UPDATE: Golden Ears Park will still have first come, first serve camping

BC Parks backs off 100 per cent reservable sites after public outcry

Golden Ears Provincial Park will retain the current 85 per cent reservable model for the 2019 camping season, BC Parks announced on Thursday afternoon.

With that model, 15 per cent of the sites will be available on a first come, first serve basis.

In September the province announced that the park would go to 100 per cent reservations during peak season – typically from mid-May to Labour 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. They are also collecting hard copy petition names, and have another 600 names, approximately.

Angela Dunne-Massey has been a spokesperson for the group of ‘unhappy campers’ who use the park regularly, but are finding it increasingly difficult to successfully navigate the online reservation system, and book sites.

Booking in advance is difficult, because family campers are competing with companies that are re-selling sites, and booking them in bulk, she said. She points out that young people with no credit cards will not be able to book a site, and nor will seniors who lack the technical ability to navigate the online booking system.

The group met with both both Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows MLA Lisa Beare and Maple Ridge-Mission MLA Bob D’Eith, and related their problems in accessing the park.

Beare said their appeal made a difference – both MLAs went to Environment Minister George Heyman and asked him to reconsider.

“I grew up here as well, and I understand families wanting to be able to access the park right in their community,” said Beare.

She noted the trend is to more reservations, as many families also want to reserve a campsite and plan their vacation. Cultus Lake is one that has gone 100 per cent reservation, she noted.

“These are parks that are very popular with visitors.”

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.

Dunne-Massey called Thursday’s announcement “great news,” but said she will continue to lobby for more campsites to be available on a first come, first serve basis.

“We’re still going to be fighting for 50-50,” she 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. Beare noted BC Parks created 431 new campsites in 2018, and more could be on the way.

“I know that’s something that he (Heyman) is looking at doing,” she said.

Of the 10,700 campsites BC Parks manages, approximately 55 per cent are reservable and 45 per cent remain available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Just Posted

Feds earmark $7.5 million to help keep Surrey teens out of gangs

It’s expected as many as 4,730 teenagers in Surrey will benefit from it

Louder helicopter partly to blame for rash of complaints in Surrey: RCMP

Police say helicopter training is conducted in Cloverdale because it’s ‘a very practical area where we do a lot of real police work’

End ‘exploitative’ parking fees at Lower Mainland hospitals, group says

HospitalPayParking.ca is criticizing a new contract between health authorities and Impark

White Rock council challenged by Lady Alexandra conundrum

Feedback on reviewed project from highrise site owner and residents reveals division

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Cannabis-carrying border crossers could be hit with fines under coming system

Penalties are slated to be in place some time next year

Man accused of threatening to kill ‘as many girls as I see’

Christopher W. Cleary wrote he was angry because he’d never had a girlfriend and wanted to ‘make it right’ with a mass shooting

Canadian talent abound on newly revamped Vancouver Whitecaps squad

Lineup is full of new faces after the organization parted ways with 18 players over the off-season

Fraser Valley Bandits reveal mascot name

Berry the Bandit officially unveiled, makes first public appearance tomorrow

B.C. Green leader calls for long-term legislature financial audit

Andrew Weaver says trust in clerk and sergeant at arms is gone

No charges in fatal police Taser incident in Chilliwack

RCMP watchdog concludes no evidence of excessive or disproportionate force was used by officers

Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying with taxpayers’ money

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

Alberta youth charged over theft of $17,000 in snow equipment at B.C. ski resort

Alberta RCMP recovered $17,000 in skis/snowboards believed stolen from Fernie Alpine Resort Saturday

Most Read