BC Parks Reservation Service: Myth Busting
We love hearing your questions and comments about our reservation service. Sometimes we hear questions that make us realize we need to communicate better about some of the myths that have popped up over the years, and this blog aims to do just that.
We want everyone to have a positive camping experience from your computer to the campground, and a large part of this is embedded in our commitment to equity and fairness in accessing camping opportunities.
Myth 1: Computer bots are reserving sites
Some people think that computer bots are reserving sites, but this is simply not true. Our reservation system requires a unique user account to distinguish between a customer and machine prior to being able to make a reservation. The website service provider also has security measures in place to block bots.
The high demand for camping in BC Parks due to a huge increase in visitors (especially the last couple of years) is the main reason why you may not have gotten the reservation you wanted.
Myth 2: Most bookings are made by people outside of B.C. or Canada
It is often thought that a lot of reservations are made by people outside of B.C or Canada, however the reality is quite different. Most of the camping reservations are made by British Columbians. In the 2022 season, 89% of reservations were made by Canadians and 83% were made by British Columbians.
Myth 3: There are a lot of empty campsites
Visitors are often troubled by seeing empty campsites. While we do see some visitors not showing up for their reservations, there are many reasons a campsite may be empty.
- Campers may be late. Campsite reservations will be held until 11am the day after the arrival date. (If campers are anticipating an arrival past 11am the day after their arrival, they can contact the park operator to let them know. Otherwise, the site will be released.)
- Some people use motorhomes to camp, and leave nothing in their campsite. They may have taken a day trip and will return later that day.
- Some sites are designated as emergency sites and remain empty intentionally.
- Campers may have left without notifying the park operator.
- In some scenarios, campers decide to forgo their reservations without notifying the park operator. This is a concern for BC Parks and we are working to review these scenarios to determine how to curb this behaviour.
Myth 4: Tour operators book campsites ahead of the public
Another myth is that tour operators reserve campsites ahead of the public. Tour Operators do not have early access to the reservation website. Tour operators must log into the system at 7am, just like the rest of the public, to reserve campsites.
Myth 5: The maximum length of stay is 14 consecutive nights
One last myth that needs to be clarified is that BC Parks has a maximum length of stay of 14 nights total – per park, per calendar year – not 14 consecutive nights (which is the myth). There are two exceptions to this at sẁiẁs (Haynes Point) and Porteau Cove where the maximum stay is seven nights.
For example, if you camp at Goldstream Park for two weeks total (not necessarily consecutively) in July 2023, you’ll need to find another campground, in another park, for any other camping trips for the remainder of 2023, as you will have stayed for the maximum of 14 nights at Goldstream already that year.
If you are wondering about any of our policies, our website is an excellent place to start. If you can’t find what you need to know, you can call us at 1-800-689-9025 or you can email ParkInfo@gov.bc.ca. We are happy to help you.