LETTER: Wilderness camping fees nothing but a cash grab

Dear editor,

I am wondering if there are others who have noticed an issue that I’ve just become aware of.

We have been canoeing and enjoying wilderness camping with our sons on the Main Lake chain on Quadra Island for the last 29 years. There are a number of undesignated but well-established campsites and in 1997 Main Lake waterways became a provincial park but remained wilderness camping. These sites are accessible only by canoe, kayak or boats with an under 9.9 horsepower motor.

This year though, the government “offered” a Discover Backcountry Camping Registration System with a fee of $6/person over the age of 6/night. The website says: “Payment must be made via the BC Parks Backcountry Registration System. Although the system does not reserve a campsite, the system provides visitors the convenience of prepaying for their trip and not having to carry cash.”

Over the years of camping on this chain of lakes, we have seen families paddling in canoes and kayaks, setting up small camps, waking with the sun, sleeping when it’s dark and being good stewards of the environment. It is quiet, it is pristine and it has always been free. Wilderness camping should be free.

To me, it is a cash grab similar to all the other tolls and cash grabs such as paying for parking at provincial parks. Remember the fiasco of having to pay to park at Miracle Beach?

There has to still be someplace on earth that we can teach our children how to be good stewards of our lands without having to pay or have someone monitoring us.

Contact your local MLA and ask them to work on reversing the decision of charging fees for wilderness camping before our kids don’t know what wilderness camping is.

Karen Langenmaier

Courtenay

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