An iconic wildlife painter, an internationally recognized leader in the renewable energy industry and a recipient of the Order of British Columbia known for her advocacy work with Aboriginal peoples are among the board members of the new BC Parks Foundation.
The 10 members of the BC Parks Foundation board are:
- Karla Rockwell (board chair)
- Robert Bateman
- Ross Beaty
- Ric Careless
- Les Doiron
- Dana Hayden
- Daniel Johnston
- Eric Peterson
- Sophie Pierre
- Jim Standen
The BC Parks Foundation will help generate private revenue, to be spent on promoting and enhancing the experience in BC Parks.
Independent of government, the foundation strives to ensure the provincial parks system is valued and protected for generations to come. British Columbians and beyond are encouraged to contribute to help preserve the ecological, recreational and cultural values of B.C.’s world-class parks system.
The foundation is based on four key principles:
- Protecting parks, including strategic land acquisition, funding for ecological and cultural conservation and restoration projects, and funding research projects aimed at better understanding biological and ecological diversity and how to better respond and adapt to climate change.
- Connecting people to parks, including funding for educational and cultural programming, collaborative marketing campaigns, and programs that will lead to increasing attendance, increasing accessibility for persons with disabilities, and attracting new park users.
- Inspiring people to become stewards of B.C. parks, including volunteer programs, engaging and inspiring youth and harnessing British Columbians’ passion for wild spaces.
- Enhancing the ability to harness the full potential of parks, including strategic infrastructure enhancements (e.g., field research stations) and programs directed at increasing visitor experience and their understanding of the history of B.C.’s parks, their cultural importance, and the scientific opportunities associated with them.
In February 2017, the Province announced $10 million as an initial endowment to the BC Parks Foundation, as part of a broader investment of $35 million over the next three years to increase and strengthen conservation in B.C.’s world renowned parks.
This funding is part of the BC Parks Future Strategy, which was first announced by Premier Christy Clark in November 2016, and will also result in 28 more full-time park rangers, and new programs to promote and protect the environment.
In addition to the conservation funding, the Province is investing $22.9 million to build 1,900 new campsites in provincial parks and recreation sites, incorporating accessible design standards and, most recently, launched a series of licence plates depicting Ministry of Environment scenes from B.C.s parks and recreation areas. To date, more than 12,000 BC Parks licence plates have been sold since the plates became available for purchase at Autoplan broker stores on Jan. 29, 2017.
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment –
“The BC Parks Foundation will help generate additional funding to support our beautiful provincial parks and protected areas for future generations. Individuals, families, community groups and others will now have the opportunity to contribute to protecting and preserving our world-renowned parks system.”
Karla Rockwell, board chair, BC Parks Foundation –
“It is the common passion and deep appreciation for B.C.'s magnificent park system that has inspired us to serve on the BC Parks Foundation board. The foundation will provide another avenue for British Columbians who share that passion to support our provincial parks.”
- B.C.’s provincial parks receive more than 21 million visits each year.
- Parking is free in all provincial parks, making them more accessible to families.
- BC Parks manages the third-largest parks system in North America behind the United States National Park Service and Parks Canada.
- British Columbia has the highest percentage of its land base dedicated to protected areas of all provincial Canadian jurisdictions.
- B.C. offers a range of camping experiences in provincial parks, as well as recreation sites.
- Over the past five years, the Province has invested approximately $60 million in park facilities, delivering projects directed at attracting young families, offering new recreation opportunities and increasing attendance.
BC Parks Foundation: www.bcparksfoundation.ca
BC Parks, and to view the BC Parks Future Strategy, visit: www.bcparks.ca
BC Parks: www.bcparks.ca
A backgrounder follows.