Have you visited our provincial parks lately and noticed any of the following?
- – Broken, missing or vandalized signage
- – Missing or damaged trail markers
- – Trail braiding, exposed roots, broken or missing boardwalk slats
- – Bridges in need of repair or closed due to damage
- – Poorly maintained campground facilities
- – Ecological damage from lack of monitoring
- – Excessive litter or dumping of larger refuse
- – Motorized off-road vehicles (snowmobiles, ATVs, dirt bikes, etc.) playing in our parks
- – Overflowing parking lots
Well if you have we need your help. We want to document these issues because we believe that it’s due to a lack of funding that we’re seeing our parks looking less and less at their best.
Why has this happened? It seems that our parks just haven’t been a priority when it comes to budgeting our provincial dollars. This is unfortunate because our provincial parks are actually a very good investment for BC. For each $1.00 invested in our parks, visitors spend around $8.40 on food, entertainment, transportation and other goods and services. Source: BC Parks Annual Report 2014 – 2015, page 38
Add to this the fact that between 1988 and 2011, our provincial park system has more than doubled in size going from 6.5 million hectares to 13.5 million hectares. That is a lot of parks and protected lands which require a lot of work and dollars to maintain. Source: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/events/history/
The reality is that an operational budget of 31 million per year is not enough to effectively maintain such a large area and we’re not the only ones who think so. Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC and the Wilderness Committee have all been campaigning for increased funding for BC Parks.
In addition, in 2015, the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services recommended increasing funding for BC Parks in their Report on 2016 Budget Consultations. Their recommendation #30 on page 54 from the report reads: “Increase funding for BC Parks and protected areas management, maintenance and provide more park rangers.”
So a lot of British Columbians are on board with increasing funding for BC Parks – we just need to make sure our leaders make it a priority for the next budget.
Here’s how you can help
- Step 1: Go for a hike in one of our provincial parks – that’s fun anyways.
- Step 2: Keep an eye out for the issues we’re talking about or others you see and snap some pics for us.
- Step 3: Share those photos with us by emailing them to email@example.com and/or tagging them on Twitter with #fundbcparks. Be sure to let us know which park you were visiting.
Your photos are going to help us tell the story of how our parks are falling down and the effect it’s having on user access and experience.
Additional Articles/References on the BC Parks funding situation
- Outdoor Recreation Council of BC’s Fact page on BC Parks: http://www.orcbc.ca/pro_bcparks.htm
- CPAWS “Stand Up for Parks” Campaign page: http://cpawsbc.org/campaigns/provincialparks
- Outdoor Recreation Council’s 2015 submission to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services: https://gallery.mailchimp.com/686385416003dd0ba3cacf8ab/files/ORC_Submission_to_Select_Standing_Committee.pdf
- BC Park’ Endangered Rangers: http://www.watershedsentinel.ca/content/bc-parks-endangered-rangers
- BC Parks More than Just a Pretty Place: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/bcparks.pdf
- Friends of Cypress Provincial Park: http://www.straight.com/article-213897/katharine-steig-cypress-provincial-park-needs-help-province-private-sector