Environment Minister and MLA for Langley Mary Polak issued the following statement regarding the NDP’s campaign of misinformation on campsites in BC:
George Heyman is wrong. There has been no mass shutdown of campgrounds or campsites that would substantiate the claims by Mr. Heyman and others. Any suggestions to that effect are simply not true.
While we don’t know the methodology that was used to count the number of campsites in 2001 we do know the numbers representing total campsites could be highly variable as a result of how they are classified and accounted for. For example, one group site might hold 10 campers, while another group site might hold 100. We do know a 2014 BC Parks staff inventory shows that the number of campsites has more or less held steady since 2001.
Small numbers of sites do occasionally close for safety concerns or low-usage. Similarly, small numbers of sites have been added here and there over the years, but generally speaking the overall numbers have held constant (10700 front country & 2000 backcountry).
The Province is adding more than 1,900 new campsites to help meet the growing demand, an initiative roundly supported by a broad section of stakeholders representing the environmental and wilderness tourism sectors. Does George Heyman really believe these organizations would support the BC Parks Future Strategy if his campsite conspiracy theory was true?
If George Heyman really believes thousands of campsites have been eliminated since 2001, then my question to Mr. Heyman is “where were these sites located?” British Columbians deserve more than basing wild and blatantly false allegations on nothing more than a website anomaly.