By legislation, a permit is required for many types of commercial use, land use/land occupancy, and research activities (see specific activities below) that take place in parks and protected areas designated under the Park Act, the Environment and Land Use Act or the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act.
A permit is required for ecological scientific research and/or educational purposes in ecological reserves established under the Ecological Reserve Act or the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act.
What activities require a park-use permit?
Park-use permits are different from the permits you may need for front-country camping, moorage, etc. in most parks. For information on permits and fees for camping and visiting parks, including campsite reservations, please see the reservations section.
Uses and activities that will require a permit on lands classified as park, protected area or conservancy are:
- Providing commercial recreation services, such as guiding, concessions, rentals, and so forth, where a fee is charged to the public in exchange for a service
This would include summer or winter activities, for example, guiding hikes, guided camping, providing cross-country skiing, scuba diving instruction, guided kayak or canoe touring, big game guiding, angling guiding, or any other activity where goods or services are being provided to the public for some form of compensation. If the service being provided is one that requires a camping or moorage permit, you will still be required to acquire and pay for those permits in addition to the park-use permit required for commercial services.
- Film production
- Land use or occupancy for commercial, non-commercial, industrial or existing residential purposes
- Research activities (collection, monitoring, survey and inventory, and so forth)
Uses and activities that will require a permit on lands classified as Ecological Reserves:
- Ecological scientific research
- Educational purposes
How do I apply for a permit?
For information about permit applications or the permitting process, visit the FrontCounterBC website.
If you are uncertain as to whether you require a park-use permit for an activity, or for general inquiries about park-use permits, please contact FrontCounterBC.
Adjudication of a park-use permit application or ecological reserve permit application may take up to 140 days.
A permit authorizes an individual, group, or organization to carry out a specific activity and outlines the specific conditions under which the proposed activity may occur.
Permit applications are subject to review under our impact assessment process.
The permitted authorization process helps ensure the preservation and maintenance of B.C's protected areas and the recreational and other opportunities they provide.
- Permit policy for commercial filming [PDF] (Feb 1, 2020)
- Permit expiration [PDF] (Aug 27, 2018)
- Permit insurance requirements [PDF] (Jan 16, 2017)
- Permit fees [PDF] (Jun 28, 2011)
- Permit application [PDF] (Jan 16, 2017)
- Permit term length [PDF] (Jul 22, 2015)
- Permit cancellation [PDF] (Jun 28, 2011)
- Research permit policy [PDF] (Aug 5, 2015)
- Ecological reserve permits [PDF] (Aug 29, 2012)
Park-use permittee self-assessment report
There are a number of park-use permits throughout British Columbia’s protected areas system allowing for commercial activities within parks, many of which are granted to operators who provide guided adventure tourism services. These operators may provide, at their option, a self-assessment report [PDF] evaluating their contributions to stewardship within parks. The intent of the Self-Assessment Report is to allow operators an opportunity to describe in writing how they have demonstrated leadership and commitment to maintaining the conservation and recreation values and objectives of the parks or protected areas in which they operate.
Such reports will be made available for public comment for 30 days from the time of posting. Results of the reports and any public comments received will be used when adjudicating the permit held by the operator.
BC Parks regional office contact list
Ministry of Environment: BC Parks
Kootenay Okanagan region: Kootenay
205 Industrial Road G
Kootenay Okanagan region: Okanagan
102 Industrial Place
Northern region: Omineca
Northern region: Peace
400, 10003 – 110th Avenue
Northern region: Skeena
3726 Alfred Avenue
South Coast region
200 – 10470 – 152nd Street
Thompson Cariboo region: Cariboo
400 – 640 Borland Street
Thompson Cariboo region: Thompson
1259 Dalhousie Drive
West Coast Region
2080-A Labieux Road