Campground reservation system has been tightened up and more spaces are being added to meet demand.

New spaces part of BC Parks overhaul

Reservation system changes, additional park rangers start this summer to protect parks and meet demand

The B.C. government is rolling out the next phase of its campground expansion plan, to meet a target of 1,900 spaces over five years set by Premier Christy Clark last November.

Increased tourism and demand on BC Parks’ online reservation system have also led to booking changes for provincial parks that are booked up during popular periods. Bookings opened in January this year, eliminating the mid-March “opening day” that resulted in over-bookings and cancellations used to target holiday weekends.

A new policy to prevent reselling and transferring campground reservations also took effect in January, requiring original permit holders to be present during the stay too keep the reservation valid. Reservations were extended to Skagit Valley, Mount Robson and three campgrounds in Garibaldi Park during peak season, and more sites at Golden Ears Park were made reservable for this year.

The reservation charge remains at $6 plus tax per night, with a maximum of $18 for three or more nights. Camping fees were increased across the province in 2015, with increases of $2 to $5 per night bringing the charge for the most popular parks up to $35 a night for up to four adults.

The charge for backcountry camping and use of sani-stations was held at $5, and there has been no return to parking fees at day-use areas. BC Parks signature licence plates went on sale this year and more than 10,000 have been sold.

An additional 25 full-time park rangers are being funded in the parks budget starting this year, along with the first endowment to a new BC Parks Foundation, intended to “generate private revenue,” according to a statement released in February.