BC Parks COVID-19 Resources

BC Government COVID-19 News & Resources

BC Parks News Releases

April 8, 2020 All BC Parks closing
BC Parks is immediately closing all provincial parks in response to the widespread call for increased action to address COVID-19.

Province closing certain parks, recreation areas
BC Parks continues to monitor whether people visiting provincial parks are complying with the physical distancing required to stop the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

BC Parks status during COVID-19 response
Provincial parks are a great place for people in B.C. to get out and enjoy nature, while following the social distancing directives from British Columbia’s provincial health officer (PHO).

BC Parks Response to COVID-19

Provincial Travel Restrictions Continuation

The health and safety of our park visitors and staff continues to be our number one priority throughout this difficult past year. We understand and appreciate how important safe outdoor activity is, and we are committed to continuing to provide safe places and means for BC’s residents to enjoy the benefits of nature, to the fullest extent possible.

The Province recently announced B.C.’s Restart Plan. The first phase of that Plan calls for the continuation of intra-provincial travel restrictions until June 15. Given this, and in keeping with our commitment to supporting safe and responsible camping, BC Parks will continue to provide full refunds for any cancellations of campground reservations falling within the period of these travel restrictions – i.e., for reservations falling between April 23 and June 15, 2021.

Streamlined refunds for cancellations May 28 – June 4
In the interest of making this process simpler, BC Parks has developed a streamlined refund process for cancellations made between May 28 and June 4. During this period, if you have a reservation that falls within the period of the travel restriction order – i.e., up until June 15 – and would like to cancel that reservation, you can do so in ONE step via Your Account at discovercamping.ca until June 4. A full refund will be immediately returned to you on the credit card that was used at the time of booking. There is no further action required.

Refunds for cancellations April 23 – May 27 and after June 4
If you cancelled your reservation(s) between April 23 and May 27, or do so after June 4, BC Parks’ two-step refund process will apply.  
In these cases, due to the extremely high volume of requests, processing time for refund request forms may exceed the standard 4-6 weeks. We ask for your patience, kindness and understanding given this is a manual process requiring staff time to address every request. Every request will be responded to.

Pursuant to these continuing travel restrictions, until June 15 visitors should only make future reservations within their Health Authority Region (or combined region, as defined by the order). We understand the disappointment that can come with changing plans. However, we hope that if everyone cancels their sites from parks outside of their Health Authority Region (or combined regions, as defined by the order), additional campground openings will be created for people to camp closer to home, allowing BC residents to still recreate safely and enjoy some much needed respite in nature.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stay kind, calm and safe.

2021 Camping Policies     2021 Camping FAQs

Groupsite Reservations for 2022

The opening of groupsite reservations for 2022 has been postponed until further notice due to the evolving nature of COVID-19. BC Parks will provide advance notice before reservations become available.

2021 Camping Policies     2021 Camping FAQs

Provincial Travel Restrictions

The health and safety of our park visitors and staff has always been our number one priority throughout this difficult past year. We understand and appreciate how important safe outdoor activity is, and we are committed to continuing to provide safe places and means for BC’s residents to enjoy the benefits of nature, to the fullest extent possible.

In keeping with this commitment, we are providing an update on the implications to BC Parks campers of a new order issued on April 23, 2021, and in effect until at least May 25, by BC’s Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, pursuant to the Emergency Program Act. The aim of this order is to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19 by reducing the movement of people into and within the province.  In particular, the order prohibits people from leaving their Health Authority Regions (some are combined for the purposes of this order) for non-essential reasons - including for holiday.

Reservations

To be compliant with this new order, we ask all visitors who have made camping reservations up to May 25, 2021, for parks that are outside of your local Health Authority Region (or combined region, as defined by the order) to cancel your booking. A full refund of all fees will be provided by request for reservations that:

  • were made on or before April 23, 2021; and,
  • have an arrival date that falls within the period of the order (April 23 to May 25).

