April 6, 2009

Manitoba campers broke campsite bookings records by noon today as
Conservation Minister Stan Struthers said free entry to
Manitoba’s parks will provide opportunities for all Manitobans
for better summer living.

“Families may look for recreation opportunities closer to home
during these tough times,” Struthers said.  “To provide more
opportunities for Manitobans to take advantage of the province’s
great outdoors, there will be no entrance fees to provincial
parks for the next two years.”

By noon today, campers had booked a record number of campsites,
surpassing by 15 per cent the number made by the same time last
year today as the made-in-Manitoba Provincial Parks Reservation
Service opened, Struthers said.

A total of 9,194 reservations were made in record time by noon
today due in part to improvements made to the service this year
including modifications to the electronic queuing service
developed by a Manitoba company.  The modifications eased
pressure on the system and showed service users where they are in

The online reservation service continues to be the most popular
method of obtaining a reservation and is supported by the call
centre for the customers who prefer to talk with an agent.

A record 55,298 reservations were made through the system last
year, providing thousands of campers with the opportunity for a
wonderful and relaxing outdoor experience.  In 2006, the first
year of the new system, 47,870 bookings were made.

Over the past 10 years, significant improvements have been made
to Manitoba’s parks including:
–  providing 9-1-1 emergency services to some of
Manitoba’s busiest parks including South Whiteshell, Birds Hill,
Hecla-Grindstone, Clearwater Lake and Grand Beach;

–  repatriating the province’s reservation system,
increasing reservations by 50.4 per cent since the system was
introduced in 2006;

–  adding and upgrading more than 600 campsites since
2004; and

–  Providing new outdoor opportunities such as the camping
shelters called yurts that have been built at Nutimik Lake in the
Whiteshell and in Spruce Woods, Asessippi, Clearwater Lake and
Bakers Narrows provincial parks.

Information on fall camping is available at
or by calling 1-800-214-6497 (toll-free) or 945-6784 in Winnipeg.

Members of the public are reminded that park entry permits are
still required in Riding Mountain National Park, which is not
part of the provincial parks system.

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