Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the province’s busiest.

Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the province’s busiest.

Get up early, get in line if you want to camp in Golden Ears

Maple Ridge’s main park at frenetic pace

You’ll have to get up early, at daybreak, if you want even a chance at camping in Golden Ears Provincial Park this summer.

The lineup for the first-come, first-serve campsites starts at about 5 a.m., says Stu Burgess, with Alouette Park Management.

But even then, you may not get one, Burgess said Monday.

With wildfires in the Interior closing some campsites, and beautiful summer weather, more people than ever are making Golden Ears one of the province’s busiest.

“This has been the busiest three weeks that I can remember,” Burgess said.

“There was people lined up at the main gate at 5:30 this morning,” so they could have a spot for the August long weekend.

“We’ve actually had people lining up sometime betwee 11 p.m. and midnight, to get in. (for the following day). It’s really hard to get one.”

As long the good weather stays, and the parks remain closed in the Interior, that won’t change, Burgess said.

He said that a few weeks ago there were a dozen or so campsites occupied by wildfire evacuees from the Williams Lake area.

About 300 of the 400 campsites in the park are made by online reservations, leaving the balance to be distributed to those just showing up at the gate.

Lineups develop not only for the camping area but for picnickers as well. The Canada Day weekend and the weekend after, the park gates actually had to be closed because there were too many people and cars in the day-use area.

“We’re getting over 3,000 cars now coming up, trying to get in.”

Burgess said campsites are booked up for every weekend summer when reservations are taken four months in advance. New regulations next year will require campers to show identification, proving that they or one other person, were the actual ones that made the reservation.

He said it’s extremely dry in the park and expected the forest-fire danger rating to move to extreme by the end of the week. Campfires of any kind are banned throughout the park and all of B.C., except Haida Gwaii.