VICTORIA - Families looking to get out of town this long weekend can tap into their inner explorer with BC Parks. With more than 1,030 provincial parks and protected areas to explore, there's an adventure waiting for everyone.
Kids of all ages can take Jerry's Promise in the BC Parks Passport. Jerry the Moose, BC Parks' mascot, helps park visitors learn about ways they can keep parks healthy for all to enjoy now and into the future. The free BC Parks Passport is one way to explore and learn more about British Columbia's parks system.
Collect six stamps at over 200 participating provincial parks to earn a collectible prize, and six stickers from a BC Visitor Centre to earn another treasure. Passports also include advice on trip-planning and Visitor Centre coupons, and can be picked up at any visitor centre in B.C. and most provincial parks.
Passport holders who attend a Learn to Fish program are also eligible to collect a starter fishing tackle gift, which can be collected from a Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC visitor centre. The free Learn to Fish program introduces youth and their families to recreational sport fishing. Offered at many BC Parks around the province in July and August and delivered by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, Learn to Fish has a strong focus on conservation and increasing environmental awareness.
Almost 20 million people visit BC Parks each year, and camping reservations in BC Parks are up 14 per cent this year to-date, with 74,174 reservations compared to 65,119 reservations during the same period in 2012.
There are over 5,000 reservable sites in 95 provincial parks throughout B.C. Up to three reservations can be made online in one easy transaction through Discover Camping, the Province's camping reservation service. Many BC Parks still offer first-come, first-served campsites for visitors without reservations.
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment -
"With school just out, families are gearing up for their summer vacations. Many of these vacations include trips to BC Parks. With so much to see and do in our own backyard and beyond, children of all ages will find fun in BC Parks this summer."
Mike Gass, outreach co-ordinator, Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC -
"We are very pleased to be offering our Learn to Fish program again in many BC Parks. By teaching the basics, like how to choose the right equipment, how to identify different freshwater fish and how to fish responsibly, we hope to increase conservation awareness and, ultimately, instil a lifelong sense of stewardship of British Columbia's natural resources."
- Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC is a private, non-profit society that works with the Province to enhance and conserve B.C.'s freshwater fisheries resources.
- Discover Camping can be accessed by mobile devices at: https://secure.camis.com/BCMobile
- Camping reservations can also be made through the call centre at 1 800 689-9025 for a surcharge of $5 (plus tax).
- Parking fees were eliminated at provincial parks in 2011, making them more accessible to B.C. families.
For more information about the BC Parks Passport, including participating locations, visit: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/events/passport/
For more information on the Learn to Fish program, visit: www.gofishbc.com
To make a camping reservation, visit the Discover Camping website at: www.discovercamping.ca
For more information about B.C.'s provincial parks, visit: www.bcparks.ca
Connect with BC Parks on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/YourBCParks
Ministry of Environment