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Wi-Fi access being installed in Canada's national parks

  • May 08, 2014
  • 306 words
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Soon, more than just the birds will be tweeting in Canada’s national parks.

Parks Canada has announced that 25 to 50 Wi-Fi access points will be installed at up to 20 national parks and historic sites in the next year, and expects people will be able to check their email, Facebook or Twitter feeds at 150 locations over the next three years.

“This is demand driven,” says Francois Duclos, Parks Canada’s manager for visitor experience planning. “For a number of years now we’ve witnessed increased requests for this service. Once visitors have gone through their day of discovering a national park and have taken photos of amazing things, they’re ready to share those and can’t wait.”

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North rim of Western Brook Pond, towards the coast, in Gros Morne National Park. (Photo: Paul Gierszewski)

Parks Canada has also noticed that more people include a work component in their vacation and will stay longer if they can do their work while travelling. The growing trend of on-the-go trip planning was also an influence in this decision, since many people today grab their smart phones for directions instead of a map.

Duclos says he does realize, however, that there are places where Wi-Fi access isn’t wanted. “We probably wouldn’t go in areas that have more primitive camping. Those aren’t the people searching for this.”

The hotspots will be located in areas where large numbers of people gather and where other services are offered, such as RV loops or campground kitchen shelters. Coverage will typically extend over a few hundred square metres.

But will having Wi-Fi access actually draw more Canadians to national parks and historic sites? “This is exactly the goal,” says Duclos. “People are likely to visit more places and even stay longer, which ultimately has a positive impact on visitation.”

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