New report outlines path forward to combat extinction crisis

Vancouver, BC – Today, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) released its annual parks report, outlining the path forward to deliver on Canada’s commitments to safeguard biodiversity. Provinces and territories recently signed onto a Canada-wide declaration to improve networks of protected areas.

This year’s report, What’s Next: Parks and Protected Areas to 2020 and Beyond, provides a trailmap for governments to meet international conservation targets and prevent extinction of species by protecting key habitat.

“Large, high quality connected areas that limit industrial activity are critical for species to continue to exist – and thrive – in our rapidly changing environment,” said Bruce Passmore, Executive Director of CPAWS-BC.

“Improving our network of protected areas is entirely within our reach, and is something we know British Columbians already support,” said Passmore.

In the past, BC has been a leader in Canada on protected areas. While BC’s park system is currently plagued by underfunding and overcrowding, significant resources are available from the federal government to support protected area expansion work. BC is well-positioned to lead by example and go beyond short-term political commitments to truly meet the needs of nature.

“The BC government has the opportunity to demonstrate true leadership on safeguarding biodiversity,” said Passmore. “They can build on the momentum of current efforts, like the work underway to establish Canada’s newest national park reserve in the South Okanagan.”

“The window of opportunity right now is wide open for the province to work with Indigenous governments and community partners to protect BC’s biodiversity,” said Passmore. “By improving our protected areas system, we can safeguard habitat for endangered species, along with clean air and clean water, while building up rural economies and sustainable livelihoods.”

CPAWS-BC is recommending that the province prioritize landscape-level land use planning, focused on sustaining resilient natural systems and healthy communities in the face of a changing climate. Additional recommendations from the report focus on supporting Indigenous-led conservation, and habitat protections for species at risk.

Read the full report:

For interviews, contact:
Bruce Passmore – Executive Director, CPAWS-BC
(604) 685-7445 x23