Camping season is here, and many Albertans (Canada) are likely to be frantically looking at the Parks Canada website, looking for last-minute camping spots.
But an Alberta man is encouraging campers not to give up hope.
Dan Thareja created Schnerp.com to detect cancellations on the Parks Canada website as soon as they happen, which is more often than you imagine, given how early campers have to make reservations.
“Some of my friends were saying they would just go on the website and refresh the page themselves. And do it over and over and over,” he said. “I was like, ‘No way. You can just do that with code!’ So, I decided to build a site which would watch these cancellations and allow people to schnerp their spots.”
Thareja said he developed it to help himself, but he soon received feedback from many campers who claimed it helped them locate spots to pitch a tent or park their RV.
The site is searchable by campsite and date and can be filtered based on amenities and location. Once the site has those details, Thareja says the site will email cancellations, usually within five minutes of the site opening up.
How does it work?
According to its Facebook page, first, campers need to create a request, campground preferences, preferred arrival dates, and email address. Then, the system takes over and scans the selected campground for a cancellation.
If one of the sites in the availability window becomes available, Schnerp will send you an email with a link to book the spot.
Schnerp reminds campers that finding an opening isn’t guaranteed. If there’s no availability today, we have to rely on someone else canceling their existing reservation, and sometimes that doesn’t happen.
As for the term “schnerp,” the Canmore man said that he and his friends made it up on the ski slopes while snapping up or “schnerping” — the last remnants of fresh powder one week after a snow fall.
“And I was thinking about a name for this project, these campsites, we’re really doing the same thing. We’re ‘schnerping’ spots that maybe might not exist or would only exist for a few minutes at the last minute, so it just fit.” he says.
“And it’s super fun to say, too! Just ‘schnerp,’ you know?”
This story originally appeared on Global News.