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Old 04-28-2013, 11:54 AM   #1
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Booking BC Provincial Camp Sites

What a pain in the backside. Anybody have any shortcuts? This lottery style system is stressfull to the max!
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Old 04-28-2013, 12:34 PM   #2
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We, as a general rule, don't reserve at all. When we're on holidays, i don't like to have to be at a certain place at a certain time. If we're in a nice area, we have often decided to stay an extra day or two. That, plus the way the BC Parks is now handling the system is one i don't agree with. Close to home, Rathtrevor Beach is $30/night plus they also require you to reserve the site for more money (another $6-$11/night!!) It's just another cash grab in my eyes. Your mileage may vary.
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Old 04-28-2013, 01:41 PM   #3
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Reserving at BC Campsites

What we found works:

Plan ahead. Be ready to book your campsites when the reservations open for the season. This only works during the time reservations are being accepted (the "reservation window" -- see below)

Camp in the off season. There are more campsites available, it is not as crowded, there are discounts available if you are a senior.

Use the less popular campsites. They may be available even when the popular ones are not.

We experienced the "lottery" when we arrived at Haynes Point Provincial Park mid September just after the reservation window closed, meaning it was "first come first served". You were allowed to pay the full fee to park on the road in hopes of a campsite opening up. We waited two days and never did get a campsite. I wrote to BC Parks suggesting they extend the reservation window, but they did not act on this. In popular campsites "first come first served" leads to the worst possible human behaviour. People make deals with existing campers they can have their campsite. There is no policing of who is next in line. Existing campers can extend their stay as long as they want with impunity. Ugly! See "Overflow" at Haynes Point Provincial Park | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
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Old 04-28-2013, 03:57 PM   #4
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For sure camping in the off season is the easiest. Trying to co-ordinate a 10 day stay, at 2 camp sites, for 2 parties, in Okanagan North is now nearly impossible Brian. It's been getting harder every year. This year we've got 4 computers working on it and have been trying for 5 days running.
We realize that the system is fair but that doesn't make us any less disappointed.
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Old 04-28-2013, 08:08 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bvansnell View Post

Camp in the off season ............
I'll second that. Last October we camped at Marble Canyon, Lac La Jeune and Monck all for free! We had to pay at Tunkwa Lake.

Even when they are listed as closed on the web site many still have a loop open; you just have to e-mail the park operator and they will tell you it is partly open or not.

At Marble Canyon we had two other campers, Lac La Jeune we had the whole place to ourselves and at Monck we had one neighbour. The sign on highway 5 said Monck was closed but one loop was still open (which we had confirmed with the park operator prior to going). Bring your own water and pack out your trash.

Great brisk weather and gorgeous colour in the hills at that time of year.
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Old 04-29-2013, 10:41 AM   #6
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6th try was the charm. Thanks for the tips on reserving a camp site people!
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:52 PM   #7
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Our own experience is that for the most popular locations, you have to book early to get the dates you want. And for some Prov Parks (Okanagan South Provincial Park for example) I booked online on the earliest date possible for a mid-July spot for 4 days. I had my site selected and parameters fixed, and within about 5 sec of when the bookings opened I hit the "Reserve" button. Unfortunately, I was too late to get my first, second, or third choices (should have not waited that 5 sec); but I was able to get my 4th choice. Within 5 minutes of the reservations opening, there were no sites left to be booked for my dates.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:28 PM   #8
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Sounds just like Yosemite!
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:33 PM   #9
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We found that the reservation page would grow stale if filled in more than 30 min. ahead of reserve time and we had to punch the reserve button 2 seconds early to get our reservations.
We were meeting with family members so we couldn't book in an unpopular time.
6 days and 4 computers did the trick! Phew!
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Old 11-15-2014, 12:42 PM   #10
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Looks like I will be trying this for 2015. Did the system improve at all in regards to the " lottery"?
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