Nominations are in, votes have been counted and BC Parks has selected the top four volunteers for 2014, those who have contributed significantly to the province’s parks and protected areas system. The recipients were honoured at a BC Parks banquet last night.
And the winners are:
- For Volunteer of the Year - Ken Matheson
- For Volunteer Legacy Award - Ross Keller
- For Volunteer Group of the Year - Friends of South Slopes
- For Community Partner of the Year - BC Marine Parks Forever Society
- And for Park Facility Operator (PFO) of the Year - Rick Terrell
Volunteer of the Year:
Volunteer of the Year recipient Ken Matheson from Clearwater uses his talents in cinematography and passion for the environment to create films that educate BC Parks visitors. This includes trip planning and orientation videos useful for those paddling popular canoe circuit in Bowron Lake Provincial Park, and an educational piece on Khutzeymateen Provincial Park. Matheson acts as a BC Parks ambassador, promoting shared stewardship, conservation and protection through ongoing public education, as well as strengthening relationships with community members and First Nations.
Volunteer Legacy Award:
Volunteer Legacy Award recipient Ross Keller from Campbell River dedicates time and effort to renewing interest in the Yorke Island Battery and enhancing the Yorke Island Conservancy. The battery, found in the conservancy, was built during the Second World War to defend against a potential Japanese invasion. Keller maintains a network of trails and updates the lists of historical artifacts and the photo inventory he began years ago. Visiting each remaining veteran who had served on the island and their families, Keller is collecting and documenting a wealth of stories. Conducting tours of the island, Keller shares the history with the public. The Honorary Battery Commander of Yorke Island Battery, Keller organized an event to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first military presence on the island, co-ordinating with many organizations including BC Parks and the Canadian Armed Forces.
Volunteer Group of the Year:
Volunteer Group of the Year recipient the Friends of South Slopes (FOSS) from Kelowna invests time and energy into maintaining Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park`s trail system and restoring Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park after the 2003 wildfire. The “Friends“ maintain over 60 trails, spanning almost 200 kilometres, and produce a volunteer`s guide to trail maintenance, which helps their members as well as other volunteer organizations throughout the province in trail maintenance. FOSS enlists other groups and volunteers to support their efforts through adopt-a-trail and trail sponsorship programs. They also facilitate many of the biking and running events that occur in Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park.
Community Partner of the Year:
Community Partner of the Year recipient the BC Marine Parks Forever Society continues to drive the establishment and enhancement of marine parks on B.C.’s coast. The society is assisting the Province acquire lands, providing $1.2 million over the past 25 years to acquire marine park lands valued at over $16 million. These acquisitions include Octopus Islands and Small Inlet marine parks on Quadra Island and Smugglers Cove, Wallace Island and Allison Harbour marine parks. The society partners with BC Parks to improve marine recreation facilities, including creating safe, ecologically friendly mooring in a number of marine parks. They also produce brochures and booklets of marine charts for BC Parks and yacht clubs.
PFO of the Year:
In addition to these annual volunteer awards, BC Parks also selects the Park Facility Operator of the Year. This year’s recipient, Rick Terrell, is retiring after looking after Desolation Sound Marine Park for 34 years. The man who many call Ranger Rick provides education and services to yachters and kayakers alike. By working and living in the Desolation Sound Marine Park, Terrell is often the first to report and/or respond to vessels in distress and forest fires in the area. He works together with the Community of Lund and Sliammon First Nation to identify and protect cultural values in the marine park.
Since the creation of B.C.’s provincially designated parks system in 1911, volunteers have initiated countless projects aimed at increasing the enjoyment and conservation of the province’s protected areas.
For pictures of the award presentation visit: http://ow.ly/HIW3m
View the BC Parks blog and join the online volunteer community at: www.bcparksvolunteers.ca
Mary Polak, Environment Minister -
“From improving visitor services and building trails, providing public education and assisting with management and planning, volunteers are a valuable resource in BC Parks. Thank you to all those selected this year for your dedication and passion, and enhancing our beautiful parks system.”
- From school groups to retirees, hundreds of British Columbians volunteer in BC Parks each year.
- Volunteers work to enhance park visitor services by building trails, becoming campground hosts, improving and restoring facilities, running educational programs, taking inventories of parks flora and fauna and help with park management and planning.
- In 2013-14, over 1,605 volunteers worked on projects in BC Parks.
- Over 200 stakeholder groups volunteer with BC Parks.
- There are 1,029 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas in B.C., covering more than 14 million hectares.
- B.C. provincial parks receive over 21 million visits each year.
Learn more about the recipients for 2014 BC Parks volunteer awards at: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/volunteers/recognition/
For more information about B.C.’s provincial parks, visit: www.bcparks.ca
Connect with BC Parks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/YourBCParks
Ministry of Environment