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Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I smoke in provincial parks and protected areas?
In Provincial Parks and Protected Areas, smoking is only permitted within a designated frontcountry campsite or group campsite, occupied by a registered party or their guests. This restriction applies to the smoking and / or vaping of tobacco, cannabis, or other substances.
The purpose of this policy is to increase safety and enjoyment of the visiting public by minimizing their exposure to second-hand smoke, reducing the risk of wildfires, and protecting wildlife and the environment from the hazardous effects of discarded cigarette butts and other litter associated with smoking.
For more information on cannabis legalization and public consumption, please refer to “Get Cannabis Clarity” found at: cannabis.gov.bc.ca.
Why are there limits of number of people and vehicles allowed on campsites?
Limits are required to keep wear and tear on the campsites to a minimum, to reduce maintenance (costs) requirements and to manage conservation values in BC Parks.
What is the maximum number of people allowed per campsite?
BC Parks camping party definition states:
- At least one member of the party must be 16 years of age or older.
- One to four persons 16 years of age or older.
- A maximum of eight persons including children (15 years of age and younger).
How many vehicles are allowed per campsite/camping party?
A campsite/camping party may have ONE of the following:
- a motor vehicle not designed as an accommodation for camping, e.g., car, truck, SUV, non-camperized van, motorcycle (to a maximum of one motorcycle per adult in party); or
- a motor vehicle towing a trailer designed as an accommodation for camping, e.g., 5th wheel, travel trailer, tent trailer; or
- a recreational vehicle (RV), e.g., motor home, camperized truck/van; or
- a RV with a legally towed motor vehicle; or
- a motor vehicle or RV towing a trailer not designed as an accommodation for camping, e.g., utility/cargo, or boat trailer.
A camping party may also include a tent or tents, if suitably accommodated on the campsite pad. A camping party may be allowed a second motor vehicle not designed as an accommodation for camping on the campsite for an additional % of the camping fee (to a maximum of $12/night).
What fees and charges can be expected in provincial parks?
Fees may be in effect for individual and group camping, and backcountry access and camping. There is a charge for making, changing, or cancelling a reservation as well as extra services in parks (i.e. firewood).
How can I make a reservation?
Reservations can be made for many frontcountry campgrounds and group sites as well as controlled backcountry permit areas such as Berg Lake Trail (Mount Robson), Bowron Lake Circuit or Garibaldi and Mount Assiniboine Parks.
Reservations can also be made by calling Discover Camping toll-free at 1 800 689-9025. A $5.00 surcharge applies for reservations made through the call centre.
What is the difference between a reservation and registration?
Reservations are for a specific campsite, group site or day/time slot in one of the reservable parks or experiences.
A registration is a camping permit to prepay for your backcountry camping at a number of backcountry parks.
How long can I stay in a provincial park?
Maximum stay policies apply to each person in your camping party. A few parks have long-stay programs available.
Park Maximum Stay Permitted sẁiẁs (Haynes Point) 7 nights per calendar year Porteau Cove Provincial Park 7 consecutive nights during peak season (June 15 to Labour Day, inclusive) All other provincial parks 14 days, per park, per calendar year
What is winter camping and where is it available?
A few parks offer year-round camping opportunities however, the services provided during the off-season are minimal. A winter camping fee may be charged depending on the particular park.
Some parks allow walk-in camping to self-sufficient campers and/or have designated areas of the park available for off-season camping, even though the campground gates are closed.
To find out if parks are accessible for camping in the off-season, search via our BC Parks website by location, activity, or park name. The individual park pages have opening and closing dates and what services are available.
Are drones (UAVs) allowed to be used in provincial parks?
An unmanned air vehicle (UAV), better known as a drone, is a power-driven aircraft of any size that is designed to fly without a human operator onboard and that may be remotely controlled or may have automated flight capability.
Transport Canada (TC) and the Canadian Aviation Regulations regulate UAV use in Canada’s airspace.
UAV operators must obtain permission from BC Parks to take-off and/or land in any park or protected area.
TC's federal flight requirements for use of UAVs include distances from people, buildings, built-up areas, and animals (both domestic and wildlife), meaning there are few, if any, locations in BC Parks where permission to fly UAVs can be granted and the pilot would still able to meet the current federal flight requirements.
Are generators allowed in provincial parks?
Generator use is permitted in vehicle accessible campsites between the hours of 9a.m. – 11a.m. and from 6p.m. – 8p.m. This policy was created to help reduce air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, fuel consumption and noise levels.
Does BC Parks have a policy on vehicle idling?
BC Parks has an Idle Free policy in provincial parks that applies to both vehicles and boats moored within the boundaries of a protected area.
When are park gates closed?
Gates are closed from 11p.m. to 7a.m. This is also considered “quiet time” in most parks. Please respect other campers’ right to enjoy a peaceful camping experience.
Are pets allowed in a provincial park?
Domestic pets are not permitted in all parks – please check specific parks for details.
Parks that allow domestic pets require:
- Pets to be kept on a leash no longer than 2 metres (6-1/2 feet) or in a vehicle, at all times.
- Pets to stay out of beach areas or park buildings, unless the area is designated “Pets permitted” by a sign.
- Owners are responsible for behaviour of pets and the disposal of its excrement in a manner that does not inconvenience or annoy other park visitors.
Are parks patrolled by security or parks personnel to watch for noisy parties, vandals etc.?
Some parks, depending on the service level of the park, have either a full-time security presence or a part-time security presence provided by the campground operator.
Is hunting or carrying firearms allowed in parks?
No person shall possess or discharge a firearm, bows or crossbows in a park or recreation area except during an open season as specified under the Wildlife Act or as authorized. Hunting is permitted in some parks where the park’s management plan deems it appropriate.
What activities require a permit or permission in BC Parks?
By legislation, a permit is required for many types of commercial use, land use/land occupancy, and research activities (see specific activities below) that take place in parks and protected areas designated under the Park Act, the Environment and Land Use Act or the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act.
Can I pick mushrooms in a provincial park?
Mushroom picking is prohibited in provincial parks as per Sections 10(2) and 32(1) of the Park, Conservancy and Recreation Area Regulations.
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