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Only B.C. residents can reserve at provincial park campsites next week

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B.C. Parks will start taking reservations for campsites next week — but only for B.C. residents.

Non-B.C. residents who try to book a site when the reservation system opens up on Monday “will be subject to immediate cancellation without refund,” B.C. Parks said in a statement. Out-of-province campers with existing reservations can receive a full refund if they contact the call centre before June 15.

B.C. Parks said the change is meant to support “staying local and avoiding unnecessary travel.”

Asked about parks at his daily briefing, Health Minister Adrian Dix said the move will help to ensure that B.C. residents have access to provincial campsites this summer.

“What we’re trying to do ... is to control, to a degree, non-essential travel or overnight travel,” Dix said. “It’s just a prudent step that’s being taken.”

The Discover Camping website and call centre will accept new reservations for provincial campgrounds and backcountry camping starting at 7 a.m. on Monday. Campgrounds will begin reopening on June 1.

Campsites can be booked up to two months in advance. Group sites and reservable picnic shelters will remain closed, with existing reservations cancelled.

There are several new regulations, including restrictions on double sites, which can no longer be booked as single sites for two separate parties, and limits on how far in advance campsites can be booked.

“This is to prevent people from overbooking and subsequently changing arrival dates to shorten their stay in order to obtain a favourable site or time ahead of other customers,” B.C. Parks said.

Existing reservations held by B.C. residents for June 1 onward will be honoured. Campers have until June 15 to cancel existing reservations without penalty.

B.C. Parks closed its entire system to the public on April 8 in response to the pandemic. Some sites, including Goldstream and Strathcona provincial parks, reopened for day use on May 14.

Not all parks and campsites will open on June 1. Check the B.C. Parks website for more information.