Summer camping reservations open as site crashes

Click to play video: 'Surge of campers book reservations on Parks Canada website' Surge of campers book reservations on Parks Canada website
WATCH: BC Parks' reservation system crashed shortly after it started accepting reservations for the season. Tanya Beja explains what's driving demand, despite an increase in fees – Mar 15, 2016

As of today, you can make your summer camping reservations for provincial parks in B.C., but it’s going to cost you a little more.

The fees at about half the parks have gone up by a couple of dollars again this year.

Some group campsites will cost $120, compared to last year’s price of $100.

The most expensive sites will include Goldstream, near Victoria, set at $35 a night.

This is the second camping fee hike in two years. The province says the fee hike is needed to help maintain a provincial park system that is being used by a growing number of campers.

The province claims some $60 million has been invested in B.C. parks over the past five years. This year’s fee hikes are expected to bring in more than $400,000.

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WATCH: BC camping fees taking a hike for second year in a row

Click to play video: 'BC camping fees taking a hike' BC camping fees taking a hike
BC camping fees taking a hike – Feb 13, 2016

But apparently that fee increase isn’t deterring some would-be campers.

The website is so busy it has crashed several times this morning.

BC Parks said in an online statement they anticipated high traffic volumes this morning.

“At 7 a.m. we experienced three times the traffic we received last year. The site is now successfully processing transactions. We understand this may have caused some frustration and we thank you for your patience in this matter.”

Many people took to social media to voice their concerns about the website’s malfunction.

“This is the first time we’ve experienced anything this dramatic, but it truly was an overwhelming number — three times the number of visitors compared to last year and last year was already a record-setting year,” Environment Minister Mary Polak said.

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Some Global BC viewers also raised their concerns about RV rental companies potentially buying up the camp sites.

But the Ministry of Environment says while they are aware that some RV rental places reserve BC Parks campsites, they are not granted any privileges or advanced bookings.

“To date, BC Parks is not aware of any problems this is causing and these operations support domestic and international tourism,” said David Karn with the ministry.

Under the current regulations, the maximum length of stay in any provincial park is 14 days per park, per calendar year. Some parks may limit maximum length of stay to seven days.

There is no limit on how many reservations an individual can make.

-with files from Jon Azpiri 

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