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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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Old 11-15-2014, 12:47 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bvansnell View Post
In popular campsites "first come first served" leads to the worst possible human behaviour.
Yeah, pretty much does that in general. About 15 years ago we decided to try the 'Black Friday' thing. Never again.
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Old 03-16-2015, 02:08 PM   #12
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In poking around the BC Parks site recently, this was posted and is presented as a heads up for fellow Escaper's that may be interested but didn't know this tidbit. Highlighting my own.

Quote:
During the course of a facility improvement project in 2014, BC Parks uncovered an important archaeological site within the campground. With Haynes Point Park now an archaeological site, the Province and Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) have agreed that Haynes Point and Okanagan Falls Provincial Parks will be managed by the OIB. The parties are working to have both parks open for the camping season April 1, 2015. Park visitors can expect the same recreational opportunities as before.
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Old 03-16-2015, 05:21 PM   #13
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Looks as if campsites in BC can only be booked three months in advance so can't be booked for the busiest time yet.
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Old 03-17-2015, 10:18 AM   #14
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Does anyone know how busy it is in the Monck campground on Nicola Lake? We are planning on camping sometime between June 19 - 28 and we haven't yet had any experience booking through the BC Parks website. Any new tips and tricks would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:22 PM   #15
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At some stage of the reservation process you can see the "site calendar" for the site you like (which days are already booked).

A random check just know showed no reserves on one at least for May and June.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:34 PM   #16
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Apparently, you can only reserve three months in advance, so you won't find reserved sites for May/June. And, to check the sites, you need to enter the arrival date and number of nights you are staying. If you do that at Monck right now it will show the sites are closed for those dates. (closed, as in "not open to reserve" )
In any event, if the kids are in school it's pretty easy to find a site in any provincial park.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:41 PM   #17
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Go with Glenn, he has done it longer. I'll check later.
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Old 03-17-2015, 12:48 PM   #18
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My experience with Monck has been in July when schools are out and the park was busier. We did not have any difficulty getting a spot, but of course we were only passing through.

It is so easy to book online with the BC parks system, why not just wait till the booking window opens for the dates you are interested in, and then choose and book the campsites that you want?
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Old 03-17-2015, 05:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaglo View Post
Apparently, you can only reserve three months in advance, so you won't find reserved sites for May/June. And, to check the sites, you need to enter the arrival date and number of nights you are staying. If you do that at Monck right now it will show the sites are closed for those dates. (closed, as in "not open to reserve" )
In any event, if the kids are in school it's pretty easy to find a site in any provincial park.
Three months from now is June 17 so reservations should be allowed until then. It appears, however, that only weekends can be reserved. Weekdays first-come, I guess.
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Old 03-18-2015, 01:39 PM   #20
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Thanks for the info everyone. I'll let you know how it goes when we try booking our campsite. It looks like the Monck campground has lots of sites that we would like and hopefully with the kids still in school it won't be too hard to reserve.
Liz
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