Two-Step Refund Process:

  1. Cancel your reservation before your arrival date at discovercamping.ca

    Cancellation fees will be applied at that time, but refunded in step 2

  2. Submit a refund request, after cancellation, for all remaining fees at bcparks.ca/reserve/dc_refund_guidelines.html

    Select “COVID travel advisory” under “Grounds for a Refund” and ensure ‘travel restrictions’ are noted in the request form

    Submit ONE request per reservation

Due to the expected volume of requests, processing time may exceed the standard 4-6 weeks. We ask for your patience, kindness and understanding given this is a manual process requiring staff time to address every request. Every request will be responded to.

While it is not yet known whether these orders may be extended beyond May 25, reservations made from April 23 onwards will not at this time be eligible for the flexible cancellation policies as noted above. Visitors should only make future reservations within their Health Authority Region (or combined region, as defined by the order) until restrictions are eased by the Province. We understand the disappointment that can come with changing plans. However, we hope that if everyone cancels their sites from parks outside of their Health Authority Region (or combined regions, as defined by the order), additional campground openings will be created for people to camp closer to home, allowing BC residents to still recreate safely and enjoy some much needed respite in nature.

The opening of groupsite reservations for 2022 has been postponed - BC Parks will provide advance notice before reservations become available.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Please stay kind, calm and safe.

2021 Camping Policies     2021 Camping FAQs

Opening Dates and Policies for the 2021 Camping Season

Our park operators and staff have been preparing for visitors and are looking forward to welcoming visitors to our campgrounds for the 2021 camping season. However, it is still not quite business as usual. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to require BC Parks to adapt its policy and operational decisions.

Reservations for the full 2021 season for both the Berg Lake Trail and Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit will open on March 1, 2021, at 7 am PT. On March 8, 2021, at 7 am PT, camping reservations will become available for frontcountry and backcountry on a two-month rolling window. This includes booking single or double sites at frontcountry campgrounds, as well backcountry camping reservations at Garibaldi and Mount Assiniboine. With a March 8, 2021 release of campground reservations, campers will be able to initially reserve arrival dates up to May 8, 2021; on March 9 arrival dates up to May 9, etc. Operating and Reservable Dates for campgrounds can be found at bcparks.ca/operating-dates/ and on individual park webpages.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, British Columbians will be provided with priority access to camping reservations. Starting July 8, 2021, non-residents of BC will be permitted to make reservations for any remaining arrival dates in the season for other parks, pending travel restrictions. For the purpose of accessing priority reservations, a BC resident is someone who resides in BC. Visitors will need to confirm they are a BC resident before booking a campsite.

Other key policies related to the 2021 camping season (such as campsite capacity limits, groupsite/family camping opportunities, PHO guidelines that relate to camping, etc.), can be found at bcparks.ca/covid-19/camping-2021 and we encourage all campers to review these policies prior to planning and booking their 2021 trips. A summary of key policy decisions are as follows:

  • Capacity limits for single or standard campsites remain unchanged for the 2021 season. A single camping party is still permitted – standard allowance of 8 individuals (of which, can be up to 4 adults aged 16 or older), including daytime visitors.
  • Double sites will return to standard capacity of 16 individuals (of which, can be up to 8 adults aged 16 or older), including daytime visitors. As was the case last season, double sites are required to be booked in full by one reservation holder for the 2021 season (i.e., they will not be bookable as single sites for two separate parties).
  • Group sites continue to provide family camping opportunities for those who may want a larger campsite for their larger families. The occupancy total remains at 16 individuals, including daytime visitors.

PHO guidelines for gatherings may change between the time of booking and a scheduled arrival date. Camping parties MUST meet current PHO guidelines for gatherings, even if those group numbers are less than the maximum site allowance.

Customers are responsible for reading and understanding BC Parks Reservation Policies before making a reservation. Discover Camping reservation policies will be strictly enforced for the 2021 camping season. Reservation, modification and cancellation policies can be found at bcparks.ca/reserve

We appreciate your ongoing cooperation as we work to keep our staff, park operators, and visitors safe. Together we can stay safe and keep our parks open.

