EDITORIAL: Time to expand campground offerings

Recent criticism of the reservation system suggests more attention to the coveted green getaways is warranted.

Peninsula residents are hitting the highways in camper-topped pickups, motorhomes and cooler-heavy cars – the ultimate sign summer has arrived.

It’s camping season, but those hoping to get away to the great outdoors without a reservation might be out of luck.

Demand for campsites continues to grow in B.C., and residents from all over Metro Vancouver are quick to fill up those located within a few hours’ drive.

In the last five years, use of BC Parks’ online reservation system has jumped 80 per cent, according to the province.

Recent criticism of the system – including that travel companies are block-booking campgrounds and re-selling to far-away travellers – suggests more attention to the coveted green getaways is warranted.

Metro Vancouver’s population has ballooned, yet the number of campsites has not. Indeed, opportunities to pitch a tent on Crown land that doesn’t take an overnight trip to get to have fallen flat.

Making matters worse is the number of private operators who have gotten out of the camping game because of the soaring cost of real estate.

So for those who aren’t lucky enough to score a reservation – and whose idea of camping isn’t firing up the Coleman grill in a Wal-Mart parking lot – what’s the alternative?

It’s time the provincial government makes a greater investment in BC Parks and expand campground offerings.

Studies abound about the benefits of communing with nature, including research that shows that young people who experience nature are happier and healthier.

Camping is also a way for busy families to bond without the constant interruptions of our digital world. And, such trips offer learning experiences along with opportunities to exercise and develop new skills.

In addition to meeting the growing demand, more campgrounds would reduce unregulated use of B.C.’s backcountry – where actions of campers can’t easily be controlled.

The ministry has said it has no immediate plans to create new campgrounds. Indeed, planning new campgrounds in B.C.’s wilderness that are accessible to motorists and within a relatively close distance to Metro Vancouver won’t be easy. It will take time.

But it’s a worthwhile investment.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP cruisers outside a Newton townhouse Tuesday night. (Photo: Shane MacKichan)
UPDATE: Toddler in hospital, woman dead following stabbings at Surrey townhouse

Police say two-year-old was among victims found at townhouse complex in the 12700-block of 66 Avenue

BC Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson bottle-feeds a calf at a dairy farm in South Surrey Tuesday morning. (Aaron Hinks photo)
BC Liberal Leader makes stop in South Surrey

Business tax, mental health supports among topics addressed by Andrew Wilkinson

Vancouver Police were at a White Rock home Oct. 20 to conduct a search warrant. (Aaron Hinks photo)
ERT response to White Rock home connected to homicide: police

Search underway in the 15800-block of Prospect Crescent

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press)
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Oct. 18

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Ivan Scott. (Aaron Hinks photo)
Surrey mayor enters word war with speakers, councillor

McCallum calls brief recess after asking two speakers to leave chambers

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. Tim Hortons is ending the practice of double cupping hot drinks, a move the fast food restaurant says will eliminate hundreds of millions of cups from landfills each year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
The end of double cupping: Tim Hortons ditches two cups in favour of one with sleeve

Most recycling facilities in Canada don’t recycle single use paper coffee cups because of a plastic lining

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer doctor Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Tuesday October 20, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s chief public health doctor says in the age of social media, fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic has been spreading faster than the virus itself. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
VIDEO: Fake news creates serious issues for battling pandemic, chief public health doc says

Both Tam and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to be responsible about the information they share

Maple Meadows Station’s new Bike Parkade. TransLink photo
TransLink to remove abandoned or discarded bicycles from bike parkades

Rules at TransLink bike parkades ask customers to use facilities for single day use only

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

This 2020 electron microscope image made available by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases shows a Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 particle isolated from a patient, in a laboratory in Fort Detrick, Md. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-NIAID/NIH via AP
At least 49 cases of COVID-19 linked to wedding in Calgary: Alberta Health

McMillan says the city of Calgary has recently seen several outbreaks linked to social gatherings

UBC geoscientists discovered the wreckage of a decades-old crash during an expedition on a mountain near Harrison Lake. (Submitted photo)
Wreckage of decades-old plane crash discovered on mountain near Harrison Lake

A team of Sts’ailes Community School students helped discover the twisted metal embedded in a glacier

The official search to locate Jordan Naterer was suspended Saturday Oct. 17. Photo courtesy of VPD.
‘I am not leaving without my son,’ says mother of missing Manning Park hiker

Family and friends continue to search for Jordan Naterer, after official efforts suspended

Most Read