British Columbians love camping and they are passionate about their parks! Changes to the BC Parks Discover Camping Reservation Service for the 2017 season aim to improve fair access for everyone looking to book a campsite in B.C.’s world class provincial parks.
The changes being implemented are in response to concerns raised during the 2016 camping season and will take effect Jan. 2, 2017.
Eliminating the March 15 ‘opening day’ for reservations and opening a 4-month rolling reservation window.
As of January 2, 2017 these changes will be in place:
- Removed the “opening day” (previously March 15)
- Extended the rolling reservation window from three months to four months, starting January 2, 2017.
These changes will allow you to start planning your vacations an additional month further in advance than the previous three month planning horizon.
New measures to prevent the reselling and/or transferring of reservations.
This past year, BC Parks was made aware of a number of attempts to resell Discover Camping reservations. Starting January 2, 2017, when a customer makes a reservation, they will be required to provide one or two permit holder names to be registered.
These names cannot be changed at a later date. Adding the option for a second name will allow small family groups to have flexibility in who arrives to their campsite first, but it will remove the ability for someone to resell a reservation, then later change the permit holder’s name to a third party name.
At least one of the named permit holders must be present during the stay, and identification may be required to keep the reservation valid.
Restrictions around altering arrival dates, if a customer books on a release date (the maximum time in advance of a trip) to prevent the practice of “overbooking”.
The practice of overbooking was highlighted this past camping season. This practice is when a customer makes a reservation to include more nights than are needed to secure a desired date and then later cancels the dates that they never intended to use. An example would be booking a 2-week stay at a maximum window of opportunity to capture a long weekend at the tail-end of the reservation, and then cancelling the preceding 11 days so you were able to secure a long weekend stay before it was actually available to book on its own.
As a result, we are implementing a new policy to restrict a reservation holder’s ability to change their arrival date if they book on or within 7 days of a “release date.”
What does this mean for you? If you are booking at the maximum 4-month rolling reservation window, or within the first 7 days after, then you will have a “restricted booking”. An example of a restricted booking would be booking for a May 15 arrival, between January 15-22. This shows the maximum 4-month window or within the first 7 days of the window.
Customers who book within this 7-day period and want to change their arrival date will have to cancel the reservation and re-book. Cancelled inventory will be released the next day at 7am and will be equally available to all customers making a reservation at this time. This policy only applies to customers who try to change their arrival date (you can still change a departure date) and it will stop the practice of booking a longer stay than is really wanted in order to secure popular dates ahead of everyone else.
Implementing a pilot project in select parks to shorten the maximum length of stay to seven days during the peak camping season to create more camping opportunities.
Lastly, due to the intense demand on some of our most popular parks and to create more camping opportunities, we are piloting a 7-day maximum allowable stay in five provincial parks during the peak camping season (June 15 to Labour Day inclusive). This will open up more sites for a larger number of people. Provincial campgrounds included in this pilot project are:
- Martha Creek
- Mount Fernie
- Porteau Cove
- Loveland Bay
These campgrounds were selected because they are in high-demand, but only have a limited number of campsites. This pilot project is intended to allow more people to stay in these select parks.
These changes were made to contribute to a much better experience for all. We hope many of you are able to experience our beautiful BC Provincial Parks in 2017!
Written by: The Discover Camping Team