Alberta Parks cracking down on campsite reservation resales

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An Airdrie woman trying to book a May long trip with her family was hounded with aggressive messages after calling out a campground reseller for attempts to turn a profit.

Now Alberta Parks is making it clear the practice of reservation reselling is not allowed.

Savannah Ethier — and thousands of other Albertans — tried to book campsites through the Alberta Parks website when reservations opened on Thursday.

More than 23,000 people were successful, but Ethier wasn’t one of them.

“Between a couple of us trying, we could not get anything for the May long weekend, which was our primary target,” she said on Saturday. Her group admitted defeat for the time being and decided to see if any spots would become available closer to the date.

But that same day, a woman posted in a private Facebook group to say that she accidentally secured an extra spot at Red Lodge for May long camping “in the craziness of booking” and needed someone to “take it off her hands,” said Ethier.

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She jumped at the opportunity.

A four-night booking at Red Lodge Campground costs between $96 and $128, in addition to a $12 reservation fee, according to the Alberta Parks website. This woman asked for $200.

“Stop scamming people,” Ethier wrote back.

“Scamming? I purchased something and I can sell it for what I like,” the woman responded. “I can profit off what I like. That is my choice …  consumers and retailers profit off things all the time.”

Ethier told the woman she should be ashamed. The conversation continued and Ethier was told to “shove” her assumptions before being called a variety of colourful names.

Alberta Parks said a “couple” of resale advertisements had been posted online and brought to their attention by social media followers on Friday.

A message about the resale of Alberta Parks campsite spots, posted on Facebook on Friday, March 5, 2021.
A message about the resale of Alberta Parks campsite spots, posted on Facebook on Friday, March 5, 2021. Photo by Screenshot

“We’re committed to ensuring access to camping in Alberta Parks is fair and equitable. Attempted resale of camping reservations is not allowed and rarely happens to our knowledge,” said Alberta Environment and Parks in a statement.

“We posted a reminder about our reservation terms and conditions, which prohibit reselling.”

They reminded Albertans that reservations are non-transferable and only the account holder or an authorized user can check in for a booking.

People who break the rules will have their reservations cancelled, said Alberta Parks.

Ethier said it’s been a tough year for everyone and there’s no need for people to be “jerks” to one another.

“We have wonderful outdoor spaces in this province. We’re trying to encourage people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors and to do things that are pandemic-safe right now,” she said.

“To then have other people, who are our neighbours, turn around and try to personally profit off of it … that is really unfortunate.”

Anyone who comes across scalpers can contact Alberta Parks at 1-877-537-2757.

As of Friday afternoon, a total 27,538 reservations had been processed by Alberta Parks since bookings opened the day prior.

On opening day Thursday, 23,830 reservations were placed — more than double the number recorded on opening day last year when 11,628 total bookings were received.

alsmith@postmedia.com

Twitter: alanna_smithh

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