Successes

The following wild places gained significant protection or took leaps forward in recent years thanks to the work and contribution of CPAWS-BC supporters.

2016

  • The Hecate Strait and Queen Charlotte Sound Glass Sponge Reefs were designated as a Mission Blue Hope Spot. Hope Spots are “special places that are critical to the health of the ocean” and are particularly deserving of protection. The reefs were one of just 14 sites around the world chosen for this special recognition.
  • Our glass sponge Mr. Stinky got to meet Minister of Fisheries Oceans and Canadian Coastguard Dominic LeBlanc in August as part of a special envoy of conservationists to stress the importance of a well-planned network of MPAs that is designed with conservation as its first priority.
  • Launched a brand new, visually striking website about the glass sponge reefs (www.glassspongereefs.com). To mark the launch of the website we hosted a wildly successful special event at Science World featuring a panel of the world’s leading glass sponge experts.
  • CPAWS and the Marine Conservation Institute celebrated a successful symposium on MPA progress in Canada, Mexico, and the USA at the 4th International Marine Conservation Congress (Aug/Sep). We convened an expert panel to explore the successes, failures and opportunities for marine protection in North America and worldwide with a packed audience of scientists, conservationists, and decision-makers.
  • In June, our Oceans Report “Dare to be Deep: SeaStates Report on North America’s MPAs” found that North America has a long way to go to meet international MPA targets, and that Canada was furthest behind. This was the first joint conservation assessment of MPA progress in Canada, Mexico, and USA. To launch the report we hosted a reception on Parliament Hill, attended by the Minister of Fisheries Oceans and Canadian Coastguard and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada.
  • Partnered with David Suzuki Foundation to present a film screening of the Great Bear Sea: Reflecting on the Past, Planning for the Future at Science World, followed by a discussion about how we can create a secure future for our coastal waters, and a Q&A with an expert panel. 

2015

  • Mobilized over 1200 supporters to provide input to the government and BC Parks on proposed areas of the establishment of the South Okanagan-Similkameen national park (summary report of feedback expected by early summer 2016); completed a community-based mapping project of recreational trails in the proposed park area
  • Organized the 4th annual Flathead bioblitz: hosted 23 scientists, local volunteers and media to survey three conservation properties within the proposed areas, engaging and reaching over 11,300 people on social media, and coordinated two Flathead En Plein Air Art Exhibit displays
  • Attracted formal support for the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Recovery Project from key First Nations and municipalities in the region.
  • Published a report on the impacts of proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipelines in northern B.C. on key wilderness values, calling for a need to evaluate cumulative impacts. Contributed to CPAWS’ annual parks report in July 2015, highlighting how major weaknesses introduced via  legislation in 2014 have enabled industrial activity in provincial parks. Published annual caribou report in December 2014, comparing progress between provinces and territories on recovery efforts for boreal woodland caribou – highlighted B.C.’s lack of progress. 
  • Completed a Climate Change Vulnerability and Risk Assessment for the Takla Lake First Nation’s traditional territory, and developed recommendations for land use plan.
  • Secured protection of 9 glass sponge reefs in the Strait of Georgia and Howe Sound, closing them to all bottom contact fishing activities with a 150 metre buffer.
  • The Draft Regulations for the proposed Hecate Strait Glass sponge reefs were released for public comment. The regulations allowed potentially harmful activities to occur around the reefs so CPAWS launched an outreach campaign to get people to ask for stronger protection of the reefs. The outreach campaign garnered widespread, international media coverage including several interviews on TV, resulting in about 2000 responses via the CPAWS website and a letter from 40 leading international scientists.
  • Produced the CPAWS annual oceans report, which garnered huge media attention with 135 online and print articles. It was featured on Global BC TV and CBC The National and subsequently quoted in the Liberal Party environment platform.
  • In Spring CPAWS joined the BC Government and 18 coastal First Nations in Victoria to celebrate the signing of world-leading Marine Use Plans for the Pacific North Coast region of BC developed by the Marine Planning Partnership (MaPP).  CPAWS participated as a stakeholder throughout the planning process and sat on the Haida Gwaii Marine Advisory Committee. The plans represent a new approach to managing our ocean resources sustainably.
  • Oceans Programs Director Sabine Jessen was appointed to the Gwaii Haanas Advisory Committee to develop the final “Land-Sea-People Management Plan” for the National Park and National Marine Conservation Area.
  • Two SeaChoice major retailers (Canada Safeway and Buy-low Foods) with 2015 time-bound commitments met their goal to not sell avoid (red) listed fresh and frozen products.
  • Hosted the 5th Get Outside BC in Squamish bringing together 31 youth from all over BC.
  • Held two Take Back the Wild summits in Tofino and Johnsons Landing, offering hands-on training for 36 young leaders aged 17-30 from across BC in engaging and connecting local communities in conservation efforts, adding to the ranks of 95 young leaders since 2012.
  • Mobilized 300 people to get outdoors and run on trails for MEC Big Wild Challenges in parks in Victoria and North Vancouver, raising more than $20,000 for wilderness protection in BC
  • Hosted the inaugural Go Wild Dodgeball Tournament and the first Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Vancouver: brought festival to play “under the stars” to increase and inspire the groundswell for environmental movement in the community; sold out inaugural event with a turnout of 200 people.

