British Columbia

Campground reservation crackdown: new rules block reselling, other tricks

Changes to the provincial park campsite reservation system are designed to crackdown on those who try to beat the system by overbooking early or reselling their spaces.

New rules will prevent campers from gaming the system by booking early and then cancelling extra days

B.C. is tightening the rules on provincial park campsite reservations to prevent reselling and overbooking. (Discover Camping)

The B.C. government has announced changes to the provincial park campsite reservation system designed to crackdown on those who try to beat the system by overbooking early or reselling their spaces.

Last year, complaints about reselling and overbooking prompted Minister Mary Polak to order a review of the online booking rules. On Monday Polak announced a number of changes to the rules.

"We know British Columbians want a reservation system that is fair, and that they have just as good a chance of securing a campsite as the next person. The changes we're bringing in for 2017 address policies that are prone to abuse by a small number of people and contribute to positive camping experiences in our beautiful B.C. Parks."

In order to avoid overwhelming the system, a single opening day for reservations has been replaced with a rolling window that allows bookings to be made four months in advance of an individual campground's first reservation date.

In order to prevent reselling of reservations, customers will have to provide one or two names that cannot be changed later.  At least one of the permit holders will have to be staying at the campsite for the duration of the booking to keep the reservation valid.

Popular overbooking trick targeted

A third change will target a popular trick used to book popular dates such as long weekends before the dates became available. Customers would make a two-week booking, for example, that ended with those popular dates, and later cancel the earlier days they did not want.

Under the new rules, customers will no longer be able to change their arrival date if they book within the first seven days a campsite opens up for bookings.

Other changes include adding more campgrounds to the reservation system and reducing the length of stay at some of the most popular sites.

At five popular campgrounds the maximum stay will be cut from two weeks to one week during the peak season. Those campgrounds include:

  • Martha Creek near Revelstoke.
  • Mount Fernie near Fernie.
  • Porteau Cove near Vancouver.
  • Loveland Bay near Campbell River.
  • Ellison near Vernon.

Reservations will be expanded to include:

  • Garibaldi Park at Helm, Cheakamus and Singing Creek north of Vancouver.
  • Skagit Valley near Hope.
  • Mount Robson's Lucerne Campground near Valemount.
  • More campsites at Gold Creek and Alouette Lake east of Vancouver.

Discover Camping call centre hours will be extended from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily after Jan. 2.

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