British Columbia Parks License Plates
Origin Story!

Impetus for the BC Parks Plate
In the years leading up to the introduction of the BC Parks plate, reserving a campsite in British Columbia for the popular summer months had become something akin to a 1980s Cabbage Patch Kids frenzied mob attacking a table full of dolls - too many people chasing too few products.
According to the Ministry, the number of reservations handled year-over-year was increasing by double digits with the 2014 numbers representing an increase of13% over 2013, and 2015 numbers increasing by 19% over 2014 (and would subsequently increase by another 16% in 2016).
Somewhat predictably, when the province's online "Discover Camping" reservation system opened on March 14, 2016, it crashed under the pressure of what was reported to be three times the volume of people trying to make reservation as had been experienced in 2015.
As a result, many people were shut-out and unable to book a space in their preferred location for 2016, while an increase in camping fees left those who did secure spots feeling somewhat put-out given no apparent improvement to the amenities being offered at provincial campgrounds.
Public frustration with the system, however, would erupt when media reports began to circulate claiming that travel companies were gaming the reservation system in order to secure large blocs of reservations which they were then making available to out-of-province campers (particularly from Europe and the US) or flipping them on a "black market" at twice their face value or more (i.e. sites that cost between $18 to $35 were being sold for $70)!
The reservation system came under attack as broken as campground staff were increasingly having to confirm people's identities in an attempt to crack down on scalping at the more popular campground locations, while those unable to find a spot were occasionally roughing it nearby on Crown land leading to unknown environmental impacts. The operator of one travel company even received a death threat in addition to numerous calls from other companies hoping to make booking through them.
In early July of 2016, the Environment Minister, Mary Polak, attempted to diffuse some of the tensions by releasing figures showing that BC residents were booking 75% of all sites and that the real issue was one of supply-and-demand and with only 6,000 campsites serving a population of 4,000,000 there were bound to be challenges.
Industry critics countered that despite the clear benefits that tourism to BC (including use of the provincial parks system) brought to the economy, the government was guilty of neglecting the parks system and had failed to adequately fund or plan for the growth in demand that had been building over the previous 30 years.
In response, Minister Polak advised that her Ministry would be reviewing options for adding capacity to the park system as well as reviewing the booking process for improvements.
Fast forward four months to November 28, 2016, and Premier Christy Clark announces a new "BC Parks Future Strategy" which, amongst many other things (such as the creation of 1,900 new campsites), included the creation of a BC Parks specialty license plate!

If you go out in the woods today ... Premier Christy Clark being stalked by a wild moose as she announces the "BC Parks Future Strategy" on November 28, 2016. The Strategy establishes a new series of BC Parks specialty license plates.
For our purposes here at, the Strategy advised that proceeds from the sale of the plate would be re-invested into provincial parks and that there would be multiple different designs to choose from once the plates were finally released (which occurred in January 2017). As per the Strategy itself:
To read the government's press release on the "BC Parks Future Strategy", just Click Here!

*     *     *     *     *
Other (US) Parks Plates

While uncommon in Canada - we think this might be the first such Parks plate issued by a province - these types of plates are not uncommon in the United States.

South of the border, displaying a Parks plates can usually gain one free entry to a State Park where, unlike in British Columbia where only camping carries a fee, the state government charges for day use as well. The following are a random assortment of these types of plates:


© Copyright Christopher John Garrish. All rights reserved.