Minister’s take on camping

I completely understand the frustration people feel when they are unable to reserve a campsite in one of our provincial parks

I completely understand the frustration people feel when they are unable to reserve a campsite in one of our provincial parks. You’ve booked some vacation time, or maybe have simply left work early on a Friday to get a jump on the weekend. You would like to kick back with friends or family away from the bustle of the city, but your favourite campground you’ve visited over the years is full.

The very features we all love about provincial parks, namely spectacular wilderness close to where we live, is also causing a problem for some people and families. There are simply too many people chasing too few campsites. There are fewer than 6,000 reservable campsites in B.C.

The ultimate solution is to increase the supply of campsites, but that will take some time. Availability of land in high-demand areas is one challenge but, as well, for everyone who wants to see expanded campsites for recreational purposes, you have another person who says, “No, I don’t want you to cut down more trees.”

We will address that, but in the meantime, we are also making sure the campsite reservation system is doing its job as effectively and efficiently as possible.

We know British Columbians want a reservation system that is fair, that they have just as good a chance of securing a campsite as the next person.

Every year we make changes to improve the Discover Camping system to ensure it is fair and every year some people find new ways to circumvent the system.

We are working closely with our reservation service provider to determine what changes can be made for next year to close loopholes.

While our main challenge centres around supply and demand, we take any allegations of unfair reservation practices very seriously. Of the 131,000 reservations made so far this year, the public has informed us of only a couple dozen incidents of people attempting to re-sell reservations.

We followed up on all of those to make sure all ads have been removed or reservations cancelled. BC Parks also monitors social media sites for advertisements about re-selling reservations.

For the last five years, about three-quarters of reservations through Discover Camping have been made by British Columbians.

No one, including commercial operators, is given preferential treatment to reserve campsites and the system does not allow block campsite reservations.

Last year, fewer than 800 reservations, or well under 1% of the more than 158,000 bookings, were made by commercial operators. And for the most part, these companies booked short stays of two days or less, with the majority occurring Sunday through Thursday.

Some ideas we are considering to improve the reservation system include: adjusting the reservation opening dates; lengthening the three-month rolling reservation window; and shortening the maximum stay in high-demand parks from 14 days to seven days, in order to provide more camping opportunities.

All options will be carefully considered to make sure we don’t negatively impact the majority of our users, while trying to solve a

problem that is only being abused by a handful of reservation holders.

We are working hard to ensure everyone has fair and transparent access to our coveted camping opportunities across British Columbia and positive camping experiences in BC Parks.

Mary Polak, Minister of Environment

 

Just Posted

Video: Shuswap Search and Rescue help injured mountain biker

North Vancouver woman falls on trail in North Shuswap

Police request public’s help after cat shot in North Shuswap

Chase RCMP seeking information, small calibre bullets lodged in shoulder of pet

Hornets take home gold at Interior Spring League Playoffs tournament

The tournament consisted of seven teams from Kamloops to West Kelowna

Letter: Residents urged to vote for kitchen for Outdoor School

Voting goes until June 23 to receive $100,000 for South Canoe

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: mainly sunny

Environment Canada is calling for a chance of showers tomorrow across the Okanagan

BREAKING: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

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

Beloved South Okanagan baker dies

Beloved baker Ben Manea died suddenly on June 15, bakery to operate for one final week

Knife-wielding man robs South Okanagan pizza shop

RCMP are looking for the suspect who was wearing a ski mask

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

B.C. high school withdraws notices for temporary dress code

Parents previously told the Interior News they felt there was inadequate consultation over the rules

Rockets ready to take flight at upcoming NHL draft

A handful of Kelowna’s best could hear their name at the draft starting Friday

Leave your dogs at home, they can’t take the heat

Kelowna police responded to six reports of dogs left alone in hot cars this month

Okanagan College’s Women In Trades Training program celebrates 1,000 students

Since 2009, WITT has trained approximately 100 women each year

Arrested suspect connected to string of Okanagan robberies

Man arrested after failed robbery at Enderby store may be involved in four other such crimes

Most Read