VICTORIA – The official start of the 2021 camping season is still a few months away, but people living in B.C. can soon begin reserving campsites in provincial parks to help plan trips close to home.
The Discover Camping reservation service opens March 8, 2021, giving B.C. residents an opportunity to book a campsite two months in advance of their arrival date. People who live in the province will have priority access to campsite reservations throughout the summer.
“Our provincial parks have never been as important as they are right now. They provide a special place to safely connect with nature and improve our health and well-being during these difficult times,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We are all looking forward to another summer of camping and outdoor recreation in B.C., and while public health concerns and advice remain, we are asking people to pick a campground as close to home as possible to avoid long road trips and non-essential travel.”
Reservations can be made no further than two months out from arrival. Since COVID-19 is still impacting the province and travel opportunities are limited, this year’s camping season is expected to be busy. BC Parks appreciates that a positive camping experience starts the moment a site is booked, so it is important to be prepared with back up options for preferred sites and dates.
On July 8, people living in other provinces can reserve campsites for the remainder of the season. Reservations can be made at: https://www.discovercamping.ca
“We recognize the heightened importance of outdoor recreation during these uncertain times,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment. “Our government is committed to ensuring British Columbians can safely enjoy the natural beauty of our province close to home.”
Opening provincial campgrounds safely to support public health guidelines means it will not be business as usual in many campgrounds. Changes are being made to ensure everyone has a safe visit, such as how many people can be in a campsite and restrictions on group sites. Reservations for day-use facilities, including picnic shelters and halls, remain closed for the 2021 season.
Public health guidelines for gatherings may change throughout the season and between the time of booking a campsite and a scheduled arrival date. All camping parties must ensure they meet current public health guidelines for gatherings, even if those allowed numbers are less than the maximum site allowance.
“We are looking forward to another great season of taking care of our spectacular provincial parks and welcoming you into our campgrounds. We are doing everything we can to ensure our parks are safe for visitors,” said Eddie Wood, president, Society of Park Operators. “Many of our campgrounds will be very busy, so it’s important to plan ahead, follow public health guidelines, and enjoy B.C.’s outdoors. It’s going to be a fantastic season.”
Prior to the general opening on March 8, backcountry camping reservations will open on March 1 for the full season for two popular backcountry trips – the Berg Lake Trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park and the canoe circuit in Bowron Lake Provincial Park. The Berg Lake Trail can be reserved from June 12 to Sept. 30, and the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit can be reserved from May 15 to Sept. 23.
* B.C.’s provincial parks receive more than 23 million visits each year.
* During the last three years, over 1,200 campsites have been added to provincial parks and recreation sites. More sites are being added this season, including a new, fully serviced 90-site campground in Manning Park set to open this spring.
* Of the 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages, approximately 55% are reservable and 45% remain available on a first come, first served basis.
* One of the largest park systems in North America, B.C. has more than 1,000 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base.
* Parks and protected areas are dedicated to preserving the natural environment. Places of special ecological importance are designated as ecological reserves for scientific research and educational purposes.