British Columbia’s parks facing growing threats to their ecological health

  • Published on Jul 12 2012 |
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July 12, 2012

For Immediate release:

British Columbia’s parks facing growing threats to their ecological health

Vancouver – In the run-up to Canada Parks Day on the 3rd Saturday in July, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is releasing a sobering report on the growing threats our parks are facing. The report highlights the dangers to our parks due to funding cuts; the loss of science and ecological monitoring capacity; and the growth of inappropriate developments within and adjacent to many current and proposed parks.

“In British Columbia, this discouraging trend is in strong evidence. For example, there is only one park ranger for every 20 parks, which is a shocking inadequacy in enforcement that has directly led to an increase in illegal activities such as poaching,” states Nicola Hill, Executive Director of CPAWS-BC.

“Across the country, the trend is extremely discouraging this year. Parks Canada has been hit hard by funding cuts, leading to the elimination of 638 positions across the country. In turn this means that nearly 30% of the scientists and technicians restoring and monitoring the ecological health of our parks have been fired or reassigned.  The cuts also mean many parks are cutting their seasons shorter, opening the door to inappropriate use of them with no supervision,” says CPAWS National Executive Director Eric Hebert-Daly.

“Not only are our parks facing growing threats to their ecological health from the funding cuts, the tourism community and nearby communities are also facing economic harm.  The government’s own research shows that for every $1 spent on parks, $5 is contributed to Canada’s gross domestic product. Why isn’t the government recognizing the important benefits that result from investing in our parks?” adds Hebert-Daly.

“Here in B.C., we are very concerned that an ever shrinking budget for BC Parks will fail to ensure the long term ecological health of the provincial parks and pose serious risks not only to BC’s diverse and beautiful landscape but also to the safety of its visitors,” warns Hill.

CPAWS has been issuing an annual report on the state of Canada’s parks since 2008. The first report lauded the rate of new parks creation by the federal government that year. Subsequent reports noted the slowdown in parks creation, the need to increase the number of marine protected areas, and some inappropriate developments that were starting to be noted.

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View executive summary and full report 

For interviews contact: Jackie Peat at 604-685-7445 ext 22 or jackie@cpawsbc.org