BC Parks Additions Strengthen Protection of Wildlife Habitat and Ecosystems
CANADA, February 10 – Increased protection of diverse wildlife habitats, wetlands and strengthening the natural heritage of existing parks are all part of strategic land additions aimed at strengthening the network of parks and protected areas in British Columbia.
Legislation has been introduced to expand the system of parks and protected areas, helping to conserve the existing ecosystem 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 enhance our physical and mental well-being,” said George Heyman, Minister for Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “We continue to seek opportunities to add ecologically and culturally significant lands to our diverse network of parks and expand outdoor recreation opportunities. »
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 improve wildlife connectivity and protection of Fraser River cliffs.
- Valhalla Park (near Slocan): 32 hectares to improve connectivity across the park.
- Okanagan Mountains Park (near Kelowna): 21 hectares to improve wildlife connectivity and species protection, as well as 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 at the base of a limestone cliff, known as the Hole-in-the-Wall.
- Gladstone Park (near Christina Lake): six hectares to add additional riparian land at the north end of Christina Lake, which is an important kokanee spawning area.
- Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park (near Kaslo) 18 hectares to increase connectivity within the park which includes habitat for mule deer and grizzly bears.
To further protect lake values, 27 hectares of foreshore would be added to Christina Lake Park, Kootenay Lake Park, Gladstone Park and Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park.
Boundary changes 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 is a continuation of the province’s efforts to improve wildlife habitat protection, better reflect the history and cultures of Indigenous peoples in parks to better understand the connection to the land and create more opportunities camping and outdoor recreation.
Over the past four years, more than 1,700 campsites have been added to provincial parks and recreation sites, including the new Skyview Campground in EC Manning Park, which has 62 fully equipped campsites available in winter and 92 sites in summer.
In addition, the province recently acquired two properties that will 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. Improvements to campgrounds and the potential for walk-in sites for active transportation, such as bicycle touring, hiking or kayaking, will be informed through First Nations consultation and stakeholder input.
- Since the establishment of the first provincial park in 1911 (Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island), British Columbia’s system of parks and protected areas has grown to cover more than 14 million hectares or approximately 14 .4% of the province.
- Through BC Parks’ land acquisition program, the province acquires land each year that will be added to parks and protected areas. Acquisitions are often complemented by partnerships with conservation groups, individual donors and corporations.
- In 2020-21, the province acquired over 229 hectares of land for $2.4 million.
- Amendments to the law are needed to add new lands to parks and reserves, change or correct boundaries, and improve boundary descriptions.
For more information about BC Parks, visit: www.bcparks.ca
For more information on the BC Parks Land Acquisition Program, visit: https://bcparks.ca/partnerships/landAcquisition.html