350-plus new campsites throughout B.C. open for 2017 camping season

VANCOUVER – Visitors will soon have more camping opportunities throughout British Columbia with the completion of more than 350 new campsites in BC Parks and forestry recreation sites, in time for the upcoming camping season.

“Camping is an important way of life for Canadians to connect with family and friends. People come to experience British Columbia’s outdoors, to enjoy our world-class scenery and to camp in our provincial campground facilities. This campsite expansion allows us to address the increasing local regional demand for overnight access to the outdoors, while building a first class experience for our visitors.” says Joss Penny, chair, Camping and RVing BC Coalition.

This is the first phase of the 1,900 new campsites announced by Premier Christy Clark in November 2016 as part of the BC Parks Future Strategy, the Province’s commitment to public recreation opportunities. Campsite expansion is occurring in all regions of the province, and the majority will be where demand is greatest – in the Kootenays, Okanagan, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

“We’re pleased these new campsites will be open for the upcoming camping season, and these are only the first phase of campsites to come. We know people are passionate about BC Parks, and that demand for camping opportunities is high. This campsite expansion will help provide more camping opportunities where demand is greatest, which will improve the overall visitor experience, and help to support a strong and secure parks system for future generations,” Mary Polak, Minister of Environment.

“These investments will increase the number of camping opportunities in B.C. to help meet the growing demand. By offering recreation sites, we’re able to provide a range of camping experiences,” says Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations .

 

Quick Facts:

 

* B.C.’s provincial parks receive more than 21 million visits each year.

* Parking is free in all provincial parks, making them more accessible to families.

* BC Parks manages the third-largest parks system in North America behind the United States National Park Service and Parks Canada.

* British Columbia has the highest percentage of its land base dedicated to protected areas of all provincial Canadian jurisdictions.

* B.C. offers a range of camping experiences in provincial parks as well as recreation sites.

* Over the past five years, the Province has invested approximately $60 million in park facilities, delivering projects directed at attracting young families, offering new recreation opportunities and increasing attendance.

 The new campsites, which will be available for the 2017 camping season, are:

* Blanket Creek Provincial Park near Revelstoke – 58 sites

* Halfway Hot Springs Rec Site near Nakusp – 20 sites

* Six Mile Bay Rec Site near Mackenzie – 20 sites

* Okanagan Lake South Provincial Park near Summerland  – eight sites

* Badger Lake Rec Site near Heffley – 30 sites

* Scuitto Rec Site near Kamloops – 17 sites

* Garibaldi Provincial Park near Squamish – 20 sites

* Chek Canyon Rec Site near Squamish – 32  sites

* Stave West -Sayres Lake Rec Site near Mission – 60 sites (Phase 1)

* Desolation Sound Provincial Park  near Powell River – 34 sites

* Rathtrevor Provincial Park near Parksville – 30  sites (Phase 1)

* Goldstream Provincial Park near Victoria – four sites

* Pye Mountain Rec Site  near Sayward – 20 sites

* Maple Grove Rec Site near Lake Cowichan – 22 sites

The new campsites are a mix of BC Parks and forestry recreation sites which supports maintaining a range of camping opportunities (rustic and less rustic) in the highest demand areas.

The construction of BC Parks campsites also includes associated infrastructure, such as roads, water and sewer expansion, electrical upgrades, outhouse facilities and shower and toilet buildings. New campground developments also incorporate accessible design standards.

The recreation site expansion will include associated roads, campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, signage and outhouse facilities.

The majority of the new BC Parks campsites will be available for reservation via the Discover Camping Reservation Service. To reserve your spot, please visit: https://secure.camis.com/DiscoverCamping/Home.aspx

Recreation sites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

As part of the BC Parks Future Strategy, the Province is investing up to $22.9 million to add more than 1,900 new campsites over five years. More than 800 of the new sites will be in provincial parks, while more than 1,000 will be in recreation sites.

Additional campsites will be announced as expansion continues.

The Province also recently announced a new investment of $35 million over the next three years, as part of the BC Parks Future Strategy. The funding will result in 28 more full-time park rangers, new programs to promote and protect the environment, and $10 million as an initial endowment to the new BC Parks Foundation. This increased budget is also part of the BC Parks Future Strategy.

To date, more than 11,000 BC Parks licence plates have been sold since the plates became available for purchase at Autoplan broker offices on Jan. 29, 2017.  The Province introduced this series of specialty licence plates – featuring images of a Kermode bear found only in British Columbia, the snowcapped Purcell Mountains, and a stunning view from Porteau Cove overlooking Howe Sound – in partnership with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC). Approximately $165,000 will go toward the Park Enhancement Fund as a result of the plate sales.