BC Parks’ combined operating and capital budgets will increase by more than $83 million over the next three years, the provincial government announced Friday.
This investment will be put primarily towards new campsites, expanded trails and strengthened management of the park system, according to the Ministry of Environment.
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“It’s absolutely clear how deeply people care about our provincial parks,” said BC Environment Minister George Heyman. “The pandemic has brought more people than ever to visit BC Parks, [and] investing in our parks helps secure our magnificent natural legacy so more British Columbians can appreciate its beauty.”
From 2014 to 2019, BC Parks experienced a 23% increase in visitors throughout the province and had another record-breaking year for camping reservations with more than 270,000 made in 2020.
In response to the increased demand for camping and outdoor recreation opportunities, the additional funding will go toward construction of new campgrounds, more campsites and amenities at existing campgrounds.
The funding will also be used to enhance trails and improve accessibility for people who use wheelchairs, strollers or have other accessibility challenges, as well as support “high-priority” maintenance projects and renovations to existing facilities, additional staff and equipment, and improvements to backcountry facilities.
For this season, approximately 185 sites are being added to BC Parks, expanding on the over 1,500 sites that have been added to BC Parks and recreational sites since 2017.
One of the largest park systems in North America, BC has more than 1,000 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves, and protected areas covering approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base. BC Parks receive over 23 million visits each year.