Authorities of Vancouver Island’s (British Columbia, Canada) west coast communities ask people to make a reservation at an authorized campground before arriving due to an unacceptably high level of illegal and backroad camping over the past two years.
In a joint press release, representatives from the District of Tofino, District of Ucluelet, Alberni Clayoquot Regional District, and the Yuułuʔiłʔath Government (Ucluelet First Nation) said that illegal camping has dramatically impacted the Indigenous Territorial lands and susceptible ecological areas surrounding them, including local aquifers.
To minimize the impacts on the region, increased patrols and enforcement in 2022 will target dispersed and unauthorized camping within the Clayoquot Arm, along the Kennedy Lake Watershed, within Tla-o-qui-aht, Yuułuʔiłʔath, and Toquaht traditional territories, on municipal streets/lots, and within BC Parks and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.
Patrols along the West Coast will communicate rules and guidelines for respectful camping and, if necessary, issue tickets or fines.
The release highlighted that as reservations for West Coast campgrounds fill up fast, authorities recommend that campers make alternative options, like booking a hotel or motel in the area, delaying their trip to the West Coast, or finding an available campsite in another community.
“Parks Canada works closely with local First Nations, the Districts of Tofino and Ucluelet, as well as local tourism organizations to ensure a memorable, safe, and respectful visit. Guardians, Junior Guardians, BeachKeepers, Coastal Stewards, and Parks Canada staff work together to encourage and promote respectful visitor behavior. Parks Canada recommends visiting Pacific Rim National Park Reserve outside the peak season when visitation to the area is lower,” said Karen Haugen, Superintendent of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.