Whether you call British Columbia your home or you are entertaining out-of-province visitors, loading up your vehicle for a weekend camping trip is something that is arguably an instrumental part of everyone’s summer. (Black Press files)

Boost to campsite locations for 2018 season

Whether you call British Columbia your home or you are entertaining out-of-province visitors, loading up your vehicle for a weekend camping trip is something that is arguably an instrumental part of everyone’s summer.

The province of British Columbia already offers some of the most pristine camping destinations that Canada has to offer and visitors to BC Parks and forestry recreation sites have another reason to celebrate the natural splendour that is strewn across B.C.

With Canada’s Parks Day being celebrated on July 21, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development announced the addition of 431 new campsites throughout the province.

“People are passionate about spending time in our beautiful provincial parks and that has increased demand for camping opportunities,” said George Heyman, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “The additional campsites, combined with upgrades to existing facilities, will improve the overall experience of B.C.’s natural beauty and provide a range of camping opportunities for everyone to enjoy.”

These additional campsites come after 350 new campsites were added in BC Parks and recreation sites on 2017.

According to a news release issued by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, the new campsites are a mic of BC Parks and forestry recreation sites in areas with the highest demand.

Ranging from backcountry excursions to group camping, the majority of the new campsites are located within the Kootenay Rockies, the Thompson Okanagan, the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island geographical areas within the province.

“With the expansion, there are now 11,000 camping spaces at 1,100 recreation sites around the province, for those who enjoy a more rustic experience,” said Doug Donaldson, the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.

Along with these additional campsites, the approximately 21 million visitors to B.C. provincial parks each year will be expected to to see upgrades to existing facilities and infrastructure at many campgrounds in B.C.

These improvements range from road upgrades, installation of water taps, additional power, dish-washing stations, accessible toilets and for the E.C. Manning Provincial Park, a large shower building for guests.

Playgrounds and individual food caches have also been added to numerous campsites across B.C., which is the third-largest parks system in North America, exceeded only by the United States’ National Parks Service and Parks Canada.

These additional campsites and upgrades are reportedly exciting news for provincial visitors.

“The expanded mix of BC Parks and forestry recreation site campsites is very welcome news,” said Joss Penny, the chair of the Camping and RVing BC Coalition. “More than two million campers from B.C., Alberta and Washington are expected to camp or RV in British Columbia in the next two years.”

Furthermore, as of June 30, BC Parks had nearly 168,000 reservations for campsites through the Discover Camping reservation service. The majority of these reservations, however, did not come from out of province visitors, as they largely originated from within B.C.

Canada’s Parks Day, which was celebrated this past weekend on July 21, is an annual event in which the importance of the province’s parks are highlighted.

In particular, their importance in creating maintaining healthy ecosystems, protecting critical habitat for species at risk and contributing to overall human health and well-being are showcased.

Educational and family-oriented events were health in parks and historic sites across the country.

Finally, the BC Parks Foundation launched their Healthy By Nature Initiative, where 100 health-care providers were able to lead walks in 100 parks throughout B.C.

This initiative was created to highlight the benefits of spending time in nature has on the human body and mind,

There are 1,033 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas, covering more than 14 million hectares, or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base, in British Columbia.

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