Golden Ears Provincial Park was once again full to capacity over the long weekend, and people are going to greater lengths and expense to enjoy a weekend of camping.
There are 406 campsites at the park, and each one was full all weekend.
All three day-use parking lots in the park were also full to capacity, and the park operator had to close the main entrance to the public, and turn away families wanting to cool off with a swim.
“It was crazy busy,” said Liz Hall, spokesperson for park operator SSG Holdings. “People are gung-ho for camping.”
It is evident how popular Golden Ears has become. Last year, people would start booking their campsites on a Wednesday, even though they didn’t plan to show up until Friday night, just to ensure they get a spot in the park. They are required to pitch a tent to hold their spot, and pay $30 per night, just to hold it. All of the sites would be booked by Thursday.
But last week, some weekend campers started showing up as early as Tuesday night to get their site of choice, and by Wednesday, the campgrounds were full.
Hall said there is a waiting list, which is renewed each day, and if people leave, those on the waiting list can take their site. The list is generally capped at 40-45 parties.
A new waiting list is made each day starting at 7 a.m., and some would-be campers show up at 6 a.m., lining up at the front gate, just to get on the waiting list. She said about 40 waiting-list people managed to get a site for some part of the weekend.
“Camping has become extremely popular, because it’s an affordable getaway,” Hall said.
Some 210 sites are reservable online with a credit card, but they are all booked three months in advance, and they are completely sold out within hours of booking openings.
Hall said people are literally waiting with their fingers over their keyboards, waiting for them to go on sale.
The next “crazy busy” weekend on the calendar will be Labour Day.