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

Rain, storms to hit Kootenays, Boundary amid flood crisis

Environment Canada is calling for 20 to 40 mm of rain by Friday

Missing Chilliwack man may be travelling to Grand Forks on motorcycle

Wilfred James Kilgren, 69, was last heard from by a friend on April 11

Thunderstorms headed to the West Kootenay

Environment Canada re-issued their special weather statement this morning,

UPDATED: Horgan says B.C. defending its interests in Trans Mountain pipeline

Canadian finance minister’s update comes the same day Kinder Morgan shareholders plan to meet

VIDEO: Public safety minister visits Boundary flooding

Farnworth took a helicopter tour of the area Sunday.

VIDEO: Canadian Forces help flood-ravaged Grand Forks residents heal

Sgt. Bradley Lowes says the military is used to dealing with traumatic times

PHOTOS: Floodwaters rise and fall in Grand Forks

The flood-ravaged Kootenay-Boundary region begins to heal

Martin Mars waterbombers’ firefighting days are done

Wayne Coulson said his company still hopes to find a new home for the vintage aircraft

NHL playoffs weekly roundup

Vegas Golden Knights have done the impossible and have a chance at hoisting the Stanley Cup

Changes needed for ‘Alert Ready’ mass emergency system

‘You need to strike this careful balance between alerting people to lots of problems — and doing it too often’

Las Vegas Golden Knights move on to Stanley Cup final

Improbable run continues for NHL’s newest expansion team

Oregon’s flooded recreational pot market a cautionary tale to Canada

‘In a broader sense, we are adding legal production to an already robust illegal production’

Chilliwack Chiefs make history with first RBC Cup win

In front of a huge and noisy crowd, the Chiefs claimed their first-ever national junior A title

UPDATED: Majority of flood evacuees in Kootenay-Boundary allowed to return home

Officials hope to have all 3,000 people back in their homes by Monday night

Most Read