BC’s Parks Remain at Risk: CPAWS Report


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 13, 2015

BC’s Parks Remain at Risk: CPAWS Report

Vancouver, B.C. – In its latest annual report released in advance of Canada’s Parks Day, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is calling Canada out for falling behind most other countries in meeting its international commitment to protect at least 17% of its land and fresh water by 2020 in well-managed, ecologically representative and well-connected protected areas.

This year’s report, “Protecting Canada: Is it in our nature?” finds that while B.C. has about 15% of its land base protected, this progress towards Canada’s international commitment is undermined by amendments made to the Parks Act in 2014 that allow industrial research in parks, and boundary changes being made to accommodate pipelines and logging. 

“The concerns we expressed last year are playing out as predicted, with multiple parks being considered for boundary changes in order to accommodate industrial activities such as pipelines and logging,” says Peter Wood, Director of Terrestrial Campaigns for CPAWS-BC.

“In the past year, park boundary adjustments have been proposed for over two dozen provincial parks, including popular destinations like Bridal Veil Falls, Sasquatch, and Kalamalka Lake Provincial Parks, to make way for natural gas pipelines, logging roads, the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion, and access to private cottages,” says Wood.

“It’s insulting to require the citizens of B.C. to have to repeatedly defend the parks they love against developers, when these proposals are clearly inconsistent with maintaining park values. These boundary changes undermine the fundamental principle that parks are to be protected forever,” adds Wood.

CPAWS remains very concerned that the park boundary adjustment process is currently left in the hands of the developer that is requesting the adjustment.

“We are calling upon the Government of B.C. to restore integrity to the Parks Act, and reform the park boundary adjustment process. We believe that an independent body should be established to consider proposals and dismiss them if they are inconsistent with maintaining park values and ecological integrity,” adds Wood.

In addition to concerns about maintaining ecological integrity in parks, CPAWS’ report also notes that B.C.’s parks system suffers from chronic underfunding, has failed to protect rare ecosystems, and that there is no current protected areas plan.
CPAWS calculates that if existing opportunities for creating new protected areas were implemented, including proposed national parks in the South Okanagan-Similkameen, the Flathead Valley, and Northern B.C. (Parks Canada’s Region 7), Canada could meet its obligation to reach 17% protection by 2020.

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View the executive summary here.

View the full report here.

For interviews, contact:
Peter Wood, Director of Terrestrial Campaigns, CPAWS-BC
peter@cpawsbc.org
(604) 761-3075