Hittin' the Trails
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Jasper, Alberta, Canada.
Interest: Hiking & snowshoeing
Are you wanting to book day-use or overnight camping? The systems in place this year are the same as last year, although last year, the lottery for day-use ran through February, not April.
I tried both last year. I was unsuccessful in the lottery, and did not get a day-use spot (i.e. ride up/down on the bus). In the end, the bus did not run and Parks Canada refunded all the fees paid to participate in the lottery. The one "flaw" I found in the lottery is that you could not vary the number of people in your request - for example, although each entry allows you to specify six times/dates, I had some I wanted to try for two people, and others for three. This required doing two separate lottery entries. Since I have not yet put in my entries for this year, I don't know if this has been changed for this year.
For campground reservations, I don't think it is possible for bots to get spots. You have to choose a specific date and a specific campsite and as I recall, these have to be typed into the request; it's not just clicking. I tried for almost an hour last year to get a reservation, and it was like playing "whack a mole"... I had the calendar view open so that I could see two weeks of availability, and every time I queued up a site for the dates that were showing availability, by the time I got it in my "cart", it was no longer available. (Somebody else had put it in their cart before me, and it gets held there for a short period of time (15 min?) to allow them to complete the reservation.) I did this for 45 or 50 minutes straight, and finally was able to book two nights in early October. The entire season was sold out within an hour.
As it turned out, the bus did not run at all although campers could walk up the road. Parks Canada gave full refunds for anyone who cancelled, including the reservations fee.
With regard to bots or re-sellers booking sites - the sites have to be booked under a name and that person must be one of the campers. It says right on the site that camping sites can not be re-sold and that Parks Canada will confirm the user's identity upon arrival. I have never experienced this, in practice - both times I have camped there, I just gave my name, but neither time did I have to show ID, although theoretically, Parks staff could ask for it.