By Michael Boriero
The Société des établissements de plein air du Québec (Sépaq) has already opened its summer reservation window, giving keen campers an opportunity to book their vacations nearly one year in advance.
According to Sépaq spokesperson Simon Boivin, this is common practice in the tourism industry, and not something they decided to do due to the pandemic. Quebecers can reserve a camp site or a ready-to-camp unit in the national parks and touristic establishments.
The Parc national de la Yamaska in Roxton Pond, Parc national du Mont-Orford in Orford, and Parc national du Mont-Mégantic in Notre-Dame-des-Bois are the main draws in the Eastern Townships. Boivin told The Record campers often like to re-book camp sites.
But while the opening of the reservation was not motivated by the pandemic, Boivin did admit that there has been a significant increase in activity at the Sépaq national parks across Quebec, which can be attributed to the lack of vacation options these past two years.
“For last year, the year that started in April 2020 and ended March 2021, we’ve had an increase in our traffic in the national parks of 40 per cent. It’s as if people found in outdoor destinations some sort of freedom space,” said Boivin.
It is a historic percentage jump in the number of visitors at Sépaq locations, he explained. Boivin believes people turned to outdoor activities to get a sense of normalcy. It also acted as a pseudo-getaway when the borders were closed between provinces and countries.
“We’re very proud to have been able to provide to the population a place where they could live, have a nice vacation and enjoy as well all of the positive benefits that nature has on the human body, not only physical but mental benefits as well,” said Boivin.
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