BC Parks has released plans to allow overnight camping this summer starting on June 1st following the re-opening of most provincial parks for day use on May 14th.

In an effort to support “staying local and avoiding unnecessary travel,” BC Parks is also implementing measures that will give B.C. residents “preferential treatment” when it comes to campsite booking this summer. Alberta and Saskatchewan have restricted their provincial camping to residents for similar reasons.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, when asked earlier today at the daily briefing about the parks closure to out-of-province campers, commented that she knew nothing about it. Health Minister Adrian Dix answered the question stating that the closure has been done, in part, to ensure British Columbians have first and only dibs on their provincial campsites for a summer during which they are not supposed to travel outside B.C.

“What we’re trying to do … is to control, to a degree, non-essential travel or overnight travel. It’s just a prudent step that’s being taken. It’s also being done to ensure access should such campsites be reopened sometime in the summer … British Columbians have full access.”

New reservations made by non-B.C. residents after the system reopens next week “will be subject to immediate cancellation without refund,” wrote BC Parks in a release. Non-BC residents with existing reservations, meanwhile, are being asked to contact the call centre before June 15 to receive a full refund.

The Discover Camping website and call centre is set to begin accepting new reservations for provincial campgrounds and backcountry camping on Monday, May 25 at 7 a.m, while most campgrounds, camping opportunities and accommodations will re-open to the public.

In an effort to provide a safe camping experience for park staff and visitors, BC Parks is making a few operational changes as parks reopen for the upcoming camping season.

This summer, the camping reservations system will operate within a two-month “rolling booking window.” This means when the system re-opens for reservations on Monday, campers will be able to book up until July 25. On the following day, May 26, British Columbians can book campsites for July 26, and so on. The daily releasing of camping availability will continue until “the end of the reservable period in each campground is reached.”

Mount Fernie Provincial Park re-opened parking lots & trails for day use earlier this month and camping reservations at Mount Fernie Provincial Park will be available for stays within the next 4 months.

The Fernie RV Resort is a locally owned private campground that is open for camping year around.

Here is the full news release by Discover Camping:

BC PARKS – UPDATED DISCOVER CAMPING REOPENING PLANS
BC Parks is taking a phased approach to re-opening, and as of May 14, 2020, many parks have re-opened for day use. The Discover Camping website and call centre will reopen to new reservations on May 25, 2020 at 7am PT. Campgrounds, camping opportunities and accommodations will begin to open on June 1, 2020.

As we work to ensure a positive and safe camping experience for all park staff and visitors, we have made a few additional operational changes for the upcoming camping season:
· Frontcountry and backcountry reservations will be available on a 2-month rolling window starting May 25th at 7am:
– On May 25th, the system will open to arrivals as far forward as July 25th.
– On May 26th, July 26th arrivals will be released; on May 27th, July 27th arrivals will be released and so on. This daily release of inventory will continue until the end of the reservable period in each campground is reached.
– Reservations can be made in most campgrounds for a maximum stay of 14 days, subject to availability.
– Reservations made within the first two weeks of inventory being released cannot be changed. This is to prevent people from overbooking and subsequently changing arrival dates to shorten their stay in order to obtain a favourable site or time ahead of other customers. These reservations can only be cancelled, and normal cancellation fees will apply. Customers should not attempt to book a reservation until exactly 2 months ahead of their chosen arrival date.
– Regular cancellation rules and penalties will apply to all new reservations made on or after May 25th.

· Groupsites and reservable picnic shelters will remain closed for the time being; all existing reservations will be cancelled through to December 31, 2020.

In an earlier email to Discover Camping customers, we shared the latest information on double sites and cancelations. For easy reference, we have included this information below.
· Double sites will only be available for double site bookings (i.e., they will not be bookable as single sites for two separate parties). In order to manage numbers and keep our campers and facilities safe, double sites will also only permit a maximum of one camping party for both halves (4 adults (over the age of 16) up to a max of 8 persons including children under 16). Existing bookings for double sites must abide by the new maximum occupancy rules and may cancel free of charge by June 15, 2020 if their camping party does not fit the criteria. There are no changes to the maximum party size for single sites.

· Existing reservations that were not yet cancelled for June 1 onward will be honoured. Those with existing reservations beyond June 1 who would like to cancel them will have until June 15 to cancel without facing a cancellation fee. Reservations cancelled after June 15 will face regular cancellation penalties. Reservations made once the system reopens will be subject to regular cancellation rules and penalties.

Some parks and campsites may open later than June 1, or will remain closed, which may impact some reservations. These cancellations and full refunds will be processed automatically by Discover Camping, no action is required by affected visitors. A listing of delayed openings and closed campgrounds can be found at the end of this email.

While the Discover Camping call centre is available for reservations related support and bookings, they do not keep, nor provide general park information. Please continue to check www.bcparks.ca for the most up to date general park information over the coming weeks.

The health and safety of our BC Parks staff, park operators, and visitors continues to be our top priority. We are all in this together, and we thank you for your patience and understanding as our staff and park operators work to safely re-open parks and campgrounds across the province. We look forward to seeing many of you out camping soon.

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