BC Parks has set a new record this year for the number of reservations made at provincial campsites.
To date, more than 115,000 camping reservations have been made through Discover Camping, a reservation service. This marks a 12-per-cent increase, surpassing last year’s total of 100,000 reservations — the first time BC Parks reached six figures.
While it does not monitor campers, the volunteer-operated Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre at Paradise Meadows has assisted more than 5,000 visitors so far this year, about on track with last year, says co-ordinator Krista Kaptein. However, the actual number of people who use the Paradise Meadows area is two or three times higher.
“So we average about 100 per day that we assist,” Kaptein said.
The Comox District Mountaineering Club engages in backcountry hikes to destinations such as Comox Glacier as opposed to “front-entry camping,” says club president Bob St. John.
“We do a number of summer trips up into the Plateau,” he said. “It’s hard for me to judge how many other people have been up there. Some of these trails are fairly remote.”
Since 2010, he said TimberWest has clamped down on access to the glacier and southwestern reaches of Strathcona.
“It hasn’t stopped us because we went through the red tape, but it’s certainly cut down on the rest of the public getting in there,” St. John said.
While the Labour Day long weekend might signify the end of summer and the regular camping season, many BC Parks campgrounds remain open in September.
Senior camping discounts are available to people 65 and older from the day after Labour Day to June 14 of next year.
Those planning on camping in the coming weeks are asked to be aware of campfire bans, restrictions or closures.