A new camping reservation website launched by BC Parks went off without a hitch after opening for the 2023 season.
The new reservation website, camping.bcparks.ca, was announced last year and finally opened for bookings at 7 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Past years have seen online delays or system crashes but none were reported Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Environment.
“We know people want a reliable, responsive service that will allow them to reserve a spot in their preferred campsite, quickly and easily,” the ministry said in a statement. “Overall today’s launch met that expectation, with feedback from site visitors that the experience was much improved.”
Nearly 5,000 users visited the site within the first half hour it opened and more than 1,900 reservations were made.
Campers are also able to book up to four months in advance this year, so as of Tuesday, reservations can be made for arrivals up to May 3, while May 4 arrivals will be available Wednesday.
Reservations for the Victoria Day long weekend that starts on May 19 can be made beginning on Jan. 19.
The longer booking period doubles the two-month window offered previously — a change that B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman says reflects public demand.
“Through our ongoing visitor engagement, we’ve heard the majority of campers prefer a four-month rolling window, allowing people to book a site well in advance of their visit,” Heyman said in a news release announcing the changes.
The four-month booking window doesn’t apply to group sites or picnic shelters, which remain on a 12-month window.
The changes come after years of high demand led to website traffic so heavy — more than 317,000 reservations were made in 2022 — it would occassionally cause the old camping reservation website to crash.
A list of reservable campsites and dates is available on BC Parks’ website.
With files from The Canadian Press.
· As more people explore British Columbia’s spectacular outdoors, BC Parks is committed to continuously improving the digital services park visitors rely on to plan their visits to BC Parks.
· Drawing on camper feedback received through an ongoing program of user experience research, BC Parks has made some changes to its digital services. This includes updates this season to our new reservation service launched last year, such as a shift to a 4-month rolling booking window.
· We know people want a reliable, responsive service that will allow them to reserve a spot in their preferred campsite, quickly and easily.
· Overall today’s launch met that expectation, with feedback from site visitors that the experience was much improved.
· Early feedback indicated that many visitors were able to successfully book a site and experienced no website lags.
· In the first 30 minutes of opening there were almost 5000 online users and over 1900 reservations made.
· The peak of site visitation was at 7:02am with around 2000 site visitors.