A redesign of the camping reservation system will be in place this year at Golden Ears Provincial Park – and the province is asking the public to participate by providing feedback.
This year the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy is promising a more user-friendly and inclusive online experience when booking a reservation through bcparks.ca.
When the booking system opens on March 21, the Ministry said it will contain key features like: more flexible search options to find and book a campsite; maps, calendars and lists of available sites for quicker navigation; saved booking preferences and locations within customer accounts; and as many as five large photos per campsite.
Stu Burgess, operations manager for Golden Ears and Rolley Lake Provincial Parks, explained the province is going back to a reservation system called CAMIS, that was used up until 2020. The CAMIS website claims that the company has been providing reservations and park management solutions to government operated parks, marinas and harbors for more than 40 years.
“It was a good system. It worked well. It worked for our purposes,” said Burgess.
Burgess said his team is currently preparing for the upcoming camping season.
“We escaped all the floods with only minor damage. We’ve survived the snow and the ice when it got really cold and now we’re starting to look forward to spring,” said Burgess.
Currently they are completing work on re-finishing 750 picnic table planks. Then they will be busy getting the water systems running again at the campground and cleaning all the bathrooms and other facilities.
Burgess is expecting another busy season in the park.
“I think that with COVID still going on and the travel restrictions and people not wanting to travel too far from home, I think we are going to be just as busy this year as the last two years,” he said, adding that he will be looking for additional seasonal staff at the beginning of March.
The new BC Parks test site is currently live and provides a glimpse into the design work and improvements that are being made. Feedback can be shared through the new test site at beta.bcparks.ca.
New content and features will be added by the Ministry to the site during the coming months.
“More people every year are getting out and connecting with nature and green space in our beautiful BC Parks. It’s key to our health and well-being,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We’ve engaged with people over the past two years and we’ve heard the call for improvements to the reservation service and the need to build a more reliable, easy-to-use service system,” he noted.
People can also sign up to join future focus groups to help inform the future of all BC Parks digital products and services.
Campsites at most campgrounds can be booked two months ahead of time.
Reservations for group campsites will open March 24 for the rest of the year and reservations for the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit will open in early April, with availability between May and September.
The Berg Lake Trail does not have an anticipated opening date due to damage caused by severe flooding in the summer.
“We live in a province where people have a deep appreciation for parks and the environment,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment.
“We are all looking forward to another summer of camping and outdoor recreation, and demand for campsites in popular locations will continue to be high. The improved website and reservation system will make the B.C. camping experience even better,” added Greene.
BC Parks has more than 10,000 reservable day-use and overnight accommodations available. These range from day-use passes, parking permits and campsites, to backcountry permits, a world-class canoe circuit, picnic shelters, backcountry cabins and a yurt.
The Ministry says demand for reservations have grown more than 200 per cent in the past decade.
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