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Changes to the Discover Camping Reservation Service (2017)

Eliminating the opening day for reservations and extending the rolling reservation window from three to four months

  • This change should eliminate the situation where the reservation system is overwhelmed due to intense demand on ‘opening day’ by customers, many of whom are seeking to reserve on different dates.
  • Reservations for the 2017 season can now be made four months in advance of an individual campground’s first reservable date.
  • First reservable dates vary by campground, but many come into effect starting mid-May. It will be up to the customer to confirm the date their desired campground will be open for reservations.
  • Customers will be able to plan their vacations an additional one month further in advance than the previous three month planning horizon.
  • Extending the planning horizon to a longer timeframe is consistent with what other comparable jurisdictions do, including Washington State and Ontario.

Addressing the issue of reselling and/or transferring reservations by removing the ability of permit holders to change the names on their reservation.

  • In 2016, BC Parks is aware of 46 incidents of attempts to resell Discover Camping reservations (out of more than 185,000 reservations made as of mid-September).
  • Starting Jan. 2, 2017, when a customer makes a reservation, they will be required to provide one or two permit holder names to be registered. These names cannot be changed at a later date.
  • At least one of the permit holders must be present during the stay, and identification may be required to keep the reservation valid.
  • This will remove ability for someone to resell a reservation, then later change the permit holder’s name to a third party name.

Addressing the practice of overbooking, when a customer makes a reservation to include more nights than are needed to secure a desired date and later cancels the dates that they never intended to use.

  • The overbooking practice took place in approximately 1% of total reservations in 2016, but is increasing.
  • BC Parks is implementing a new policy to restrict a reservation holder’s ability to change their arrival date if they book on or within seven days of a “release date”. A release date is defined as the maximum time in advance of a trip that a customer can make a reservation on Discover Camping.
  • This policy only applies to customers who try to change their arrival date. Customers will still have the ability to change their departure date.
  • Customers, who book within this seven-day period and want to change their arrival date, will have to cancel the reservation and re-book. Cancelled inventory will be released the next day at 7a.m. and will be available to all customers making a reservation at this time.
  • BC Parks chose to restrict bookings seven days after a release date as it is a sufficient amount of time to stop the practice of overbooking, while minimizing the impact to other customers that legitimately need to change their arrival date.
  • Customers will be notified during the reservation process that they will be unable to change their arrival date.
  • Customers, who book after the seven-day restricted booking period, will be able to change their arrival date.

Pilot project to create more camping opportunities in high demand parks

  • Given the high demand for camping opportunities in certain provincial campgrounds, BC Parks is implementing a pilot project to shorten the 14-day maximum stay policy to seven days in five high-occupancy campgrounds during the peak season (June 15 to Labour Day inclusive).
  • Provincial campgrounds included in this pilot project are Martha Creek (near Revelstoke), Mount Fernie (near Fernie), Porteau Cove (near Vancouver), Loveland Bay (near Campbell River) and Ellison (near Vernon).
  • Implementing a seven-night maximum stay policy in high demand campgrounds during peak season creates camping opportunities for more families.
  • These campgrounds were selected for a maximum seven-night policy because they have exceptionally high demand with a relatively limited number of campsites.
  • Reducing the maximum time a party can stay in these campgrounds is projected to create more than 1,000 campsite/night vacancies, freeing up space for more people to stay at these high-demand campgrounds.

Expanding Discover Camping Call Centre hours

  • To provide Discover Camping users with enhanced customer service, starting Jan. 2, 2017, the Call Centre will open from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. (Pacific Time) daily.
  • The Discover Camping Call Centre is currently available to assist customers with making their reservations from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (Pacific Time) on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and holidays.
  • The Call Centre is available to customers who prefer personalized service to assist with their campsite reservations. Customers using the Call Centre to make a reservation must pay a $5.00 surcharge.
  • The Call Centre is open Saturdays, Sundays and Statutory holidays with the exception of Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.

Making more campsites reservable

  • There are 124 campgrounds and over 6,000 frontcountry (vehicle accessible/group/walk-in) campsites on the Discover Camping Reservation Service. 
  • Two new frontcountry campgrounds will be added to the Discover Camping reservation service: Skagit Valley (near Hope) and Mount Robson — Lucerne Campground (near Valemount).
  • With the success of launching reservations in select high-use campgrounds in Garibaldi Park (near Squamish) in 2016, three new campgrounds will be added to the reservation service for the 2017 season: Helm, Cheakamus and Singing Creek.
  • Golden Ears (near Vancouver) is better meeting public demand by significantly increasing the number of reservable sites at two popular campgrounds, Gold Creek and Alouette Lake.