Province makes camping less affordable

Camping fees, like other B.C. service fees, on the rise.

Camping fees, like everything else, including Medical Services Plan, B.C. Hydro and ICBC are going up.

The Liberal government has announced that, as of March 15, fees to camp in provincial parks will increase $2 to $5.

That might not sound like much, but it’s going to cost $35 a night to sleep on the ground in North Okanagan provincial parks. Over a long weekend, that would total $105.

Add on the cost of travel, food and other necessities, and camping is no longer a cheap option for young families, or young adults working minimum-wage jobs.

According to the Ministry of Environment, this is the first province-wide increase in camping fees since 2010.

The varied rate increases take into account local demand and economic conditions, as well as the availability of private campgrounds.

The provincial government collected about $17 million from its park and recreation fees during 2014, while spending a total of $22 million on direct park operating costs.

Meanwhile, campsite use is on the rise across the province since the introduction of an online reservation service.

Discover Camping handled 133,000 reservations last year, nearly a 10 per cent increase over 2013.

Campgrounds allow families to get outdoors and spend time together.

They are where kids learn to respect nature, to start a fire, where they chop wood and swim in the lake, roast marshmallows and gaze at the stars.

They also attract tourists, who spend money in the region.

– Chilliwack Times