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Posted: December 29, 2016

Changes to camping reservation system

With the 2017 camping season a few corners away, it’s a good time to start planning 2017’s getaways.

Those looking to experience BC Parks are reminded to become familiar with new changes to the Discover Camping Reservation Service.

Kikomun Creek Provincial Park, east of Cranbrook.
Kikomun Creek Provincial Park, east of Cranbrook.

The province announced significant changes to the Discover Camping Reservation Service in November 2016, to enhance fair access for everyone looking to book a campsite in B.C.’s provincial parks.

These changes take effect on Jan. 2, and include:

* Eliminating the mid-March ‘opening day’ for reservations, and extending the three-month rolling window to four months (for example, as of Jan. 2. Reservations can only be made at campgrounds with arrival dates on or before May 2);

* New measures to prevent the reselling of reservations;

* Restrictions around altering arrival dates to prevent the practice of overbooking days around long weekends, etc.;

* Implementing a pilot project in select parks to reduce the maximum length of stay to seven days during the peak camping season, to provide more camping opportunities, and

* Expanding the Discover Camping call centre hours.

East Kootenay BC Parks that take reservations are: Dry Gulch; Kikomun Creek; and Moyie Lake.

Of the approximate 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages, approximately 55% are reservable while 45% remain on a first-come, first-serve (FCFS) basis.

This past year 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, a Ministry of Environment press release noted.

Less than one per cent 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.

The Discover Camping reservation system has been in place since 1996.

Lead image: Moyie Lake Provincial Park, west of Cranbrook.

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