The Province is providing $240,000 and a new group insurance program to support volunteers in BC Parks across province, announced Environment Minister Terry Lake.
This funding from the Park Enhancement Fund will help volunteers participate in regional conservation and recreation projects, including facility restoration, trail construction and invasive plant control. Support is also now available for projects with a provincial scope. For more information about how to apply for this funding, go to www.bcparksvolunteers.ca.
Volunteer groups who work in BC Parks are protected even more with the new Stewardship Partners Insurance Program. Legally registered volunteer groups can now enter into five to 10 year agreements to undertake work on behalf of BC Parks. In return, all group members will be provided with liability and accident insurance when working on approved BC Parks projects. The coverage is similar to what is provided for individual volunteers.
Projects completed last year by volunteers in BC Parks include a historical trails project undertaken by UNBC Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Management students and a remote beach cleanup on Vargas Island with Surfrider Foundation.
BC Parks Volunteer Strategy was developed in 2012 and has now moved into the implementation phase. The strategy was developed after consultations with volunteers, park facility operators, stakeholders and the general public to strengthen capacity within the BC Parks system and improve volunteer experience by establishing a long-term volunteer program.
Terry Lake, Environment Minister -
"Volunteers and community partners are vital to the continued success of BC Parks. It's imperative volunteers have the supports they need to work on projects that benefit our parks. Thanks to all the volunteers and partners who have contributed to our world-class parks and protected area system. "
- Last year, over 1,500 volunteers worked on projects in BC Parks, including retirees, children, families, youth and school groups just to name a few. Some of these volunteers have specific expertise in trail building, biology and conservation.
- Recreation Sites and Trails BC has updated their group insurance program to the new Stewardship Partners Insurance Program.
- British Columbia has 1,030 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering nearly 14 million hectares or approximately 14.3 per cent of the provincial land base.
- Parking fees were eliminated at provincial parks in 2011, making them more accessible to B.C. families.
- National Volunteer Week is April 21-27, 2013.
To join BC Parks online volunteer community, please visit: www.bcparksvolunteers.ca
To view the BC Parks Volunteer Strategy, please visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/volunteers/docs/BCParksVolunteerStrategy.pdf
For more information about B.C.'s provincial parks, please visit: www.bcparks.ca
Connect with BC Parks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/YourBCParks
Ministry of Environment