CORNER BROOK — Hot and sunny summer days is a major attraction to Newfoundland’s outdoors.
That is what the 2012 summer camping numbers for provincial parks in western Newfoundland suggest, according to the Departments of Tourism, Culture and Recreation and Environment and Conservation. It is also reflective of what some private campground owners are saying following the season.
Along with the weather, Shawn Shears, owner of Gros Morne/Norris Point KOA, said the numbers were good right from May. He believes the summer conditions in late spring got campers out early, and that remained the trend throughout the season.
“I think the people were going camping anyway,” Shears said. “Of course, the weather co-operated, which made a big difference to the overall season.”
Marketing the place as a family campground, the owner also attributed a busier season to the notoriety the park has been receiving in recent years.
“There are no other campgrounds in this area which offer the amenities we have,” he said.
Shears estimated about 60-65 per cent of the campers at the park this year were from Newfoundland and Labrador, with the next biggest contingent coming from Ontario and Quebec.
Meanwhile, Michael Zenz, owner of Zinzville Campground in Kippens, said his drop-in campers were up about 10 per cent this year. He said his seasonal campers remained steady at a high level, but he said they spent more time at the campground this summer. He attributed the increased camping to the great summer weather.
Zenz said the campground has been experiencing an overall steady increase in campers in recent years.
The occupancy rate at provincial parks in western Newfoundland from May to July was 40.6 per cent, an increase of 5.6 per cent — according to statistics provided by the provincial department. The site sales were particularly up in the months of May, 52 per cent, and July, 18 per cent — an increase of 11.6 per cent and 6.4 per cent, respectively. The site sales also increased 13 per cent in June this year, with the occupancy increasing two per cent.
A department spokesperson also attributed the increases to the great summer weather experienced in 2012.