B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman speaks to reporters at the B.C. legislature, May 2018. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

COVID-19: B.C. park reservations surge as campgrounds reopen

Keep trying, many sites not reservable, George Heyman says

B.C.’s campsite reservation service for provincial parks is seeing more than its usual surge in demand as people restricted from travelling in the COVID-19 pandemic try to book their getaways.

The B.C. Parks discovercamping.ca website didn’t crash when it opened after a shutdown of provincial parks that took effect April 8, Environment Minister George Heyman said May 25, but it has been slow enough that browsers may time out. People should keep trying the website, or consider the option of the Discover Camping call centre (1-800-689-9025) that has a $5 surcharge to book, he said.

“Every year when we open reservations there is a flood of people on the website,” Heyman told CFAX radio station in Victoria. “And this year because people’s travel options are restricted, people obviously are really desperate to get out, to get close to nature, to be out with their family and they know they’re in all likelihood not leaving the province.”

Provincial campgrounds themselves reopen June 1, and Heyman notes that about 45 per cent of the campsites in B.C. are still operated on a first-come, first-served basis. The booking window has also been shortened from four months in advance to two.

RELATED: RCMP recommended closure of provincial parks in April

RELATED: Hope for ‘Cascadia’ tourism amid U.S. border restrictions

“We know in some cases people can’t make those plans that far in advance, so today we’re open for two months from today,” Heyman said. “Tomorrow there will be another day added and it will go on like that.”

Not all campsites and trails in provincial parks will be reopening. A review of the more than 10,000 B.C. Parks sites has determined that some are too confined to be safe under the province’s public health guidelines for maintaining physical distance.

“Not every campsite will be open, like the double campsites with one driveway,” Heyman said. “We are also encouraging people to bring their own hand sanitizer.”

B.C. joined Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in restricting new campsite reservations to in-province residents only as part of the reopening plan. Heyman said he “heard loud and clear from British Columbians” that if they are expected to stay close to home, they should have priority for parks and campsites.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislatureCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Haitian foster children arrive in Nelson after months-long lobbying effort

Marie-Paule Brisson and Sebastien De Marre have parented girls age 12 and 8 since they were babies

Trail RCMP, coroner, investigating fisherman’s sudden death

The Maple Ridge man, in his 50s, died while fishing on a bridge near Trail

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Large police presence in Castlegar on July 9 involved man peeing on street

Three police officers responded to the incident near the Black Rooster Pub at around 1:30 p.m.

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

Most Read