We received some good news this month for BC Parks! After surveying and collecting public feedback on the provincial government’s 2016 budget earlier this fall, the Legislature’s Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services has recommended increased government funding for BC Parks and protected areas management. You can view the media release and the full report here.

The consultations covered a wide range of topics important to British Columbians, from K-12 education to fiscal policy to the environment. According to the report, parks management emerged as “a predominant area of focus,” with the Outdoor Recreation Council (ORC) leading the charge for increased funding for BC Parks. They also requested “a review of the accounting methods used by BC Parks so that the public can more easily understand funding allotments.”

More than half the feedback received during the consultation period asked for more resources to be put into preserving BC’s parks and protected areas, especially for parks management and maintenance. “Many of these individuals and organizations also placed a spotlight on the need for additional park rangers, highlighting situations where tourism opportunities have been negatively impacted or underutilized, due to the lack of support, care and promotion of British Columbia’s parks.”

The Committee endorsed these suggestions, recognizing the benefit of natural preservation and the potential of the sector for tourism. They therefore recommended that the Legislative Assembly “Increase funding for BC Parks and protected areas management, maintenance and provide more park rangers,” a recommendation we couldn’t possibly support more!

This is only the first step for securing funding for management and maintenance of this province’s protected areas, but it’s a good one. Thank you to everyone who participated in the public hearings, completed the survey, or submitted written feedback. We look forward to seeing some encouraging numbers in the upcoming 2016 Budget, due out in February.