How much did you pay for camping last weekend? Two weeks ago I paid $12 for a site on the Okanagan Lake and last weekend I camped at Nicklen Lake and then Aberdeen Lake for free. The $12 site was a managed recreation site and the free sites on the Aberdeen Plateau were User Maintained campsites.

View the Campground Directory via the link at the top of the sidebar to see all campsites near you!  I have taken pictures and uploaded GPS to each of the sites I’ve visited and will create a page for each over the next several days.

Many folks leave comments on TracksAndTrails asking how to reserve sites. When it comes to recreation sites, First Come First Served rules usually applies. There are some Managed sites that allow reservations or some managers who reserve campsites for friends but normally you have to have someone on the campsite to call it yours. The maximum stay on recreation sites is two weeks for Canadian citizens, non Canadians should check with the Ministry of Tourism to ensure they are camping legally before they pitch their tents or park an RV.

Free Camping Recreation signs are all over BC Backcountry!

Free Camping Recreation signs are all over BC Backcountry!

Many of the Recreation Sites have outhouses strategically situated on them. These outhouses can be somewhat smelly but I found that if you dump a gallon or so of cold ashes from your campfire pit into the outhouse the aroma can be greatly diminished.

At Aberdeen I camped at a crown land location that is used like a recreation site but is not designated as a camping spot. There was just enough room for three or four tents / RV’s and even on the busy May long weekend, on this site there was only myself and two other parties. One of which offered to share a spot so we shared the campfire and firewood.

On the recreation sites or crownland sites without outhouses, it is best to dig a hole in the forest, at least 100 feet away from any shoreline and use the hole for your bathroom and fill it back in with dirt when you leave.

Firewood collection at recreation sites is usually no problem. When I was enroute to Nicklen Lake I was lucky enough to

Free Firewood

Many folks cut firewood for their homes or backcountry cabins. Feel free to just grab left over blocks or rounds of wood from the big forestry piles. These piles just get burned in the fall.

spot huge debris piles from recent cutblock logging areas that had left over rounds of firewood waiting for me to pick them up. Thanks to who ever couldn’t load them on their truck…granted they were slow burning due to the fact they were a bit green.

If you cut your wood at these debris piles, be sure not to climb on the piles and watch for logs that may tumble down like a pile of “pick up sticks” Also, if you cut from those piles, you will likely get green wood which will not burn unless you mix it with dry wood.

It is illegal to cut standing green wood so if your looking for firewood, look for trees that are already down and break of the dead branches. If you are unsure whether a standing tree is dead or alive, leave it be. Look for small logs that are lying down.

Free Camping at Nicklen Lake near Vernon BC

Free Camping at Nicklen Lake near Vernon BC