It will be interesting to see how the new online booking system for camping in national parks goes down with locals and visiting campers and caravanners when it is introduced later this month.
The Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources is promoting that the new system will make it easier for park visitors to find and pay for a site and it does seem that it will.
The changes were a popular topic of conversation among visitors to the department’s stall at Tunarama last month and the more education about what is changing and how the new system will work, the better.
While there may be some local park regulars who are not happy about the move and may be concerned about finding somewhere to camp if they make a last minute decision to head out to Lincoln or Coffin Bay national park for the weekend but that has always been an issue.
On the contrary, locals probably have the most to gain from the new system.
Online booking will only work if everyone adheres to the system but if they do, the new system could benefit local people.
Local people know their favourite spots and often know ahead of time the long weekends and other holidays they like to spend at their favourite national park beach.
Soon local people will also know the booking system.
Booking a site in advance seems to be a fair method, giving everyone equal chance of getting a great spot, without having to knock off from work early on Friday to beat the crowds.
It also means people with caravans or camper trailers or other larger vehicles can book a spot with the space they need.
Families can book close to facilities like toilets and large groups can ensure they find a group of sites together.
Not to mention the convenience of not having to rummage through the glove box for coins to pay for camping.
Those who are not happy about paying online are also catered for as they will have the option of paying at a local office before heading out to the park.
As with any new system there will be a grace period and the department has said people caught doing the wrong thing will not be getting fined straight away.
However proper enforcement will be an important part of the new booking system’s success to make sure people who have done the right thing and booked online find their site available when they get there.