2014

  • Voluntary fishing closures were put in place for the nine glass sponge reefs in the Strait of Georgia and included 200 metre buffers around the reefs. We are in the process of negotiations with DFO and other stakeholders for full legal fishing 2losures for the reefs, and are expecting an announcement in early 2015.
  • In September, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) passed a resolution to ask the provincial government to re-engage with the Government of Canada in formal discussions regarding the proposed South Okanagan National Park Reserve. Later, the provincial Finances Committee also recommended in their 2015 Budgets Report that the BC government work with the federal government and local stakeholders to establish a national park in the area.
  • After more than two years of representing the conservation sector on the Haida Gwaii Regional Marine Advisory Committee the draft marine-use plan was released in spring 2014. The Haida Gwaii plan included the largest percentage of area in protection management zones and the largest percentage of highly protected areas. 
  • Our outreach programs are constantly expanding, getting more people aware of and involved with the great outdoors. In 2014, we had 26 youth participants for Get Outside BC, 15 Wild Ambassadors from various regions of South Coast, Vancouver Island, Northern BC, Kootneys, Okanagan, and Thompson - Caribou.
  • SeaChoice’s partnership helped Buy-low Foods reduce their red-listed seafood supply from 18% to 12%, and Canada Safeway to introduce the closed containment Kuterra Salmon to their shelves as a more sustainable option for farmed salmon and to test a pilot seafood labeling improvement project to improve transparency for sustainable seafood purchasing.
  • CPAWS-BC created a film to promote the South Okanagan Similkameen National Park campaign with the help from students from the Vancouver Film School. The film took stock of the various entities (local governments, business associations, First Nations) that have passed motions in support of getting the province re-engaged in the national park process by including perspectives from grasslands ecologists, eco-tourism operators, local residents, and others. It had a great turnout at its premiere at the Meadowlark Nature Festival.
  • The Protect the Great Bear Sea campaign, run in collaboration with the David Suzuki Foundation, Living Oceans Society, and WWF, gathered more than 21,000 signatures asking the provincial government to ratify and implement the marine plans.
  • Our Terrestrial team took part in a Bioblitz in the Flathead River Valley and identified endangered bats within.
  • With the rapid increase of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and corresponding pipelines and plants development in BC, we generated and published a report on the cumulative impacts of LNG on parks, wilderness, and wildlife. 
  • Attended the World Parks Congress, held once every ten years, where our Oceans Program Director Sabine Jessen represented CPAWS on an expert panel to speak about Marine Planned Areas (MPA) as tools for food security.
  • We worked with ENGO partners on our Stand Up For Parks campaign to keep industry out of provincial parks and protected areas – delivered petition of over 167,000 signatures to provincial government calling for a repeal of changes made to Parks Act.
  • CPAWS-BC was granted intervenor status in Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline expansion consultation, working with ENGO partners on legal aspect of park use permits issued to KM before the Park Amendment Act changes made it legal – KM voluntarily surrendered the permit in November.
  • Our teams attended and partook in over 35 outreach events in BC, including Coho Fest, Science World, and MEC Snowfest. Over 600 hours of volunteer time were donated to CPAWS in raising awareness to environmental issues, canvassing signatures for petitions, and getting people outside and active..

2013

  • In October CPAWS-BC hosted the Sea of Glass submarine expedition to BC's glass sponge reefs with the aim of raising public awareness about the glass sponge reefs and the need to protect them. VIP guests included Global BC news anchor Chris Gailus, Juno Award winning musician Dan Mangan and BC Minister for Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens' Services Hon. Andrew Wilkinson, MLA. The event was a great success recieving international media attention including National Geographic, Global BC TV breakfast and evening news, The Vancouver Sun, CBC, and 14 other media outlets across Canada. 
  • In September CPAWS-BC hosted the second Take Back the Wild Conservation Leadership Training Program in Prince Rupert. 13 youth from B.C.'s north were connected and trained to work on environmental issues facing their communities.
  • More than 1,000 people entered the competition to win a seat on the submarine dives to the glass sponge reefs.
  • Over 4,000 pledged their support for our I Love Parks and Caribou and You pledges.
  • CPAWS-BC joined and launched the Coast to Cascades Grizzly Bear Initiative, showing support for the recovery of threatened grizzly bear populations in southwest British Columbia.
  • The Okanagan Nation Alliance announces their support for a national park reserve in the South Okanagan Similkameen as the grassroots movement continues to grow with business and tourism support increasing as well.
  • Data released from the first Flathead Bioblitz includes the discovery of a rare spider. The 2nd Bioblitz is conducted in July.
  • Get Outside BC runs for the third year in BC, inspiring over 1,000 youth to unplug and have fun outdoors. The program spreads to both Ontario and New Brunswick for the first time.
  • CPAWS-BC supported the Takla Lake First Nation in the first steps of developing a climate change vulnerability assessment for their territory.
  • CPAWS-BC continued to monitor threats facing B.C.'s northern landscapes including proposed pipelines through Khutzeymateen. We are relieved that TransCanada Corp.'s pipeline has been rerouted away from Khutzeymateen.
  • CPAWS celebrates 50 years of conservation successes as Canada's voice for wilderness.

