With the 2017 camping season just around the corner, more than 49,000 reservations have already been booked through the Discover Camping Reservation Service.
The vast majority of reservations, 76%, have originated in British Columbia.
This is the first camping season since the Province announced improvements to the Discover Camping Reservation Service, to enhance fair access for everyone looking to book a campsite in B.C.’s world-renowned provincial parks.
The changes, which took effect on Jan. 2, 2017, include:
- Eliminating the mid-March “opening day” for reservations, and extending the three month rolling window to four months.
- New measures to prevent the reselling of reservations. The public is reminded that random spot checks will take place at BC Parks to verify the identity of reservation holders.
- Restrictions around altering arrival dates to prevent the practice of overbooking days around coveted times, including long weekends.
- Implementing a pilot project in select parks to reduce the maximum length of stay to seven days during the peak camping season, to provide more camping opportunities.
- Expanding the Discover Camping call centre hours.
Last year saw a record year of more than 187,000 reservations made through Discover Camping, with approximately 72% originating from British Columbia.
Campers will also have more opportunities to camp throughout British Columbia this camping season, with the completion of more than 350 new campsites in BC Parks and forestry recreation sites.
This is the first phase of the 1,900 new campsites announced by Premier Christy Clark in November 2016 as part of the BC Parks Future Strategy, the Province’s commitment to public-recreation opportunities.
Under the $22.9-million program more than 800 of the new sites will be in provincial parks, while more than 1,000 will be in recreation sites. Campsite expansion is occurring in all regions of the province, with the majority being where demand is greatest; in the Kootenays, Okanagan, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
The upcoming camping season will also see 28 more full-time park rangers and new programs to promote and protect the environment, all part of a $25-million increase in funding over the next three years, as part of the BC Parks Future Strategy.
Over the longer term, the BC Parks Future Strategy will see new and innovative funding sources complement government’s increased core funding. A new BC Parks Foundation will help generate private revenue to be spent on promoting and enhancing the experience in BC Parks, with the Province providing an initial $10-million endowment. As well, net proceeds from a series of specialty BC Parks licence plates will help to generate revenue for the Parks Enhancement Fund. To date, more than 15,000 BC Parks licence plates have been sold.
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment –
“We know people are passionate about parks, and love to camp in the beautiful B.C. wilderness we have right in our backyard. Camping is a great way for family and friends to get outside and make some memories, and I’m thrilled so many people have already booked their next adventure.”
- B.C.’s provincial parks receive more than 21 million visits each year.
- Parking is free in all provincial parks, making them more accessible to families.
- BC Parks manages the third-largest parks system in North America behind the United States National Park Service and Parks Canada.
- British Columbia has the highest percentage of its land base dedicated to protected areas of all provincial Canadian jurisdictions.
- B.C. offers a range of camping experiences in provincial parks as well as recreation sites.
- Over the past five years, the Province has invested approximately $60 million in park facilities, delivering projects directed at attracting young families, offering new recreation opportunities and increasing attendance.
The Province recently announced changes to the Discover Camping Reservation Service for the 2017 season, which aim to improve fair access for everyone. For more details, and to book your next trip, please visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/reserve/
To read the BC Parks Future Strategy, please visit: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/future/
To learn more about BC Parks: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/
To learn more about FLNRO Recreation Sites and Trails: http://www.sitesandtrailsbc.ca/default.aspx