Camping season has officially begun as most of B.C.’s provincial parks have opened just in time for the May long weekend.
According to the provincial government, more than 100,000 reservations have been made on BC Parks’ new online system since it launched in March.
“The camping and hiking season is here, and people from throughout our province want to get outside and connect with nature,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “It’s important that people book ahead on the new BC Parks website and check online before heading out to ensure they know the latest conditions in order to have the best outdoor experience possible.”
The B.C. government notes that while most parks are open, recent wildfires, floods and extreme heat caused significant damage to trails, facilities and campgrounds at more than a dozen provincial parks.
Repairs have been made so the parks can reopen, but some will remain temporarily closed.
“Some of our parks were hit hard by last year’s extreme weather, and people should ensure they have the latest information before they head out to enjoy B.C.’s spectacular natural ecosystems,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment. “Once repaired, some areas may look different from past years, and it is a reminder of the power of nature and the need for us to consider climate resiliency as we repair and improve our park facilities.”
According to the B.C. government, the hardest hit parks in the province are in the Lower Mainland and Fraiser Valley. At Cultus Lake Park, in particular, floods swept rocks and debris through the day-use area, covering picnic tables, grassy area, the amphitheatre and the beach.
“I’ve seen first-hand the recovery effort going on at Maple Bay day-use area at Cultus Lake, and it has improved leaps and bounds since November,” said Kelli Paddon, MLA for Chilliwack-Kent. “It will look a little different than we’re used to when it’s ready, but I have no doubt that families will enjoy visiting just the same when it opens again early this summer. Until then, the rest of Cultus Lake Provincial Park’s public areas are open for the season.”
B.C. government officials said Skagit Valley Park, Nahatlatch Park, Coquihalla Canyon Park and Skihist Park are fully closed, while others may be partially closed.
If you plan on visiting a provincial park, the B.C. government encourages you to check the park’s web page to see if it is open.
More: BC Parks