Hundreds of new anglers got their feet wet for the first time at British Columbia's provincial parks during 2012. A record number of B.C. families took part in free Learn to Fish programs in provincial parks, which added value to the park visitors' already great experiences.
The program served 2,765 youth and their families at more than 78 sessions in 19 different provincial parks during the 2012 season. This was a 20 per cent increase over 2011 levels in BC Parks.
The provincial parks program is a result of a partnership with the non-profit Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC who has delivered the Learn to Fish program in B.C. since 2006. The Learn to Fish program has served nearly 100,000 participants throughout B.C., and of those participants, more than 12,500 baited their hooks in provincial parks. The program is delivered by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC in partnership with BC Parks and the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation.
Designed to attract new anglers to recreational fishing, the Learn to Fish program has a strong focus on conservation and increasing environmental awareness. It expanded in 2012 to include provincial parks in the Thompson-Nicola, Okanagan, East Kootenay, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island regions.
The program's increasing popularity builds on a 2011 expansion that was assisted by BC Parks funding of $5,000. Additional growth in 2012 was possible due to continued support from BC Parks, as well as $80,000 from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, $35,000 from the Columbia Basin Trust Fund and increased funding of $50,000 from the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.
For 2013, the Learn to Fish program aims to serve another 25,000 people at various locations throughout B.C. This will include more than 80 programs in provincial parks, reaching more than 3,000 youth and their families.
Environment Minister Terry Lake -
"BC Parks partnership with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of B.C.'s Learn to Fish program, helps embody our Families' First agenda and one of its core pillars - family affordability. What better way to strengthen the ties that bind than spending time with those you love in a BC Park. Just as we know that families are as diverse as our province, we know provincial parks have something to offer everyone."
Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC president Don Peterson -
"We're gratified that our Learn to Fish program has done so well since it was introduced to B.C.'s provincial parks. By bringing angling to youth and adults who have not participated previously, we are promoting a healthy outdoor activity that instils conservation awareness and will improve long-term stewardship of our natural resources - goals we share with BC Parks."
Quick Facts about the Learn to Fish Program and BC Parks:
- More than 60 per cent of provincial parks Learn to Fish program participants in 2012 were young people.
- Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC is a private, non-profit society that works with the government of B.C. to enhance and conserve B.C.'s freshwater fisheries resources.
- Overall participation in the Learn to Fish program throughout B.C. increased by 48 per cent in 2012.
- The Learn to Fish program ties into the B.C. school curriculum, focusing on environmental conservation and breaking down barriers to recreational fishing.
- In 2011, the Learn to Fish program in BC Parks was supported by funding from the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation, Columbia Basin Trust Fund, BC Gaming, Rio Tinto Alcan, the Government of Canada and BC Parks.
- There is free parking in all day-use areas in all BC Parks.
- Seniors camp for half price between Labour Day and June 14th.
Families First Agenda: www.FamiliesFirstBC.ca
BC Parks: www.bcparks.ca
Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC: www.gofishbc.com
Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation: www.hctf.ca
BC Parks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/YourBCParks
Ministry of Environment