Stu Burgess with SSG Holdings that operates Golden Ears Park expects the park to be completely full this weekend. THE NEWS/files

Golden Ears Park full for long weekend in Maple Ridge

Camping reservations were fully booked four months ago in the popular Maple Ridge park.

If you haven’t booked a campsite in Golden Ears Provincial Park for the Canada Day long weekend, you may be out of luck.

Reservations were booked up for the long weekend four months in advance.

There are 15 first-come, first-serve sites, possibly available today if campers check out.

These campers can stay up to 14 days.

Stu Burgess, operations manager for SSG Holdings, which operates both Golden Ears and Rolley Lake provincial parks, expects few people to leave campsites by Thursday or Friday.

There are also campsites available for reservation for one or two nights before the long weekend.

“So if we have people touring around the province looking for one night here and one night there, we can certainly accomodate those people,” said Stu Burgess.

Last weekend, the park was so busy that it nearly closed down Saturday. On Sunday, it was closed for three hours.

Only 14 people were put on a waiting list last weekend for the first-come, first-serve sites. All others were turned away.

And out of those 14, six people got a site.

“We’re already telling people who are phoning right now about coming up Thursday or Friday, it’s pretty much not worth their time because we are going to be full,” said Burgess.

Camping is free at the Widgeon Creek this long weekend, but you will have to be early to get a canoe.

Canoes are rented out on a first-come first-serve basis at the main picnic area at Grant Narrows Provincial Park.

There are 51 canoes available to rent including four four-man canoes.

To get to Widgeon Creek from the park, you will have to paddle one hour across the Pitt River until you get to Widgeon Slough. Then you wind through the slough until you get to the campground.

From here you can park the canoe and hike to Widgeon Falls.

“I can say that they should get their early because we sell out of canoes really quickly. They could potentially sell out of them by 9 a.m. then you would have to sit around and wait for one to come back,” said Denise Horvath, office manager Katzie Development Limited Partnership.

Last weekend they ran out of canoes.

If people rent a canoe at 8 a.m. some may come back by 2 p.m. and can be rented out again.

“It’s going to be so busy up here. The parking lot was full last weekend and it wasn’t even the long weekend,” said Gary Wood with Katzie Development Corporation that runs the canoe rentals.

“We had vehicles up both sides of the road up to our gate and then past the gate,” he said.

Rentals are $55 for the day and $85 for overnight.

The four-man canoes are $110 for overnight.

It is $5 to launch a boat and $5 to park your vehicle overnight in the parking lot.

If you are planning to camp there are approximately only five camp sites, no fires are permitted and you should bring toilet paper.

Grant Narrows Provincial Park day area is located at the north end of Rannie Road in Pitt Meadows.

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