Park yourself in a provincial park this weekend

The August long weekend is a peak time for camping, and reservation numbers have hit a record high.

  • Aug. 3, 2012 9:00 a.m.

The August long weekend is a peak time for camping, and reservation numbers have hit a record high.

As of July 29, BC Parks had received 91,989 reservations this calendar year — up 11 per cent from last year.

The increase is due in part to an expanding reservation system. Campers can now secure their sites with a mobile application that works on smart phones or computers. Reservations are also available through a toll-free phone line, or through the BC Parks website.

But don’t forget — BC Parks have lots to offer families, even if your favourite spot is already booked. For example:

• If you want to have a picnic or a barbecue, you can choose from over 270 sites with dedicated amenities.

• For hiking you can choose from more than 740 sites.

• Swimming is available in more than 450 locations provincewide.

• More than 1,000 offer fishing opportunities.

• More than 150 locations in BC Parks are wheelchair accessible.

All these options, and many more, are easy to find through the BC Parks website. A specialized search engine lets you locate parks by name, region, activity and/or amenity. For example, you can instantly see which parks offer shower facilities, which allow pets on leash, and which provide facilities such as cabins, huts and yurts.

Also going strong this year are two popular programs for kids — Learn to Fish and the BC Parks Passport. Learn to Fish is available free of charge at 12 provincial parks, while the passport program offers prizes for collecting stamps or stickers from any six parks or visitor centres.

More kids’ programs will be developed with funding from a new text-to-donate program. Just text BCPARKS to 45678 to donate $5, which helps support children’s programs in our parks.

“B.C. Day is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the spectacular experiences our BC Parks have to offer,” says Environment Minister Terry Lake. “From backcountry wilderness adventures to family barbecues with modern amenities, BC Parks offer hundreds of ways to connect with the treasures in our own backyards that draw visitors from all around the world.”

Quick facts:

• B.C. has nearly 1,000 parks and protected areas, including 65 new parks created since 2001.

• Together, our parks and protected areas are the size of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island combined.

• More than 20 million people are expected to visit BC Parks this year.

• According to a recent study, every dollar spent on parks delivers more than eight dollars in economic spinoff benefits.

• Free parking in all day-use areas in all BC Parks.

Learn more:

• B.C. Parks: www.bcparks.ca

• Discover Camping: www.discovercamping.ca

• BC Parks Volunteers: www.bcparksvolunteers.ca

• BC Parks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/YourBCParks

— Ministry of Environment

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