Discover Camping Changes for the 2017 Camping Season (Q&A)

Reservation Service Contact Information

ONLINE RESERVATIONS:

Reservation website: www.discovercamping.ca

Reservations can be made 24 hours/day.

CALL CENTRE:
($5 surcharge applies)

Toll free from CAN/USA:

  • 1-800-689-9025

Other International:

  • 1-519-826-6850

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*with the exception of December 25th and January 1st when the call centre is closed.

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Why are changes being made to the Discover Camping system?

Every year BC Parks reviews the Discover Camping reservation service to see what improvements can be made. Changes for the 2017 camping season are being made in response to concerns raised during the 2016 camping season and will improve customer service, enhance the Discover Camping reservation service and strengthen fair access for everyone looking to book a campsite in B.C.’s world-class provincial parks.

What exactly are the changes being made?

  • Changes to the Discover Camping Reservation Service, beginning January 2, 2017, include:
    • Eliminating the March 15 ‘opening day’ for reservations;
    • Extending the three-month rolling reservation window to four-months;
    • New measures to prevent the reselling and/or transferring of reservations;
    • Restrictions around altering arrival dates, if a customer books on a release date (the maximum time in advance of a trip) to prevent the practice of “overbooking”, and;
    • Implementing a pilot project in select parks to shorten the maximum length of stay to seven days during the peak camping season to create more camping opportunities.

When will these changes come into effect?

These changes will be implemented for the 2017 camping season and come into effect on January 2, 2017. However, customers will have plenty of time to plan as all changes will be visible on the Discover Camping Website by December 14, 2016.

Will these changes increase the cost of going camping at BC Parks?

No, the changes to the Discover Camping Reservation Service are about ensuring fair access for everyone looking to book a campsite at BC Parks. The Discover Camping Reservation Service is a user-pay system and is not subsidized by taxpayers.  Service charges remain at 1996 pricing. In addition, Park User (Camping) Fees will not change in 2017.

Will these changes help meet the demand for campsites?

  • There are approximately 6,000 reservable frontcountry campsites in B.C. and a population of more than 4.5 million people. B.C. also supports a thriving tourism industry. These factors result in more demand for camping opportunities than there are campsites, especially in the premium locations during the peak camping season.
  • Given the high demand for camping opportunities, BC Parks is implementing a pilot project in five high-occupancy campgrounds in: Martha Creek, Mount Fernie, Porteau Cove, Loveland Bay and Ellison Provincial Parks. By shortening maximum stays and creating more reservable campsites in these parks, more people will have an opportunity to experience camping.

What new reservable sites have been added to Discover Camping 2017?

  • Two new frontcountry campgrounds will be added to the Discover Camping reservation service: Skagit Valley (near Hope) and Mount Robson – Lucerne Campground (near Valemount).
  • With the success of launching reservations in select high-use campgrounds in Garibaldi Park (near Squamish) in 2016, three new campgrounds will be added to the reservation service for the 2017 season: Helm, Cheakamus and Singing Creek.
  • Golden Ears (near Vancouver) is better meeting public demand by significantly increasing the number of reservable sites at two popular campgrounds: Gold Creek and Alouette Lake.

What has BC Parks done to address the technical issues the reservation system experienced on opening day in 2016?

  • For 2017, BC Parks has eliminated the March 15th opening day. This change should eliminate the situation where the reservation system is overwhelmed due to intense demand on ‘opening day’ by customers, many of whom are seeking to reserve on different dates.
  • Starting on January 2nd, customers can reserve up to four months in advance of their arrival date. By eliminating opening day and going to a four month rolling reservation window, the demand will be spread out throughout the year, reducing congestion on the system and will improve customer service.

Why is the rolling reservation window being changed?

Customers have requested a longer planning period for their vacations and will now be able to access the reservation service one month further in advance than the previous three month planning horizon. Customers should check the BC Parks website to determine what date their desired campground is open for reservations. Extending the planning horizon to a longer timeframe is consistent with what other comparable jurisdictions do, including Parks Canada, Washington State and Ontario Parks.

How is the issue of “overbooking” being addressed?

  • BC Parks is aware that the practice of overbooking (when a customer makes a reservation to include more nights than are needed to secure a desired date and later cancels the dates that they never intended to use) caused customer complaints during the 2016 camping season and undermined the public’s perception that the Discover Camping reservation service is providing “fair and equitable access” to BC Parks’ camping opportunities.
  • In response to these concerns, BC Parks is implementing a new policy to restrict a reservation holder’s ability to change their arrival date if they book on or within 7 days of a “release date.” A release date is defined as the maximum time in advance of a trip that a customer can make a reservation on Discover Camping. (example – A customer who wants to book a reservation for an August 1 arrival date, will have their booking restricted if they book between April 1 and April 7. If the customer books April 8 and after, their booking will not be restricted.)
  • This policy only applies to customers who try to change their arrival date; customers will still have the ability to change their departure date. Customers who book within this 7-day period and want to change their arrival date will have to cancel their reservation and re-book. Cancelled inventory will be released the next day at 7am (PST) and will be available to all customers making a reservation at this time. Customers who book after the 7-day restricted booking period will be able to change their arrival date.

How are you preventing people from reselling or transferring reservations?

BC Parks is addressing the issue of reselling and/or transferring reservations by removing the ability of permit holders to change the name on their reservation. At the time of booking, customers will be required to register one or two permit holder names and at least one of the permit holders must be present during the stay. This policy removes the ability for someone to resell a reservation by later changing the permit holder’s name to a third party name. Please note that identification may be required to keep the reservation valid.