Taking care of provincial parks while creating jobs and safeguarding nature is at the heart of a new investment supporting economic recovery for people in British Columbia.
A $5-million investment in projects spanning 24 provincial parks is another StrongerBC economic recovery initiative promoting wellness and employment.
“We have heard the call for greater access to the outdoors to promote health and well-being during COVID-19. These meaningful projects create jobs to address those needs as part of our support for B.C. communities,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Investing in provincial parks also protects sensitive ecosystems, supports our climate change goals and makes parks more accessible for everyone to enjoy.”
Scheduled for completion in spring 2021, some of the projects include:
- installing electric vehicle charging stations at popular day-use sites in three parks;
- upgrades to parking lots, drinking water systems and boat launches;
- various upgrades to campgrounds in five provincial parks;
- backcountry improvements, such as new bear caches and trail upgrades; and
- accessibility upgrades, such as new boardwalks and accessible surfacing.
“An investment in our parks is an investment in the people of British Columbia,” said Kelly Greene, Parliamentary Secretary for Environment. “Getting outside is more important than ever, and our government is committed to expanding parks so that all British Columbians can enjoy the beautiful natural landscape of our province.”
The funding is in addition to about $18 million in annual capital investments in BC Parks, which is dedicated to protecting the province’s diverse natural places for world-class outdoor recreation, conservation, education and scientific study.
“We are celebrating this investment in BC Parks, which will have far-reaching benefits for people and nature,” said Annita Mcphee, executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, B.C. chapter. “Keeping parks accessible and sustainably supported will create a more welcoming parks system, building healthy communities and future nature stewards.”
This announcement is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC: BC's Economic Recovery Plan, to protect people’s health and livelihoods, while supporting businesses and communities.
- B.C.’s provincial parks receive more than 23 million visits each year.
- One of the largest park systems in North America, B.C. has more than 1,000 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base.
- Parks and protected areas are dedicated to preserving the natural environment. Places of special ecological importance are designated as ecological reserves for scientific research and educational purposes.
- Approximately 98% of the parks and protected areas system remains largely undeveloped. The remaining 2% has been developed with a visitor-use focus and includes facilities such as campgrounds, day-use facilities, trails, boat launches, buildings, roads and parking lots.
- During the last three years, 1,205 new campsites have been added to provincial parks and recreation sites throughout the province. A new fully serviced, 90-site campground in Manning Park is under construction and set to open in the spring.
For more information about BC Parks, visit: http://bcparks.ca/?v=202010151450
For more information about StrongerBC, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/
A backgrounder follows.