Joffre Lakes campsites now require reservation
Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is shown. (Instagram / @dominiqbliz)
More than two dozen backcountry campsites located at a B.C. park previously described as being "loved to death" now require reservation.
The province announced Tuesday that Joffre Lakes' 26 tent pads can be reserved starting April 2. Anyone without a reservation will be turned away, the environment ministry said.
Camping is only allowed at the upper lake campground located at the end of what the ministry calls a "challenging 5.5-kilometre trail."
At the top of the trail's elevation gain of 400 metres, campers can set up along the turquoise waters of the glacier-fed lake. There is no overflow area due to the terrain.
Located east of Pemberton, the provincial park has seen a significant increase in visitors, partially due to its popularity on social media. The province said upwards of 170,000 people traipse through the park each year.
It's such a problem that park officials warned last summer, when parking lots were filling up fast, that anyone who parked on the side of the highway would have their vehicle towed.
Also in August, local politicians and conservationists warned the park was in danger of being "loved to death." It prompted questions about whether hikers should have to make reservations.
"The word is out that this is the best place in the world," Jack Crompton said at the time.
The chairman of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District said even just a few years ago, the park was a well-kept secret. But photos posted online made it a destination for tourists.
"The addition of camping reservations is part of the long-term approach BC Parks is taking to manage recreational use in a sustainable way," the ministry statement said.
"Given the remote wilderness environment, visitors to Joffre Lakes need to be well prepared and self-sufficient.
In addition to Joffre Lakes, those looking to camp at Tweedsmuir Provincial Park now require a reservation as well. The park has two campgrounds and is a popular spot for horseback riding, hiking, canoeing, fishing and hunting.
Anyone looking to make a reservation can do so online through the Discover Camping website.
The province has not yet provided the cost to make a reservation at either park.