Numerology: B.C. sees increase in camping bookings this summer

Cost, per group, for a night of camping at Rathtrevor Beach–one of B.C.’s most expensive provincial campgrounds

Cost, per person, for a three-night package stay in a luxury tent at Clayoquot Wilderness Resort on Vancouver Island

Contribution of the B.C. camping industry to the provincial GDP

That’s the year-over-year increase in bookings made on the opening day of the BC Parks Discover Camping online reservation system this past spring—meaning last-minute campers may have to search farther afield for an open site as vacationers head to the woods in droves this summer. Private campground owners are reporting a similar surge in bookings, too. “Last year was the busiest camping season people could remember in 30 years,” says Joss Penny, chair of the Camping and RVing BC Coalition. “And this year is going to surpass it.” Meanwhile, as interest in camping spikes, the number of private campgrounds in B.C. is shrinking as premium real estate is sold off for development—a crunch, says Penny, that’s helping to boost alternative camping options, such as apps that connect tenters with farms or RVers with private driveways. “And boondocking is certainly increasing,” he says. “That’s people camping in churchyards, outside Walmarts, in mall parking lots.”