Mike Davies

Shouldn’t camping be for everyone?

It happens every year.

Summer gets rolling, people start planning their getaways out into the beautiful wilderness that surrounds us here in this corner of the world and the complaints start rolling in about the lack of availability, expense or physical state of the campgrounds in the area.

Facebook these days, particularly, seems to be filled with posts of people complaining about not being able to find a camp spot because people have filled them all with campers or RVs that they leave all summer so they can escape for the weekend without worrying about being able to find one. Some are complaining about the opposite – time limitations on some locations only allow for a 14-day stay, regardless of whether you’re actually there the whole time or not, which they don’t think is fair because they want to camp for longer than that.

Other sites have rules that demand campers are actually there the whole time, prompting complaints about not being able to pay for more time than you will actually use should you want to ensure you get the spot you want.

One thing seems clear, based on the breadth and scope of these complaints: you’ll never please everybody, no matter which system you use.

Minister of Environment Mary Polak recently penned an opinion piece where she says she understands the frustration people are feeling and that the ministry is working on ways to relieve some of it.

“The ultimate solution is to increase the supply of campsites, but that will take some time,” Polak wrote.

So for now, Polak says, the government will focus on the campsite reservation system.

“Each year we make changes to improve the Discover Camping system to ensure it is fair and every year some people find new ways to circumvent the system.”

Those ways now include the scalping of reservations.

That’s right. Camping reservations have now become such a popular commodity that they are getting the same treatment as must-see concerts. People are booking campsites and selling the reservations for profit.

So camping is quickly going from an affordable way to get outside with your family and friends and enjoy nature for a while to an endeavour for those who can afford to pay for the privilege.

This is unacceptable.

Our wilderness should be accessible for everyone.

I should be able to load my family into our vehicle with a couple of tents and head off into the woods and find a campsite we can stay at for a couple of nights beside a nice clean lake we can swim around in.

I shouldn’t have to worry about finding all the decent spots filled with the empty RVs belonging to people who can afford to pay to have them sitting there for whenever they can show up to use them.

Our camping system is broken, is what I’m saying.

No, you shouldn’t be allowed to reserve a spot for two weeks, three months in advance, so you can use it for one weekend because you have the money to do that.

No, you shouldn’t be allowed to park your RV beside a lake at a public campsite for the whole summer so that you can go up every weekend without having to worry about finding a spot.

No, you shouldn’t be forced to have your camp-mates on rotating shifts staying out at the site starting on Tuesday so you can all be there for the weekend as a group.

Figure it out, Parks BC.

Otherwise the wonderful wilderness just outside our back door that caused many of us to locate our families to this area in the first place might as well just be another luxury hotel many of us can’t afford to stay at.