P.E.I. campgrounds still getting calls from away, but giving first dibs to Island residents

·2 min read
Twin Shores Campground in Darnley, P.E.I., is offering deferrals to customers who can't make it this year due to travel restrictions. (Twin Shores Camping Area/Facebook - image credit)
Twin Shores Campground in Darnley, P.E.I., is offering deferrals to customers who can't make it this year due to travel restrictions. (Twin Shores Camping Area/Facebook - image credit)

Despite travel restrictions and rising COVID-19 cases, some campgrounds on P.E.I. are still receiving calls from optimistic folks in Ontario, Quebec and the U.S. hoping to pitch their tents or park their campers on the Island this summer.

The answer has generally been no, but they're welcome to defer their booking until next year or when it's safe to travel, said Darren Cousins, owner of Twin Shores Campground in Darnley.

"We're getting a strange amount of calls from Ontario, Quebec and even the U.S. saying, well, 'We've been vaccinated now, so they're going to let us come.' And it makes you wonder if these people ever see the news," he said.

"Unfortunately for them, to protect ourselves, we're not accepting bookings for anything outside the Maritimes and we're just crossing our fingers for the bubble."

Cousins and other campground owners are bracing for another year of uncertainty as COVID-19 cases continue to spike in Canada and the Maritimes.

Tanya Calver, one of the owners of All Points East Campground in Souris, said she is actually in a better position than last year at this time, mainly due to Islanders making reservations.

'We're looking all right'

"So far, we're looking all right, but it has been interesting to just see Islanders booking as opposed to everyone from across Canada and around the world," she said in an interview with Island Morning host Mitch Cormier

Calver said she will still hold a site for someone off-Island, but because of the uncertainty around travel in the months ahead, they may get bumped in favour of a guaranteed reservation from an Island resident.

All Points East Campground in Souris is getting more reservations from Island residents this year.
All Points East Campground in Souris is getting more reservations from Island residents this year.(Submitted by Tanya Calver)

Cousins said it's doubtful he could fill all his spaces with Island residents, and is hoping the Atlantic bubble will reopen at some point. In the meantime, he is offering deferrals to his regular customers from off-Island.

Generations of campers

Many have been coming for decades and have formed their own community within the campground.

"Some of them have been here for 52 years into the fifth generation on the same site. They're not going to give that right away because of an outbreak for a couple of years, as weird as it is," he said.

"Some of them would be glad to pay for it. We don't make them do that, but we're just deferring their reservation a year forward."

The uncertainty also creates challenges for staffing the campgrounds. Do they hire more workers or not?

"It's a full-time headache, just trying to figure it all out," Cousins said.

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