Camping in Strathcona Provincial Park, one of the province’s oldest protected areas. (File)

Camping in Strathcona Provincial Park, one of the province’s oldest protected areas. (File)

Staycations: Survey finds parks provide local getaways despite pandemic

BC Parks visitation increasing while operating budget to be reduced

A new survey from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS-BC) suggests British Columbians are visiting provincial parks more than ever before.

According to Google mobility data, this was one of the busiest summers on record for BC Parks with a visitation increase up to 200 per cent.

“People are visiting parks more than they ever have and are spending money in local communities when they visit,” said Tori Ball, terrestrial campaigner with CPAWS-BC.

READ MORE: COVID-19 controls tightened as cases rise and possible second wave looms

Approximately 80 per cent of respondents to the survey agreed that tourism to B.C’s provincial parks plays an important role in local economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50 per cent of people said they spent more than $100 in or around a provincial park on a recent trip.

The majority of respondents at 70 per cent said they were likely to travel only within B.C. for the next 12 months.

Almost 90 per cent said they were more or as likely to travel to provincial parks compared to last year.

“We’re already experiencing the consequences of an overburdened park system, with overcrowded trails and campsites being the new norm. This is really frustrating for people trying to follow provincial health orders by spending more time outside and close to home, who are unable to get a day-use pass or camping reservation for their family,” said Ball.

CPAWS-BC is calling for an increase for funding to BC Parks.

READ MORE: BC Parks considering a day-use pass system for popular locations to avoid overcrowding

“The public health benefits of parks are widely recognized at this point, and the economic returns from investing in these places are well within reach. Parks need to be part of the solution, and now is the time for the province to cash in on these benefits by reinvesting in parks,” said Ball.

For 2019/20 the operating budget for BC Parks is $41 million and expected to drop to $40 million by next year.

The Federation of Mountain Clubs of British Columbia is asking for a budget increase by $60 million to help with rising visitation, more staff hires and upkeep park infrastructure.

Between 2014 and 2019, visitation to BC Parks increased by 23 per cent.

At 644 provincial parks, B.C. has the third-largest parks system in North America, after Canada’s National Parks and the United States’ National Park Service.

Correction: Previously posted article incorrectly said the Federation of Mountain Clubs of British Columbia is asking for a budget increase to $60 million instead of by $60 million.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com


 

@pointypeak701
liam.harrap@revelstokereview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Environment

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Purcell Wilderness Conservancy is the largest protected area in southeastern B.C. Photo: B.C. Parks
Province adds land to Valhalla and Purcell parks

Both additions enhance the parks’ ecological values, the province says

RCMP responded to a report early Friday morning of a suspect firing a gun at a Salmo home. Photo: Black Press
RCMP arrest woman who fired shots at Salmo home

The woman allegedly discharged a firearm early Friday morning

Nelson is holding a municipal by-election to replace former councillor Brittny Anderson, who resigned in December. Photo: Bill Metcalfe
Nelson by-election nomination deadlines set

Candidacies must be registered between Feb. 9 and Feb. 19

Summit Ski Hill had a delayed start to the season because of warm temperatures. Photo: Summit Ski Hill
Late season start frustrating for Nakusp ski hill

Summit Ski Hill only just opened Jan. 14

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

A COVID-19 outbreak at Vernon's Heritage Square long-term care home has claimed seven people. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Two more COVID-19 deaths at Vernon care home

Heritage Square has now lost seven people due to the outbreak

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government announces creation of B.C.’s first anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Andre Robert won $500,000 through a Lotto Extra ticket on Dec. 23, 2020. Photo: Jeanne d’Arc Allard
Creston resident wins $500k through Lotto ticket

“I was surprised. I wasn’t sure if it was true or not.”

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read