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Camping reservations open soon for 2023

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 11:24 PST, Mon November 14, 2022

It's time to get out the calendar and start planning camping trips in more provincial parks next year.

At 7 a.m. (Pacific time) on Jan. 3, 2023, many of BC Parks' campsites will open for reservations.

People can book a site four months ahead of their desired arrival date instead of the previous two-month booking window. A list of campground operating and reservable dates can be found at bcparks.ca/operating-dates/.

"Through our ongoing visitor engagement, we've heard the majority of campers prefer a four-month rolling window, allowing people to book a site well in advance of their visit," said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. "We will continue to listen to public feedback so we can improve people's park experiences, and everyone can easily access the many beautiful parks and backcountry areas our province has to offer."

More campgrounds are being added to the new reservation service for the 2023 season, including Gwillim Lake Park near Chetwynd, Yahk Park near the Kingsgate border crossing, and Allison Lake Park near Princeton. All these campgrounds will maintain a balance of reservable and first-come-first-served sites.

Additionally, reservations for the popular Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit in Bowron Lake Provincial Park will open for the entire 2023 season at 7 a.m. on Dec. 1. People need to be prepared and self-sufficient for this backcountry experience that involves 116 kilometres of paddling across 10 lakes with several portages that require transporting canoes and gear over land.

Most of the 23-kilometre Berg Lake Trail in Mount Robson Provincial Park will remain closed for the 2023 season, except for 14 sites at the Kinney Lake Campground. Located seven kilometres from the parking lot, Kinney Lake will open for reservations on a four-month rolling window at 7 a.m. on Feb. 1, 2023. The rest of the trail, which was damaged by extreme weather in 2021, remains closed for repairs.

"We are fortunate to live in a province that has an abundance of spectacular parks for people to connect with nature and learn about Indigenous Peoples' history and culture," said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment. "We continue to expand opportunities for camping and improve accessibility so more people can experience the natural treasures of our beautiful province."

Launched in March, the new BC Parks reservation service is part of a broader, ongoing redesign of digital services to improve visitors' experiences from computer to campground. Feedback received through ongoing user-experience research has been instrumental in shaping improvements to the reservation service and the in-progress redesign of the BC Parks website, which can be viewed at beta.bcparks.ca.

More than 5,000 people have signed up to be part of the user-experience research. Updates about what visitors want from digital services, how to make camping reservations easier, and insights into camper behaviour are shared on the BC Parks blog at engage.gov.bc.ca/bcparksblog/.

More than 317,000 reservations were made on the new BC Parks reservation service for the 2022 season—an increase of 26.5 per cent since 2019. BC Parks has more than 10,000 reservable day-use and overnight accommodations available, ranging from day-use passes, parking permits, and campsites to backcountry permits, picnic shelters, backcountry cabins, and a yurt.

Since 2017, more than 1,700 campsites have been added to provincial parks and recreation sites in high-demand areas. Of the 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages, approximately half are available on a first-come-first-served (FCFS) basis. In campgrounds that have reservations, most also maintain some FCFS sites.

BC Parks is investing $21.5 million for new campsites, trails, and upgrades to existing facilities.

For information about camping reservations, visit bcparks.ca/reserve/.

To participate in the ongoing user-experience research, visit forms2.gov.bc.ca/forms/content?id=845AC163218D4AC582FE7D3523623EA9.

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