The BC Ministry of Tourism Culture and the Arts maintains more than 1,200 recreation campsites under it’s Recreation Sites and Trails BC program. The campsites are located around British Columbia for the camping enjoyment of residents and visitors to B.C.
Recreation sites and trails are public campgrounds and trails located on Crown land outside of parks and settled areas. They provide enjoyable recreation experiences generally within an integrated resource management setting. This means that the land base is managed for a variety of land uses, which may include forestry, cattle grazing, mineral extraction, oil and gas exploration, recreation, fish and wildlife management, and watershed protection. While visiting recreation sites and trails, you can expect to encounter a number of these land management activities. Recreation sites and trails were formerly known as Forest Service recreation sites and trails, and were previously the responsibility of the BC Ministry of Forests.
Recreation sites provide a simple, rustic camping experience. Generally located in remote areas and accessed by gravel forestry roads, recreation sites provide only basic facilities, such as fire rings, picnic tables, outhouses, and, where appropriate, boat-launching ramps. Potable water is not available, and there is no electricity at recreation sites. At a limited number of recreation sites with on-site operators, supervisory services are provided. All recreation sites are on a first-come first-served basis, with no reservation system available. There are two basic types of recreation sites:
Sites with Fees
These sites are managed through partnership agreements with recreation groups, community organizations, First Nations, private citizens, local governments, and forest companies. Camping fees are charged to pay for the services provided by the agreement holder, which may include supervision, daily maintenance, and facility/structure maintenance. Camping fees can range from $10-$15 per night for a person, family or party of six.
Sites without Fees
These sites are managed through partnership agreements or maintenance contracts. No fees are charged for the services provided because the agreement holder has alternative ways of recovering the costs (e.g., volunteers), or the ministry covers the cost of the maintenance contract.
Typical Campsite Amenities
The amenities available at recreation sites vary from one location to another. Potable water and electricity are not available at any sites. Typical amenities and services at a recreation site may include:
- Fire Rings
- Day-use areas
- Picnic Tables
- Firewood sales
- Boat launches
- On-Site Supervision
Finding a Recreation Site or Recreation Trail
Recreation Sites and Recreation Trails can be found on the Recreation Sites and Trails BC website through the following links:
If you require additional information on recreation sites, please contact Recreation Sites and Trails BC through their website at Sitesandtrailsbc.ca.
Forest Service Recreation Maps
Forest Service Recreation maps are no longer produced or distributed. However, regional maps created in partnership with BC Parks are available at tourism information booths for the Kootenay and Vancouver Island regions.
BC’s recreation trails are used for many different purposes, including hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, ATV riding, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling. The types of trails available can range from rustic, single-track paths through dense forest to wide-tracked rail trails with high quality tread surfaces.
Many of the trails are set in spectacular natural settings, and in addition to providing access to beautiful destinations, they also provide users with a sense of enjoyment, fulfillment and accomplishment along the journey. There are also many historical and heritage trails in BC that trace the footsteps of our forbearers and remind us of important events in the development of British Columbia.
As with recreation sites, some recreation trails have user fees while others are free of charge. Recreation trails where fees are charged are managed under a partnership agreement whereby the partner charges a fee for services provided, such as trail grooming, brushing, and other maintenance activities.
Recreation trails can be found by using the same search links provided above for Recreation Sites.
Note: BC Recreation Campsites and Trails are maintained by the BC Ministry of Tourism, Culture and the Arts.