on Facebook people expressed their anxiety as they tried to secure a spot.

Were they trying to get tickets to the next big concert, The Rolling Stones or Elton John, perhaps?

Not exactly. Would you believe it was the first day of reservations for campsites in the national park system, and one of the in-demand sites was none other than Kejimkujik National Park.

More than 3,000 campsite reservations were made for the 2018 season at Kejimkujik National Park within the first 30 minutes of the reservations opening on January 22 at 8 a.m., said Claudine Laforce of Parks Canada.

"We thought, 'Okay that's pretty crazy."

Reservations reached 4, 548 for the first day in total,

"That's 500 reservations more than Canada 150 last year's opening day," said Laforce. "Obviously the clientele is pretty keen. Sitting at their computer at 8 a.m. to make a reservation."

To be sure, one Facebook user commented: "Holy crap. Booking an otentiks is stressful stuff!," adding for good measure the hashtags: "#goneinasecond," and #panic."

Another said, "I had everything in and ready by 7:30 and was just waiting for the clock to turn to 8:00 so I could click reserve."

Visitor experience manager Sophie Borcoman said despite the 12 per cent increase in bookings, there are still lots of reservations available, She said the oTENTiks, tents with the convenience of a cabin, are popular as are the back country experiences, with the electrified camping sites the most popular. Long weekends tend to be booked out first.

"We still have lots of availability on most weekends, despite the popularity of the first day we still have lots of spots," she said. "And we have some tenting and non-electrified trailer sites for the long weekends."

The 2018 camping dates for Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site run from May 18 – October 7.

Camping reservations can be made online at www.reservations.parkscanada.gc.ca or by phone at 1-877-RESERVE (1-877-737-3783).

The Government of Canada is offering free admission to all Parks Canada's places for youth 17 and under in 2018 and beyond.

Beginning in this year in Kejimkujik only firewood purchased at the park will be permitted to help contain the spread of invasive species. For more information, please visit the Kejimkujik and CFIA websites.

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