It was barely half an hour after sunrise on Monday morning and Greg Garner was already staring at a screen, trying in vain to book a provincial campsite on Vancouver Island. Garner, who lives in Victoria, was aiming for French Beach Provincial Park — somewhere he hasn't been since he was a teenager — or Juan De Fuca Provincial Park's China Beach campground. Both parks are close to home, so he wouldn't be driving "through five different health authorities" to get a vacation this year, he said. "It took me a few attempts to get into the system to begin with … even at 7:10, the sites at the two parks I was looking to book were completely booked," he said. "I got my hopes up when I got through, but then to hit a brick wall ... it took the wind out of my sails for sure." A number of B.C. residents like Garner ran into trouble trying to book a provincial campsite spot when reservations opened on Monday. The website was experiencing a high volume of visitors almost immediately after it opened, with some would-be campers losing their progress halfway through a booking or being unable to get through at all. The website to book a campsite at one of B.C.'s provincial parks saw a rush of visitors within a few minutes of launching on Monday.(Screenshot) The frustration was short lived, according to the Ministry of the Environment. A spokesperson said in an email 100 per cent of people were able to get through "within a few minutes" if they kept trying. Roughly 4,500 bookings had been completed by 8 a.m. PT, an hour after reservations opened. The province warned several weeks ago that campgrounds were expected to be even busier this year as residents who have been cooped up all winter look forward to a summer vacation. Opening day for B.C. Parks reservations is already notorious for website issues, as provincial parks are extremely popular even in a normal summer season. Campers were recommended to prepare backup options for preferred campsites and dates, in case their first choice booked up fast. A new rule around booking likely helped stem the initial rush. Campers are only be able to book two months ahead of their arrival date this year — meaning, for example, a person who booked on opening day was only be able to book up to May 8. Some people did have quick success, managing to book their spot after a few hiccups. One independent campsite capitalized on the moment, luring frustrated people on Twitter to book with their "little heritage site" if they'd given up on provincial sites. Spots along overnight trails like the Bowron Lakes Canoe Circuit and Berg Lake Trail, which are often snapped up by international travellers, were booking up quickly for the summer after reservations opened last week. A previous statement from the ministry said people living in B.C. will have "priority access" to provincial campgrounds all summer, but campers are being asked to choose a site close to home where possible, as Garner did, to avoid long road trips during the pandemic. Despite current public health orders to avoid non-essential travel out of one's own community, the province is opening reservations to people living in other provinces on July 8. It did not elaborate on the decision to permit bookings from out-of-province travellers.