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Camping Reservations, hopefully, made easier after changes to system

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
November 8th, 2016

After a season that saw many unhappy campers staying home, the BC Government has decided to make changes to the BC Parks Discover Camping Reservation Service for the 2017 season.

The reason is to improve fair access for everyone looking to book a campsite in B.C.’s world-class provincial parks.

“We want to make sure the campsite reservation service is doing its job as effectively and efficiently as possible,” said Mary Polak, Minister of Environment.

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

“The changes we’re bringing in for 2017 address policies that are prone to abuse by a small number of people and contribute to positive camping experiences in our beautiful BC Parks.”

Beginning in 2017, the mid-March “opening day” for reservations will be eliminated and the three-month rolling reservation window will be extended.

Reservations for the 2017 season can be made four months in advance of an individual campground’s first reservable date.

Other changes include new measures to prevent the reselling of reservations, restrictions around altering arrival dates to prevent the practice of ‘overbooking’ where coveted reservations, including long-weekends, are unfairly secured, and implementing a pilot project in select parks to reduce the maximum length of stay to seven days during the peak camping season in order to provide more camping opportunities in provincial parks.

The changes being implemented are in response to concerns raised during the 2016 camping season and will take effect Jan. 2, 2017.

Every year BC Parks improves the reservation service by conducting annual reviews, reviewing customer feedback and by increasing the number of campgrounds and sites on the system.

Quick Facts:

  • Of the approximate 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages, approximately 55% are reservable while 45% remain on a first-come, first-serve (FCFS) basis.
  • 2016 marked another record year with more than 185,000 reservations (as of mid-September) made through Discover Camping with the majority of reservations (approximately 72%) originating from British Columbia.
  • Demand for BC Parks’ campsite reservations through Discover Camping has grown by over 91% in the last five years.
  • Everyone is given access to the reservable campsite inventory at the same time. No one, including commercial operators, are given preferential treatment to reserve campsites and the system does not allow block campsite reservations.
  • Less than 1% of the more than 185,000 bookings in 2016 (as of mid-September), were made by commercial operators. For the most part, these companies booked short stays of two days or less, with the majority occurring Sunday through Thursday.
  • Reservations are held until 11 a.m. the day after the scheduled arrival date. If the park is not notified of a late arrival, the site becomes available for others to enjoy.
  • The Discover Camping reservation system has been in place since 1996.
  • The Discover Camping reservation system is paid for through reservation fees. There is no cost to taxpayers and service charges remain at 1996 pricing.

Categories: General

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