LETTER: Changes needed to campsite system

BC has some of the finest scenery in the world and some of the best public campsites making these natural wonders accessible.

BC has some of the finest scenery in the world and some of the best public campsites making these natural wonders accessible.  These great campsites were built for and their creation paid by BC taxpayers and they provide a great vacation getaway at a reasonable price for BC families.  Regrettably over the last few years the BC Government has cut funding to BC Parks with the result that Park infrastructure is strained, Park staff are overworked while at the same time there is ever increasing demand for camping spots from both BC residents and out-of-province visitors.  It is against this backdrop that BC Parks introduced a reservation system a few years back in an attempt to make access to camping easier and more equitable.

Unfortunately that system has failed miserably.  For key provincial parks prime reserved spots are gone within days.  It turns out that tour companies are scooping up these spots and then reselling them to out-of-province RV renters and campers at highly inflated prices.  BC residents are not only being priced out of the real estate market but also out of the camping market.  The difference is that these parks are a public good paid for by BC residents and this is simply unacceptable.  Tour companies should not be able to reserve these spots in bulk.  There are plenty of private camping companies that can meet the needs of Tour companies and help stimulate the BC economy at the same time.

The BC Government needs to fix this problem. A simple solution to start with would be that whoever books a campsite needs to be the person who uses the campsite.  It is also relatively simple to restrict the number of spots that can be sold to a single IP address.  Of course we want to welcome visitors to our beautiful province but not at the expense of BC residents and not for the unreasonable profit of opportunistic tour companies.

Freddy MarksBC Green Party, Harrison Hot Springs