Province hikes fees at provincial campgrounds

Campsite fees are going up between $2 and $5 at provincial parks around B.C. this spring

Campsite fees are going up between $2 and $5 at provincial parks around B.C. this spring.

After March 15, a night under the stars at Miracle Beach Provincial Park goes from $28 to $33 per night, while many more remote campsites will see a smaller increase in fees.

Fees at 40 provincial campgrounds in the Kootenay-Okanagan, Northern, South Coast and West Coast regions are increasing at least $3 a night, and 141 of B.C.’s 204 provincial campgrounds will see a $2 increase – including Strathcona, Elk Falls, Loveland Bay, Morton Lake and Smelt Bay Provincial Park on Cortes Island.

The Ministry of Environment says this is the first province-wide increase in fees since 2010.

Rates for backcountry camping and use of sani-stations remain at $5, and fees for mooring buoys, picnic shelters and group camping are unchanged.

Parking fees for day-use lots, a failed experiment from 10 years ago, are not being reintroduced.

The fee increases are largely restricted to prime season, “frontcountry” campsites.

Winter camping rates remain unchanged as well as year-round rates at many remote locations, including Cape Scott Provincial Park on the northern tip of Vancouver Island and Schoen Lake Park, located between Sayward and Woss.

The ministry says the varied rate increases take into account local demand and economic conditions as well as private camping availability.

Sought-after locations such as Cultus Lake and Shuswap Lake charge $35 a night for a site with up to four adults, while nearby private campgrounds charge higher rates.

The province collected about $17 million from its park and recreation fees last year, while spending $22 million on direct park operating costs.

Campsite use is on the rise in B.C. since the introduction of an online reservation service called Discover Camping, which opens for the season at 9 a.m. on March 15.

The system handled 133,000 reservations last year, nearly a 10 per cent increase over 2013.

 

North Island parks camping fee changes:

 

Previous/New fee

  • Miracle Beach- $28/$33
  • Strathcona Park/Buttle Lake- $18/$20
  • Ralph River-$18/$20
  • Elk Falls-$18/$20
  • Loveland Bay-$18/$20
  • Morton Lake-$16/$18
  • Smelt Bay-$18/$20