2012

  • CPAWS-BC celebrates 20 years of conservation successes as a non-profit organization.
  • On January 25, 2012, the Premier along with Dave Porter, Grand Chief of the Kaska Nation, announced the creation of a new protected area, Ne’ah’, and special management area, ‘Gu Cha Duga Zone'. Gu Cha Duga means "for the grandchildren" in a Kaska Dene dialect. The protected area and special management area total 600,000 hectares.
  • Get Outside BC launches for the second year, increasing the number of youth leaders from 14 to 18 years of age around the province.
  • South Okanagan Similkameen feasibility study released by Province of B.C. which concludes that a national park reserve in the South Okanagan-Similkameen should be established.
  • Take Back the Wild, a training program for 18 to 30 year olds, launches with 25 participants in attendance as the first stage of a new initiative to identify, connect and engage a new generation of conservation leaders.

2011

  • Flathead Watershed Area Conservation Act received royal assent in the B.C. Legislative Assembly to ensure no mining and energy development.
  • Federal and provincial governments committed to the establishment of a National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) in the Southern Strait of Georgia.
  • Shanker’s Dam, the controversial Washington State dam proposal that would have flooded part of the Similkameen Valley, will not go ahead.
  • Get Outside BC, a project aimed at strengthening youth attachment to British Columbia’s wilderness, completed its successful pilot year.
  • SeaChoice Canada celebrated its fifth anniversary, marking 5 years of helping Canadian consumers and businesses make responsible seafood choices.
  • Atlin-Taku land use plan released: Taku River Tlingit and the B.C. government signed a land-use plan that allows for 13 new protected areas totaling over 500,000 hectares (1.3 million acres).
  • CPAWS brought together 14 leading marine scientists to author and release Science-based Guidelines for Marine Protected Areas in Canada.

2010

  • "Dare to be Deep" tour: historic seven-city tour ushering in a new era of conservation in Canada - the protection of marine riches with CPAWS and the Haida Nation.
  • Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve (NMCA) and Haida Heritage Site were approved by the House of Commons and Senate Committees.
  • Twenty-one member companies of the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) and nine leading environmental groups, including CPAWS, unveiled an unprecedented agreement that applies to 72 million hectares of public forests licensed to FPAC members.
  • B.C.’s Glass Sponge Reefs were declared an “Area of Interest” for a future Marine Protected Area by the federal government.
  • Kaska Nation and the B.C. government drafted a plan to protect over 200,000 hectares on and around the Ne’ah’/Horseranch Range as part of a larger land use planning initiative in the Dease-Liard region of north-central B.C.
  • In February, just in time for the Olympics in Vancouver, the B.C. government and Montana government signed a memorandum of understanding to ban mining in the Flathead Valley.
  • In June, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper noted the signing of the memorandum of understanding at the G20 Summit, and discussed how both federal governments, the B.C. government and the Montana government could work together to help ensure the long-term protection of the Flathead River Basin.

2009

  • Legislated closures under B.C.'s Mountain Caribou Recovery Implementation Plan put over two million hectare off limits for logging and road building.

2008

  • CPAWS helps to establish the Sgaan Kinghlas Bowie Seamount Marine Protected Area which protects the rich and unique biodiversity of offshore submarine volcanes.

2007

  • The Scott Islands, a globally important archipelago for migrating seabirds, is announced as a candidate for a Marine National Wildlife Area.

2006

  • SeaChoice, Canada's most comprehensive sustainable seafood program, is launched in partnership with four other organizations.

2003

  • The Gulf Islands National Park is legally designated.
  • Endeavour Hydrothermal Vents is designated as Canada's first Marine Protected Area.

2002

  • CPAWS helps to get the National Marine Conservation Areas Act passed in Parliament.

1998

  • The federal and provincial government release a draft Pacific Marine Protected Areas strategy and identify a number of pilot MPA projects.

1997

  • CPAWS helps to found the Yellowstone to Yukon Initiative.

1992

  • CPAWS-BC officially becomes a B.C. non-profit and opens an office with staff.

1990s

  • CPAWS' involvement in land-use plans leads to the establishment of hundreds of new provincial parks and a doubling of protected areas.

1980s

  • CPAWS is involved in campaigns to establish the Akamina-Kishinea Provincial Park, the Nitinat Triangle and the Wildreness Advisory Committee.

1973

  • CPAWS-BC chapter is founded by volunteers.

1963

  • CPAWS is founded nationally as Canada's voice for wildreness.