People are getting back to work by improving access to nature and building infrastructure in B.C.’s provincial parks as part of StrongerBC: BC's Economic Recovery Plan.
The Province is investing $5 million for infrastructure projects in 24 provincial parks, including MacMillan, Loveland Bay, Rathtrevor Beach and Maquinna Marine.
“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.”
Located near Campbell River, the 31 campsites at Loveland Bay Provincial Park are being upgraded with new tables, fire rings and fresh gravel surfacing. The project also involves a reconstructed beach area with picnic tables and wheelchair accessible ramps, expanded parking areas and two new pathways connecting the campsites to the beach, dock and boat launch facilities. An additional 22 campsites, including three walk-in sites, are being added as part of the ongoing campsite expansion program.
To increase accessibility and improve visitor experience, the day-use parking lot at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is being paved. At Maquinna Marine Provincial Park and Protected area, located northwest of Tofino, a portion of the boardwalk trail and stairs are being replaced. Winding through an old-growth forest, the boardwalk protects sensitive habitat with the trail ending at the park’s natural hot spring pools. The project is being done in partnership with the Ahousaht First Nation, providing work experience, mentorship and jobs for the local community.
“Our provincial parks on Vancouver Island are among the natural treasures of our province and one of the greatest things about living here,” said Adam Walker, MLA for Parksville-Qualicum. “Rathtrevor Beach is one of the premier vacation destinations on Vancouver Island, with campsites, showers, beach access and many walking trails in the day-use area all wheelchair accessible. This project increases accessibility so everyone can enjoy this beautiful area.”
Other infrastructure projects throughout the province include upgrades to water systems, parking lots, multi-use trails, campground facilities, backcountry facilities and accessibility improvements. Electric vehicle charging stations will also be added to some day-use areas in northwest B.C. The projects are scheduled for completion next spring.
This announcement is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response, which includes StrongerBC, a plan that protects 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/