VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Starting Thursday, you don’t need to live in B.C. to camp at a provincial park.
Demand has been high at B.C. parks. Bookings for campsites opened in March to British Columbians only.
The rules were initially brought in due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to discourage people from outside the province from travelling here.
As of July 8, anyone can make a reservation at campsite at a B.C. park for any dates. All visitors are required to abide by provincial health restrictions.
Kristy Jahn-Smith with Cranbrook Tourism in the Kootenays says Thursday’s relaxing of the rules is good for the economy.
“Residents and businesses are warmly welcoming Alberta back,” she said. “We want Albertans to know, too, that they are welcome here and we’re excited to have them back.”
“People are eager to get out. With some of the restrictions lifting [regarding] indoor dining and masks, and vaccination percentages being a lot higher, the comfort level … it’s palpable,” Jahn-Smith said.
Last week, B.C. introduced a campfire ban due to record-breaking high temperatures and lower than average predicted precipitation. A campfire is defined by size, not location. Any fire smaller than 0.5 metres high by 0.5 metres wide qualifies.
Two people were issued fines in the Okanagan on Friday after campfires were spotted in Salmon Arm and Vernon.
The ban is in effect across B.C. and is expected to remain until October.
Category 2 and 3 burning restrictions are already in place, which covers things like fireworks, sky lanterns, chimineas, and tiki torches.
Penalties for violating these bans range from a $1,150 ticket to jail time. If found to have sparked a wildfire, the person who violated the burning ban can be billed for “all firefighting and associated costs.”
With files from Lisa Steacy