Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Just Show Up: No Reservations Required at Some Camping Spots on Vancouver Island

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Just Show Up: No Reservations Required at Some Camping Spots on Vancouver Island

Article excerpt

Island camping spots without reservations

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VICTORIA - Caretaker Peter Murphy says every camper asks the same question about staying at Kitty Coleman Provincial Park, and he never gets tired of gleefully providing the same answer: Yes, it's oceanfront.

"Everybody says we'd like to be on the ocean, and I say, 'They're all on the ocean.' We've got five (sites) up in the woods. Other than that, the rest are on the water," said Murphy about the 65-site campground located six kilometres north of Courtenay on central Vancouver Island.

The 10-hectare park, on the south side of the Strait of Georgia, is popular for swimming, fishing and boating. Wild onions grow throughout the area and huge cedar and fir trees stand tall on the park's upland areas.

But it's the ocean that brings the campers.

"It's just a beautiful spot," says Murphy. "It's one of the best spots you want to be. All of our sites are right on the ocean. The cruise ships go through all the time, and there's the whales."

Another unique feature of Kitty Coleman Provincial Park is that it's one of the few campgrounds remaining on the Island and British Columbia that does not require reservations to pitch a tent or set up a trailer. Every spot is booked on a first-come, first-served basis -- no government websites to deal with.

"The reservation system makes it busier for us now, but if you say you're coming from Victoria and you call me at 8:30 in the morning when we open, and if we have a site, we'll hold it until you get here," said Murphy.

The camping fee at Kitty Coleman is $15 per night.

Reservations for B.C.'s campsites has ignited a political controversy this summer with Environment Minister Mary Polak and Opposition New Democrat Leader John Horgan addressing issues about tour companies hogging campsites, rising camping fees and declining numbers of sites.

Polak says that of the 131,000 campsite reservations made so far this year, the government has received fewer than a dozen complaints of people attempting to resell the reservations. …

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