Historic budget lift sets bright path for parks and recreation in BC
April 16, 2021, Unceded Coast Salish Territory / Vancouver, BC – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – British Columbia (CPAWS-BC) is applauding the BC government’s announcement today of a new $80 million investment into BC’s provincial parks over the next three years. This represents a historic budget increase that’s been overdue for decades.
“After 20 years of fighting for this, we’re thrilled to finally see an investment of this magnitude for our provincial parks,” says Tori Ball, Senior Campaigner with CPAWS-BC. “This leap in budget funding will go a long way in helping BC Parks to refocus on protecting important landscapes and ecosystems and supporting them to better meet the needs of British Columbians wanting to spend more time in these special places.”
Today’s budget announcement is the most recent and sizable upgrade to the BC Parks system. It comes on the heels of an announcement earlier this week creating hundreds of new conservation and park jobs for youth. BC Parks has received necessary increases for staffing, infrastructure, and park upkeep over the last year to manage pandemic-related demand. The BC government plans to inject additional funding over the next three years:
- $36 million planned for operations
- $47 million in capital investments
“Investing in BC’s parks is also a welcome boost to tourism – the sector hardest hit by the pandemic,” adds Ball. “More money for BC Parks means more jobs in remote and rural communities, and in the long term will serve to support natural climate solutions that will help stem the global biodiversity crisis.”
CPAWS-BC and its partners have been campaigning for bold budget upgrades for BC Parks for many years. As parks and other outdoor spaces continue to experience record high visitation through the pandemic, this announcement signals a turning point for BC Parks and can be widely celebrated as a long-overdue boost to upgrade visitor infrastructure, increase staffing in parks, and expand protected areas.
For interviews, please contact:
Tori Ball, Senior Campaigner
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, BC Chapter
(604) 685-7445 x24
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – British Columbia (CPAWS-BC) is part of one of Canada’s oldest non-profit conservation groups. We protect wilderness in every corner of BC and deep into the ocean. We have been defending BC since 1978 and are dedicated to keeping BC’s natural environment thriving forever. Nature is BC’s best hope.
Visit: cpawsbc.org. | Follow: @CPAWSbc
- BC’s provincial parks welcome over 23 million visitors each year. However, decades of underfunding have created significant gaps in the system. A surge in outdoor recreation through the pandemic put further pressure on staffing, park expansion, trail building, and visitor facility upgrades.
- Canadian public health officials strongly recommend outdoor recreation to alleviate lockdown blues. However, lack of funding and staffing resulted in complete park closures in Spring 2020 during the pandemic’s early days.
- In October 2020, Premier Horgan announced a strong parks-focused mandate letter to Environment Minister George Heyman and Parliamentary Secretary of Environment Kelly Greene. This budget provides necessary resources to deliver on this mandate of expanding campgrounds, trails and protected areas.
- CPAWS-BC, alongside partner organizations, including tourism associations, recreation organizations, and labor unions, has been campaigning for bold budget upgrades for BC Parks for many years to increase staffing and improve park infrastructure and visitor facilities.
For more information: Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy News Release