Park-use permit policies

By legislation, a permit is required for many types of commercial use, land use or 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.

Permit processing

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.

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
Cranbrook BC V1C 7G5
Phone: 250-489-8540
Fax: 250-489-8506

Kootenay Okanagan region: Okanagan

102 Industrial Place
Penticton BC V2A 7C8
Phone: 250-490-8200
Fax: 250-490-2231

Omineca Peace region: Omineca

4051-18th Avenue
Prince George BC V2N 1B3
Phone: 250-614-9911
Fax: 250-565-6940

Omineca Peace region: Peace

400, 10003 – 110th Avenue
Fort St. John BC V1J 6M7
Phone: 250-787-3411
Fax: 250-787-3490

North Coast Skeena region

3726 Alfred Avenue
Smithers BC V0J 2N0
Phone: 250-847-7260
Fax: 250-847-7728

South Coast region

200 – 10470 – 152nd Street
Surrey BC V3R 0Y3
Phone: 604-582-5200
Fax: 604-930-7119

Thompson Cariboo region: Cariboo

400 – 640 Borland Street
Williams Lake BC V2G 4T1
Phone: 250-398-4530
Fax: 250-398-4214

Thompson Cariboo region: Thompson

1259 Dalhousie Drive
Kamloops BC V2C 5Z5
Phone: 250-371-6200
Fax: 250-828-4000

West Coast Region

2080-A Labieux Road
Nanaimo BC V9T 6J9
Phone No: 250-751-3100
Fax No: 250-751-3103