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

Langford considers regulating sale of spray paint following string of vandalism

Regulations could involve restricting sale to minors, locking up spray paint

French Open at Bear Mountain serves a winner

The US Open is scheduled for Sept. 3 to 8 on the hardcourts at Henderson Park in Oak Bay

Union Club of B.C. votes in its first female president

16-year member Grace Van den Brink previously served as vice president

Convicted drug trafficker asks Victoria courtroom for chance to ‘turn this around’

Horst Schirmer sentenced for convictions on five counts of possession related to trafficking

Alzheimer Society calls for helpline volunteers in Greater Victoria

Charity is in ‘urgent need’ as calls on the rise

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of June 18

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you support the government’s decision to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion?

The federal government announced Tuesday its approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline… Continue reading

Man to be sentenced for sexual abuse of young girl in Nanaimo

Stephen Mark Castleden also sentenced for child pornography-related charges

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

VIDEO: Firefighters stop blaze from spreading after BMW crashes at Saratoga Speedway

Victoria-based businessmen were ‘corner training’ on Father’s Day when incident took place

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

Most Read