On Thursday afternoon, Canada’s BC Parks backed off the 100% reservable site plan for Golden Ears Provincial Park after a public outcry and will retain the current 85% reservable model for the 2019 camping season. (See original report.)
In September, the province announced that the park would go to 100% reservations during peak season – typically from mid-May to Labor Day weekend. A group of Maple Ridge residents started a petition to change the ratio to 50-50 reservable and drive-up sites, and so far it has almost 6,700 names online alone, reports the North Delta Reporter.
Retaining the current reservable quota will provide more time to engage park users, campers and stakeholders on how to ensure safe and equitable access to Golden Ears Park, said a press release from BC Parks.
“The number of reservable sites at any given campground or park is driven by consumer demand and in alignment with BC Parks’ mandate to manage the land sustainably. The overwhelming public demand is for increased reservation opportunities. BC Parks adjusts reservable inventory on an annual basis in response to occupancy demand,” it said.
Golden Ears Provincial Park is one of the busiest parks in the province, given its location in the Fraser Valley and proximity to Vancouver.
A solution to satisfy more campers might be to create more campsites in the parks. It was noted that BC Parks created 431 new campsites in 2018, and more could be on the way.
Of the 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages, approximately 55% are reservable and 45% remain available on a first-come, first-served basis.
In my humble opinion a 100% reservable system shuts out those of us who like to “ramble” about visiting new and different places on whatever whim strikes us at the moment. We have also found that sometimes reserved sites go unused depending on the cancellation policy of the campground. It’s sad to see a vacant site with a “reserved” sign on it when you walk or ride a bike around a park when you know someone could have enjoyed it had it been available.