Previous Updates

June 29, 2020Repurposed group campsites available for ‘extended family’ or ‘single party’ camping opportunities

As our Province has slowly started to reopen, BC Parks has continued to keep the health and wellbeing of our visitors, staff and park operators as our top priority. We have continued to phase in the re-introduction of facilities and services as it has become safer to do so.

In conjunction with park operators, while maintaining safety and respecting continued PHO guidelines around physical distancing, we are very pleased to now introduce several new camping opportunities for the rest of 2020.

In the coming weeks, a select group of parks and campgrounds will be offering camping opportunities available in repurposed group campsites. Some group campsites have been repurposed to accommodate ‘extended family’ camping and will be available on Discover Camping for reservation.

To ensure that campers can continue to meet social distancing guidelines and overall numbers in the campground are manageable, the maximum number of individuals permitted on these campsites is 16. This includes people of all ages, at all times, including registered guests and daytime visitors as well. These dedicated and often large camping areas with their own facilities and amenities allow extended families to spread out and enjoy the added space while still camping together. As such, the standard fee for group camping applies. 

A few other group campsites have been repurposed as ‘single party’ campsites.  The maximum number permitted on these campsites is no more than 8 people each. These new opportunities – each with their own picnic table and fire ring – will be available in-park, on a first-come, first served basis and the standard per party frontcountry camping fee applies.

These new family camping opportunities will be available as of June 29, 2020. For details on where these opportunities have been added, please refer to the Family Camping (repurposed group campsites) Details.

We appreciate your ongoing cooperation as we work to keep our staff, park operators, and visitors safe. Together we can stay safe and keep our parks open.

Stay safe, have fun, and happy camping!

Group Campsites Frequently Asked Questions

Re-Opening Frequently Asked Questions

June 1, 2020 Re-Opening of Campgrounds

Our park operators and staff have been preparing for visitors and are ready to welcome you back for your next camping trip. As of June 1, many campgrounds across the province have re-opened for the 2020 camping season, with more campgrounds to open in the weeks to come.

We are kicking off this new camping season with new protocols and safety measures in place. Take a look at the BC Parks Guide to Camping During Covid-19 to get a better idea of what to expect when you arrive at the campground. The guide outlines how to prepare, set up, and stay safe, as we all learn to navigate this new camping experience.

Additional campsite availability is being added to the Discover Camping reservation system each day, with booking available for arrival dates two months in advance on a rolling window. As you plan out your summer, remember to stay local and camp close to home. To support staying local this summer, BC Parks has limited camping to BC residents only – this includes both reservable sites and first-come, first-served sites. Non-BC residents with existing reservations should call the call centre to cancel for a full refund by June 30. After June 30, regular cancellation penalties will apply.

Please note the ongoing closures of some BC Parks campgrounds and facilities. In the interest of safety, many of our higher use parks and park facilities that regularly experience high visitation, overcrowding, and make physical distancing challenging, will remain closed for now. But rest assured, we will continue to re-open parks, campgrounds, and facilities as safety permits, and as we navigate this unprecedented situation. Check Parks Affected by COVID-19 for more park-specific information.

We appreciate your ongoing cooperation as we work to keep our staff, park operators, and visitors safe. Together we can stay safe and keep our parks open.

Stay safe, have fun, and happy camping!

May 25, 2020 Re–Opening of Discover Camping Reservations

Discover Camping’s online reservation system and call centre opened this morning to unprecedented interest.

For this camping season, we’ve changed how we release available inventory and will be operating with a 2-month rolling booking window. This means that when the system opened today, visitors are able to book reservations for arrival dates for the next two months up to July 25. On May 26, July 26 arrivals will be available; this 2 month window will continue until the end of the reservable period for each park. Please note that closing dates for each park is different.

If you have an existing reservation but your plans have changed, you can cancel through our call centre for a full refund by June 30.

In support of staying local and avoiding unnecessary travel, BC residents will be given preferential access for the 2020 camping season. Non-BC residents with existing reservations should contact the call centre prior to June 30 to receive a full refund. Reservations made by non-residents after the system reopens on May 25th may be subject to immediate cancellation.

