British Columbia Parks Packed for Upcoming Weekend
Some of British Columbia’s most popular provincial campgrounds are already fully booked for the upcoming Victory Day weekend and on Monday there was little space left for campers at Alice Lake , Golden Ears, Cultus Lake and E. C. Manning provincial parks, where campsites are mostly on a first-come, first-served basis, the Vancouver Sun reported.
Okanagan hot spots such as Haynes Point and Shuswap Lake have no space at all for campers.
“Anything that’s within two or three hours’ distance of Vancouver or Surrey is very busy because it’s easily accessible by car and it’s not too far away so you’re not spending too much of the long weekend on the road,” said Claudia Laroye, a local travel blogger and avid camper.
The parks’ Discover Camping online reservation system allows campers to reserve up to three specific campsites. Campers must reserve a minimum of three nights for statutory-holiday weekends. Users can choose from campsites, yurts/cabins, group campgrounds, group picnic areas and back-country options. A map displays all reservable campgrounds in the province, labeled green if there are sites available and red if they are fully booked.
Laroye says she’s camped extensively throughout the province, but is finding it harder to find provincial campsites available in the summer months.
“The freewheeling days of going on a road trip and saying, ‘Oh we’ll just stay here for the night’ (are over),” she said. “We’ve been turned away from sites because campgrounds are completely full. There’s advantages to the reservation system because you can plan ahead and know with security that you’ve got a campsite for the long weekend or a week.”
Campers discouraged by red markings on the site’s map this weekend should check the parks’ website for campsites reserved for drive-in traffic on a first-come, first-served basis.
Popular locations such as Cultus Lake’s Clear Ground campground has 82 individual sites, but only 59 are reservable, meaning 23 sites are available for early arrivals.
Less accessible campgrounds such as Galiano Island’s Montague Harbour Marine Provincial Park are fully booked. All 28 of its campsites are reservable, and spoken for.
Keen campers looking for a site may fare better on Vancouver Island.
Parksville’s Rathtrevor Beach and the up-island Miracle Beach still have campsites available for the long weekend. Campbell River spots such as Elk Falls and Morton provincial parks have a number of sites still available.
British Columbia Ferries spokeswoman Deborah Marshall says 81 extra sailings have been scheduled between the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island, beginning Thursday through Tuesday, May 22.
Although the recent streak of good weather is expected to cool off slightly this weekend, warm temperatures are still in the forecast and will provide ideal camping conditions.