BC Parks will open up its registration for back and front country campsites on Monday, but there are concerns that out-of-province residents won’t honour the honour-system.
“There are a lot of people on my Facebook RV groups who want to book and come from the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario. They want to come this way,” said Phoebe Addison, a recreational RV camper who lives in Victoria.
B.C. residents are supposed to get first dibs on the sites, but the province isn’t asking for verification of ID or address. Anyone can book a site after pressing a button that “confirms” that they are a B.C. local.
“You should have to give them some sort of ID, everybody has a health care card, a driver’s licence, and I don’t think that’s a breach of privacy,” said Addison.
For locals planning on roasting some smores, the travel lines are a bit blurred.
“How far are we supposed to go?” questioned Addison. “Are we supposed to stay within our region? So does that for me, being in Victoria, mean I can go anywhere on Vancouver Island? Or can I go to the mainland? That’s the problem.”
Top health officials are warning against unnecessary travel, but Addison says there needs to be more clarity on how far is too far.
There’s also the possibility that locals won’t even get the chance to camp, due to the increased demand for campsites.
Last year, on the first day of registration for the Labour Day long weekend, the booking website crashed because of such high volume and all campsites were taken in a matter of minutes.
READ MORE: ‘It’s packed’: Camping sites filled at provincial parks over the long weekend
Addison expects this year to be the same.
“The spots will be taken as soon as someone can hit ‘refresh’, I guarantee it,” said the camper.
Registration for BC Parks campsites open at 7 a.m. Monday morning on the Discover Camping website.
Private campgrounds are also starting their preparations for the Summer season.
Art Lawrence, who runs the Malahat Meadows RV Park and Campground, says he isn’t expecting a huge spike in business.
“We’ve been busy all year,” said Lawrence. “We have only a few spots available right now.”
Not only are campgrounds across B.C. already filled with locals — enjoying a nice staycation amid the pandemic — but many grounded snowbirds chose to make Vancouver Island their winter destination.
“We did have a big demand, and it was from Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, places like that because they couldn’t go to the states. We had to turn quite a few away because the spots were taken,” said Lawrence.
He says even private campgrounds are filling up fast, but for many registration is already open.