Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)

Have an opinion you’d like to share? Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or the postal service. (Heather Colpitts/Black Press Media)

LETTER: Maple Ridge family wonders why campground booking is so flawed

Online booking system inconsistent and park operators unhelpful, says local resident

Dear Editor,

[Re: Frustrations with reservation syste, shut out of Golden Ears park, mapleridgenews.com, March 9]

I read your March 9 article regarding campers’ frustration with the BC Parks reservation system. I wanted to bring to your attention that there are more issues with the system than it just crashing on opening day.

The reservation system included some campgrounds in the reservable dates instead of leaving them as First Come/First Serve (FC/FS) until April 1, as indicated on the park’s website.

Our family of five has been planning a trip from Maple Ridge to Alice Lake Provincial Park for the first week of spring break. We made plans around it being FC/FS starting Friday, March 12, which means getting there early enough to get a site.

However, due to belonging to a Facebook group I was tipped off that reservations in March were being made. I checked the BC Parks website and the Dates of Operations section had changed to indicate that both Campgrounds A and B open Monday, March 15, but reservations don’t start until April 1.

• LETTER: Province needs immediate infusion for parks

When I went onto the reservation system, I discovered that reservations for Campground A were available, and I luckily managed to get one of the last two sites available for the dates of our trip. Although we had no choice but to take a double site meaning we are paying for the cost of two sites. We would have been extremely disappointed to travel there with two kids, a dog and a 33’ trailer only to find out it A) wasn’t opened yet and B) there were no open sites due to reservations being made for all sites.

This is all the more frustrating given I had previous conversations via email with the park operator, Sea to Sky Parks, which provided confirmation that Campground A opened for FC/FS beginning Friday, March 12 and Campground B on Monday, March 15. This was consistent with the information on the park’s website at that time; it has since change but has not yet been corrected to reflect what is actually happening on the reservation system.

I have asked the park operator to confirm that rangers will be onsite Monday to deal with any issues that may arise from campers arriving for FC/FS and those arriving with reservations. After paying nearly $300 for our stay, I don’t think it should be up to us to resolve disputes with other campers. I haven’t received a response yet.

We know more and more people are taking to camping in the current pandemic situation. We are also doing so as one of our only options during restrictions and as a way to destress. However, all of these issues are causing more stress prior to getting out there to destress.

Beginning to wonder if it is even worth it!

Natasha Dawes, Maple Ridge

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