Province is raising camping fees
To maintain service levels in B.C. provincial parks for an increasing number of visitors, the province is raising camping fees as of March 15.
This increase comes after years of investment delivering capital projects aimed at attracting young families, offering new recreation opportunities and increasing attendance in provincial parks. Over the past five years, BC Parks has invested approximately $60 million in park facilities, and has approximately $700 million of investment in infrastructure that requires maintenance, reported the Ministry of Environment Jan. 22.
Fee increases are nominal to ensure camping remains affordable for families and visitors enjoying B.C.’s world-class parks system – one of the largest protected areas systems in the world.
While the fee schedule varies, the vast majority of provincial campsites will see a $2 per night increase, while others will see slightly larger increase in price, to a maximum of $5 per night. The last system-wide increase was in 2010.
The increase is expected to generate $1.3 million this year for B.C.’s protected areas system. All revenue from the increased fees will be put back into maintaining and enhancing the parks system.
There are no increases to fees for sani-stations, mooring buoys, backcountry camping, picnic shelters, or group camping.
Parking remains free in all provincial parks.
“British Columbia’s world-renowned parks provide superb recreational opportunities for visitors from throughout the province and around the world. From diverse terrain to temperate climate, our parks are truly a unique treasure. By increasing user fees in campgrounds, campers who use the parks system are helping to keep it sustainable for future generations to enjoy,” stated Mary Polak, Minister of Environment (MoE).
User fees at BC Parks are generally lower than those of most private campsites in the province, and competitive with public sector campgrounds in other jurisdictions, a MoE press release noted.
For example: A private operator on Shuswap Lake will charge $30 – $60/night, and BC Parks charges $32/night for a campsite with up to four adults.
There are 1,029 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas in B.C., covering more than 14 million hectares or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base.
One of the largest park systems in the world, British Columbia has the highest percentage of its land base dedicated to protected areas of all provincial Canadian jurisdictions.
B.C. provincial parks receive over 21 million visits each year.
In 2014, more than 133,000 reservations were made through Discover Camping, the province’s camping reservation system, – almost a 10% increase from 2013.
For a complete list of campgrounds and updated fees, visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/fees/userfees.pdf
To view the complete camping fee schedule for 2015, please visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/fees/userfees.pdf
Lead image: Alces Lake Campground in Whiteswan Provincial Park. Ian Cobb/e-KNOW images