By Julia Pepler
Summer in BC wouldn’t be the same without camping, spending time outdoors, and exploring BC’s waters. With so many people feeling the need to get outside after a lengthy quarantine, folks will be flooding to recently opened campgrounds to get that fresh air. But COVID-19 restrictions have changed the way many campgrounds will operate. Here’s what you need to know about camping in BC right now.
Find a site that is open
Many campgrounds in BC Parks were opened as of June 1, but some popular spots remain closed. Make sure that you check out the BC Parks park status list, which is updated frequently to reflect new open dates. Some notable favourites that are not yet open are Joffre Lakes Provincial Park and Garibaldi Provincial Park.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is still ever present in Canada, BC Parks is asking you to camp locally. Staying close to home means that you reduce the risk of community transmissions, particularly to rural and isolated areas. You can use this interactive map to find parks and campgrounds near you. If you are showing any symptoms of COVID-19 before your camping trip: stay home!
Note: BC Parks and campgrounds are only open to BC residents.
Pack the COVID-19 camping essentials
In this Guide to Camping during COVID-19, BC Parks outlines some key items to bring with you on your camping trip.
The COVID-19 camping essentials are:
- Hand soap
- Hand sanitizer
- Disinfectant wipes
- Disposable gloves
- Wash basin
- Toilet paper
- Garbage bags
Some other items to consider:
- Face mask
- Flip flops to wear in the shower facilities
Keep your bubble small
Maintain a 2m distance from folks who are not in your camping “bubble” or group. Limit visitors to your campsite, and aim to keep your bubble to 8 people or less. Allow others to pass with a 2m distance on hiking trails or waiting for the bathroom facilities and avoid congested areas.
Keep your area and hands clean
High touch surfaces like picnic tables and benches should be frequently wiped down to kill any harmful viruses or bacteria. Additionally, bring wipes to the bathroom areas in case supplies are limited.
Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose. Wash your hands frequently with soapy water, or anti-bacterial gel, to help prevent any COVID-19 spread. Some key times to wash your hands are:
- When entering or exiting your campsite
- Before and after eating
- Before preparing or handling food
- Before handling clean or dirty dishes
- Before and after brushing your teeth, washing your face, or carrying out any other hygiene routine
Be kind to nature
While this should not be limited to a pandemic, many parks are facing new challenges, so please do your part and clean up after yourself. Remember, take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints. Keep your site and trails clean, always use the designated bathrooms, and feel free to report litter with our web tool Gassy. Whenever you’re hiking, camping, or exploring the wilderness, treat nature with respect.
Be kind to others
Campers and parks visitors, BC Parks staff, and maintenance crews are all treading into new territory together and finding creative ways to enjoy the outdoors during COVID-19. Remember to show compassion to the people who have worked hard to reopen BC campgrounds and to fellow visitors who, like you, are escaping the bustling city for quiet time in nature.