Solitude in the wilderness is still available in B.C.

Provincial campsite rush mostly B.C. residents

Few BC Parks bookings going to commercial operators, solution is more campsite spaces, Environment Minister Mary Polak says

Foreign visitors and those on package tours are a small fraction of the demand for B.C. Parks campgrounds around the province, but B.C. resident campers are still using a few tricks to get spaces for high-demand parks.

Some have protested the use of online reservations by motorhome tour operators who sell them as part of a package for tourists.

“Our provincial campsites are not products to be sold, they belong to the people of B.C.,”  Green Party leader Andrew Weaver said this week.

Environment Minister Mary Polak told Black Press numbers are being tracked for the current year, and the proportions haven’t changed much. In 2015, fewer than one per cent of reservable B.C. Parks spaces were booked by tour operators, who also use private camping facilities.

Three quarters of reservations are from within B.C. The second highest share is from Alberta at 14 per cent, the U.S. accounts for 3.6 per cent, the rest of Canada 2.8 per cent, and all European countries combined are 6.6 per cent of the total.

The BC Parks system has 10,700 camping spaces in total, and 5,600 are reservable, to manage demand for the most popular spots.

First-come, first-served sites are kept out of the reservation system in some popular locations to accommodate travellers who drop in along the road. For high-demand periods like the recent Canada Day weekend, savvy campers work the reservation system.

At Golden Ears Provincial Park, one group booked for two weeks as soon as the 90-day eligibility window opened, then dropped the first week, giving them the coveted Canada Day weekend dates before they were generally available.

“Every year we look to change things to keep people from cheating, and every year they find new ways,” Polak said. “Really the only answer is going to be finding a way to expand the number of sites that we have available.”

It’s shaping up as a record year for the Discover Camping reservation service, with 92,000 bookings so far this year.

B.C. Parks has added four new sites for this summer. Reservations can be made for Garibaldi Provincial Park in the Whistler area, Ruckle Provincial Park on Saltspring Island, Okanagan Falls Provincial Park, Inland Lake Provincial Park near Powell River and Dry Gulch Provincial Park near Radium Hot Springs.

 

Just Posted

Search for missing Saanich Peninsula pair ends in tragedy

Vehicle found with two deceased occupants inside

Saanich councillor open to more commercial operations in local parks

Coun. Ned Taylor had raised the issue during his election campaign

Langford’s Sarah Beckett Memorial playground opens

Life of West Shore RCMP Constable honoured with new playground

Greater Victoria gemmologist shines with life-time achievement award

Anthony de Goutière received award from Canadian Gemmological Association

Team Canada set to compete at 2019 Rugby World Cup and Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Rugby Canada’s training centre in Langford prepares athletes for the international stage

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Thousands cycle to conquer cancer

The 11th annual Ride to Conquer Cancer took place Saturday morning, Aug. 24 in Surrey, B.C.

Most Read