BC Parks is getting flak from disgruntled campers being forced to pay full price for double campsites despite occupancy being reduced to half their original capacity.
When provincial campsites reopened June 1, double site limits were reduced from two camping parties, each of up to four adults and four children, to one due to revised regulations to accommodate physical distancing.
That’s now the same eight-person occupancy limit that applies to single campsites, but the fees for double sites remain what they were — twice that of a single.
A double site usually allows for family and friends to camp together, and is specifically designed to allow two parties to camp in close proximity.
A lot of citizens have taken to BC parks’ social media sites to seek further clarifications and to voice their discontent.
B.C. resident Valerie Roy had booked a double before the pandemic and had to ask members to drop out of their trip recently after the new regulations were announced.
She was “disappointed” that parks were maintaining full rates for double sites despite allowing the same number of occupants as a single site.
“I feel like it’s a cash grab, provincial parks are taking advantage of the situation by assessing the same fee,” said Roy.
The new occupancy policy also poses a significant challenge for large families. Those with more than 4 children have either had to cancel altogether or get lucky with finding another site in the campground open during the same time.
Most reservations made prior to COVID-19 are eligible for full refund upon cancellations before June 15.
But fresh reservation have not been easy since the Discover Camping’ website went live again on May 25. On the same day, BC Parks announced a site crash due to heavy traffic and large volumes of bookings.
This year, online reservations can be made for up to two months in advance.
Camp sites are also open only to B.C.residents and any bookings made by non-B.C. residents after May 25 will be subject to immediate cancellations without a refund.
Callers to the reservation line with pre-existing reservations for doubles were being told their choices were to adhere to the new regulations, book an additional site, or cancel if neither was a viable option.
Ministry of Environment spokesperson, David Karn, told the Mirror that all reservation holders with a double campsite booking were contacted to inform them of the new rules.
“Visitors who choose to keep a double site booking with the limited number of people are charged the regular double site rate as extra space is still available, and additional vehicles and camping units on double sites are still permitted,” said Karn.