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Online reservations open for parks

Desolation Sound permits available in May

With summer around the corner, BC Parks has opened up its online reservation system for provincial campsites.

The system opened Saturday, March 15, and gives campers the ability to book a spot at their favourite place up to three months in advance, by using their cell phones or home computer. Campers can book up to three reservations at one of the province’s 5,200 campground spots. Last year the online system had over 119,000 reservations with 75 per cent made by British Columbians.

The system will allow campers to view vacancy rates and amenities at 109 campgrounds in 97 provincial parks.

BC Parks charges a non-refundable reservation charge of $6 per night, up to a maximum of $18 (plus tax) per party, per campsite on its Discover Camping portal.

Visitors to Desolation Sound Marine Park will also be able to purchase a backcountry registration permit online through the system up to two weeks prior to their arrival date. BC Parks anticipates that the Desolation Sound backcountry link will be added to the system before the May long-weekend. Permits can also be purchased at BC Parks’ kiosks located in Lund and Okeover.

Campgrounds at the marine parks are first-come, first-serve and a backcountry permit is not a reservation, said a spokesperson for the ministry of environment.

The online service is designed to allow adventurers to purchase their permits in advance and gives them the convenience of being able to pay with credit cards, he added.

“We encourage all visitors to register online so we can reduce the need to collect fees in  the field,” said the ministry spokesperson.

Permits for the marine park are required between June 1 to September 15.

Last year BC Parks created 11 designated campsites with 60 tent pads within Desolation Sound, Malaspina and Copeland Islands marine parks. The new sites were designed to minimize human impact on cultural and ecological values of the parks.

Reservations can also be made through BC Parks’ call centre at 1.800.689.9025 with a $5 fee plus tax.