Camping reservations for B.C. Parks now open

Campers are pictured at Elfin Lakes Trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park in August 2020. Reservations for camping in B.C.'s provincial parks are now open. (Shutterstock - image credit)
Campers are pictured at Elfin Lakes Trails in Garibaldi Provincial Park in August 2020. Reservations for camping in B.C.'s provincial parks are now open. (Shutterstock - image credit)

Camping reservations for many of B.C.'s provincial parks are now open for the 2023 season.

As of 7 a.m. PT, campers eager to get outside in the months ahead logged in online to make their reservation, including Louise Pedersen, who was after a spot on Vancouver Island.

"I was successful!" she told B.C. Today host Michelle Eliot.

Last year, the province revamped the online booking process, offering more flexible search options such as a map for searching campgrounds by region, park listing or site availability, information about facilities, and saved booking preferences for customer accounts.

Pedersen, who is also executive director of Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C., says the new system has worked well overall.

The biggest issue, she says, is that the supply for campsites can't meet the demand.

There are more than 10,000 campgrounds in B.C. Of those managed by B.C. Parks, approximately half are available on a first-come-first-served basis.

B.C. Parks says more than 317,000 reservations were made last season on its updated online booking system, an increase of 26.5 per cent from 2019.

Camping reservations for 2023 can be made on the B.C. Parks website.

Four-month booking window

Starting this year, campers can reserve sites up to four months ahead of their planned arrival date, as opposed to two months ahead previously.

Before the pandemic, people were able to reserve four months in advance.

B.C. Parks
B.C. Parks

Amandeep Singh, parliamentary secretary for the environment and MLA for Richmond Queenborough, says after speaking with campers, who offered a lot of feedback, the province changed the time period in which people could reserve a spot.

"The old camping reservation system was fantastic, but there was a lot of things missing," he said.

Singh, a camper himself, says he used to have a "terrible" time trying to make a reservation.

"People will have a much better experience," Singh said.

"They may not get their first-time choice, but they'll get a choice."

Flood-damaged trail remains closed

Reservations for the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit in Bowron Lake Provincial Park opened on Dec. 1.

Most of the Berg Lake Trail, which takes hikers through nearly two dozen kilometres of Mount Robson Provincial Park in northern B.C., will remain closed in 2023, except for 14 sites at Kinney Lake Campground. Reservations for those sites will open on Feb. 1.

The world-renowned hiking trail was closed after being seriously damaged by flooding last summer.