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Manitoba Parks has added more campgrounds to their early staggered reservation service this year.

Elizabeth Ostrop, Manager of Recreation and Education Services says due to the high volume of reservations on opening day, campgrounds in the Whiteshell have been added to the early booking service.

"Normally it was just cabins, yurts, and group areas, but the volume of campers anxious to book a campsite is quite high on that April date, so we've taken about half of them out of the mix for April 3rd, and moved it to March 22nd."

Reservations for all yurts, cabins and group use areas opened Monday at 7:00 a.m. as did reservations for Bird's Hill campground.

Ostrop says campgrounds like St. Malo and all of the campgrounds in northern and western MB will be opening on April 3rd. She says most reservations are done online, but many people will call in while online to see which way is the fastest to get through.

As far as not getting a site you like on the opening day of the reservation service, Ostrop says not to worry, as many people's plans change, and sites do become available. "It's hard to decide in March or April what you're going to do when, so it's worth checking the website, maybe something has opened up later in summer."

For weekends and long weekends, those Ostop says, book up pretty quick. She notes there are still a few walk up campgrounds in the more remote areas of Manitoba, but adds it's best to call early if you have a favorite site.

One other thing to note, because of the Canada 150 celebrations, Parks Canada has announced it's free park entry this year, but that does not include provincial parks. Ostrop says park passes are already available at many retailers for a fee of $40 for the summer, $12 for a 3-day pass, and $5 for a daily pass.  

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