In order to support camping during COVID, a new BC Parks Camping During COVID guideline document has been developed that will provide helpful information for campers during this unprecedented time. This document will be released later this week.

Please continue to check this website for updates.

May 6, 2020 Re–Opening of BC Parks

On May 14, BC Parks will start to reopen the majority of provincial parks and protected areas and marine parks.
People across the province will have more access to safe outdoor recreation opportunities, while meeting the guidelines of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO).

Re-opening Dates

On May 14, BC Parks will reopen many front- and back-country trails, beaches, picnic areas, washroom facilities and boat launches for day-use.

  • Visitor centres, nature houses and concession buildings may be opened on a case-by case basis.
  • In some instances, facilities such as playgrounds, hot springs, halls, and picnic shelters will remain closed.

On June 1, BC Parks will re-open most provincial campgrounds and back-country camping.

  • To ensure physical distancing, you may notice some changes in campgrounds, including additional spacing between campsites and limitations on the number of guests in campgrounds.
  • Some communal facilities such as shower buildings will open with enhanced cleaning protocols, while campgrounds that require visitors to use shared cooking facilities and backcountry cabins will remain closed.

Parks that attract large crowds will remain closed until it is safe to reopen at a later date. Backcountry campgrounds in some parks with high day use will also remain closed.

Health and Safety Guidelines

  • Please visit parks close to home.
  • Visitors are expected to respect any facility or area closures and to follow the physical distancing requirements set out by the PHO.
  • Visitors should bring their own hand sanitizer are asked to practice appropriate hygiene.  If you are sick, please visit another time.

BC Parks is doing everything we can to ensure parks are safe. We are all in this together, and we are counting on everyone to do their part so parks can remain open.

Additional Information

April 8, 2020 Full BC Parks System Closure

BC Parks is immediately closing the entire BC Parks system, including all parks, protected areas, conservancies, recreation areas, and ecological reserves. All camping (front and backcountry) is now banned until May 31st, 2020. This action is being taken in response to the call for increased action to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the desire of the public to get outdoors, many parks have already experienced peak season levels of use that have resulted in overwhelmed parking lots, trails and trailheads, making physical distancing difficult, if not impossible in some locations. It has also resulted in damage to our facilities and the environment.

This closure is also necessary to ensure the continued health and safety of our visitors, employees, park operators and their staff, volunteers, and park contractors. By taking this action, we align with federal and provincial directives for people to stay home to reduce COVID-19 transmission risk.

This temporary measure means public and vehicle access is prohibited until further notice. All trails, roads, day-use areas, beaches, lakes, boat launches, and backcountry areas are closed to the public. Park closures will be enforced through regular monitoring and patrols and anyone found in a closed park will be evicted and could face a $115 fine.

In addition to the full system closure, the campground closure has been extended to May 31st, 2020. Full refunds will continue to be provided to those with existing reservations during this time. The Discover Camping reservation system has been suspended for all new reservations. A public notice will be issued once facilities are reopened and the system is able to accept new reservations.

BC Parks continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic closely and is following the recommendations set out by the Provincial Health Officer and the Minister of Health for decisions related to closure and reopening of parks and facilities.

March 26, 2020 BC Parks COVID-19 Response Update

Physical distancing is new for everyone and finding appropriate ways to maintain safe distances while getting outside is presenting challenges. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry advises remaining at least two metres away from others when outside your home is crucial for stopping the spread of COVID-19. As the weather changes and many of our provincial recreation sites, parks and trails become a destination for people trying to get outside, it is not possible to maintain safe physical distances from others while enjoying these spaces. Due to ongoing concerns about the increase of visitors in provincial parks, certain parks throughout the province will now be fully closed.

The new closures are in addition to the previous suspension of services and facilities in provincial parks, including visitor centres, nature houses, washrooms, and day-use areas. In alignment with Parks Canada, all campgrounds remain closed until April 30. The Discover Camping reservation system will be suspended for all new reservations during this time.

