Long time Squamish resident John Harvey knew illegal camping was becoming an ever-increasing problem in town. The solution to this problem in his mind was an affordable, non-profit campground.
It was a no-brainer, he says.
“It was long recognized that Squamish desperately needed affordable camping and I expected a great deal of support from Council and staff when I started the project in 2013,” he says.
He received the support from the community as well and six year later his vision has finally been realised. His brainchild, the non-profit Mamquam River Campground, is now open on seven acres of Crown land beside the Mamquam River in Squamish.
“I’ve seen the encampments, seen the nightmare of garbage and felt the helplessness of their situation. Our campground will not change the homelessness factor but it will help decrease the ‘unsanctioned’ camping around town,” Harvey says.
The Mamquam River Campground has a 68 site capacity for rustic camping including 24 Drive-in sites and 44 Walk-in sites. The campground charges $15 per night per drive-in site and $10 per night per walk-in-site.
“Our hopes are that the facility sets the example for partnerships with the non-profit sector and becomes. In a couple years, Squamish will need another campground beside the Squamish River,” he says.
Many people are not that far from becoming homeless in this economy of exorbitant rents and landlords flipping houses, he adds.
“We are providing for the like-minded, affordable camping in a nice setting.”