Increased protection for diverse wildlife habitat, wetlands and bolstering the natural legacy of existing parks are all parts of strategic land additions to strengthen B.C.’s system of parks and protected areas.
Legislation has been introduced to expand the parks and protected areas system, contributing to existing ecosystem conservation and expanding opportunities for outdoor recreation.
“People’s desire to interact with nature has never been greater. Parks provide the opportunity to connect with nature and strengthen our physical and mental well-being,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We continue to look for opportunities to add ecologically and culturally significant lands to our diverse parks system, and expand opportunities for outdoor recreation.”
The additions, proposed through legislative amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act, include the following lands:
- Naikoon Park (Haida Gwaii): 123 hectares to protect wetlands and sand dunes.
- Blue River Black Spruce Park (near Blue River): 59 hectares to protect a wetland and the ecological integrity of the North Thompson River.
- Edge Hills Park (near Clinton): 50 hectares to enhance wildlife connectivity and protection of the Fraser River bluffs.
- Valhalla Park (near Slocan): 32 hectares to improve connectivity across the park.
- Okanagan Mountain Park (near Kelowna): 21 hectares to enhance wildlife connectivity and species protection, along with the addition of the Golden Mile Trail for recreation.
- Hole-in-the-Wall Park (near Chetwynd): 14 hectares to protect the culturally significant stream appearing from the base of a limestone cliff, which is known as the Hole-in-the-Wall.
- Gladstone Park (near Christina Lake): six hectares to add additional shorefront lands on the north end of Christina Lake, which is an important kokanee spawning area.
- Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park (near Kaslo) 18 hectares to increase connectivity in the park that includes habitat for mule deer and grizzly bears.
To further protect lake values, 27 hectares of lake foreshore would be added to Christina Lake Park, Kootenay Lake Park, Gladstone Park and Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park.
Boundary modifications to correct administrative errors and address safety issues would also be made at Burnt Cabin Bog Ecological Reserve, Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve, West Arm Park and Omineca Park.
This continues the Province’s efforts to enhance protection of wildlife habitat, better reflect Indigenous Peoples’ history and cultures in parks for a deeper understanding of connection to the land, and create more opportunities for camping and outdoor recreation.
During the past four years, more than 1,700 campsites have been added to provincial parks and recreation sites, including the new Skyview Campground in E.C. Manning Park, which has 62 fully serviced campsites available in winter and 92 sites in summer.
In addition, the Province recently acquired two properties that are intended to be added to the popular Tribune Bay Provincial Park on Hornby Island. The properties include the last remaining beachfront on Tribune Bay and an existing private campground with approximately 135 sites. Campground improvements and the potential for walk-in sites catering to active transportation, like cycle touring, hiking or kayaking, will be informed through consultation with First Nations and input from stakeholders.
- Since the establishment of the first provincial park in 1911 (Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island), B.C.’s parks and protected areas system has grown to cover more than 14 million hectares or approximately 14.4% of the province.
- Through the BC Parks Land Acquisition Program, the Province acquires land each year to be added to parks and protected areas. The acquisitions are often augmented by partnerships with conservation groups, individual donors and corporations.
- In 2020-21, the Province acquired more than 229 hectares of land for $2.4 million.
- Amendments to the act are required to add new land to parks and conservancies, modify or correct boundaries, and improve boundary descriptions.
For more information about BC Parks, visit: www.bcparks.ca
For more information about the BC Parks Land Acquisition Program, visit: https://bcparks.ca/partnerships/landAcquisition.html