BC Parks will continue to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak closely and follow the direction and advice set out by the PHO and the Ministry of Health. Additional provincial park closures may be implemented on a case-by-case basis where required. Visitors that choose to access a provincial park that is open should be mindful they are responsible for their own garbage, and must practice physical distancing. Additionally, visitors are responsible for their own safety and should be aware that due to reduced supports for Search and Rescue teams at this time, should practice an abundance of caution, or simply, stay home.

March 24, 2020 BC Parks COVID-19 Response Update

As part of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BC Parks continues to monitor the number of people visiting provincial parks and complying with the requirements of the Provincial Health Officer (PHO) to stay two metres apart while in the outdoors.

Parks throughout B.C. are seeing an increase in visitors, but many people are not complying with the PHO requirements and putting themselves and others at risk. BC Parks has heard concerns from the public, RCMP, First Nations, regional and municipal governments about the increase in visitors and is implementing full closures of certain parks throughout the province.

For the health and safety of BC Parks visitors, employees, park contractors, volunteers and partners, effective immediately, BC Parks is suspending services and closing facilities in additional parks throughout the province. These park closures are in addition to those previously announced on March 20, 2020.

The new closures are in addition to previous suspension of services and facilities in provincial parks, including visitor centres, marine parks, nature houses, washrooms, and day-use areas. In alignment with Parks Canada, all campgrounds remain closed until April 30.

All campgrounds, camping opportunities and accommodations will be closed until at least April 30. Full refunds will automatically be provided to existing reservation holders. Given the volume of cancellations, please allow 7-10 days for your cancellation and refund to be processed. Please do not cancel your own reservation as this will delay our ability to process your refund.

The Discover Camping reservation system will be suspended for all new reservations during this period of closure. When the closure has been lifted and facilities reopened, public notification will be posted.

Provincial park visitors may continue to use trails and areas where accessible, however, they MUST stay at least two metres apart while in the outdoors. Visitors will also be expected to carry out their own garbage and will be responsible for their own safety. Visitors should be aware parking lots in some parks may be closed and gated where necessary.

Visitors should always check the BC Parks website for any updates. Please see specific park pages for details regarding related closures.

Please continue to check this website for updates.

March 20, 2020 BC Parks COVID-19 Response Update

For the health and safety of BC Parks visitors, employees, park contractors, volunteers and partners, effective immediately, we are temporarily suspending services and closing facilities in most provincial parks.

Day-use services and facilities will remain available at the following provincial parks:

The temporary measures include the suspension of services at marine parks, visitor centres, nature houses, playgrounds, washrooms and day-use facilities. Provincial park visitors may continue to use trails and areas where accessible, however, they will be expected to carry out their own garbage and will be responsible for their own safety. Visitors should be aware parking lots in some parks may be closed and gated where necessary.

All campgrounds, camping opportunities and accommodations will be closed until at least April 30; as we move through this pandemic this closure date will be reviewed. Full refunds will automatically be provided to existing reservation holders during this time and given the volume of cancellations, please allow 7-10 days for your cancellation and refund to be processed. Please do not cancel your own reservation as this will delay our ability to process your refund.

The Discover Camping reservation system will be suspended for all new reservations during this period of closure. When the closure has been lifted and facilities reopened, public notification will be posted.

Complete park closures may also be implemented on a case-by-case basis where required. Visitors should always check the BC Parks website for any updates beforehand.

BC Parks continues to monitor the COVID-19 outbreak closely and is following recommendations set out by the Provincial Health Officer and Minister of Health for decisions related to closure and reopening of parks and facilities. We ask that all park visitors adhere to the directives for social distancing and other measures recommended by the PHO and the BC Centre for Disease Control.

Please continue to check this website for updates.

To view additional information, please review the COVID-19 questions and answers.

March 20, 2020 Temporary Notice

For the health and safety of our call centre agents, work practices at the Discover Camping call centre are being reviewed and will be changing throughout the coming days. As a result, there may be a temporary lapse in service or delay in response to phone calls.