This is a summary of the BC Parks Program Plan that was originally published in 2007 and updated in 2008 with the intention of providing direction, goals and strategies to BC Park management until 2012.
In order to understand the purpose, goals and direction of BC’s provincial parks, it is important to first know the history of BC’s provincial parks. The first land area designated as a park was the Strathcona Park in 1911. Today there are over 900 provincial parks which make up more than 13 million hectares of specially designated lands. In the mid-1960s the focus of parks evolved from a purely tourist value to an integrated system of human use and appreciation and protection of natural systems. The Ecological Reserve Act in 1971 enhanced this direction by creating a new type of park that monitored and directed public use to limit human impacts to the natural settings. By the end of the 20th century the legalities of the park system adapted to include First Nations treaties as a focal part of park management.
Today, over 14% of BC is dedicated as Parks or protected areas. There are now a number of categories under which a protected area can fall under, which dictates the type of management, amount of human use, and extent of research implemented in the area. These include Class A, B, and C Parks; conservancies; recreation areas; ecological reserves; protected areas; and wildlife management areas. The success of all of these areas relies on the support and collaboration between the Ministry of Environment, First Nations, land owners and users, and park facility operators. This Park Program Plan aims to achieve this goal.
There are four main principles constructed for the proper management and construction of BC Parks and protected areas. The first one, enduring public trust, involves the support and collaboration of all the public and First Nations to support and enhance BC Park management practices. Conservation of natural and cultural assets involves maintaining ecological integrity in constantly changing environments and ensuring that public outreach inspires visitors towards environmental and cultural conservation. High quality visitor services ensure that Park visitors receive the best possible experience while enjoying nature in one of BC’s parks or protected areas. Finally, effective management ensures that financial situations of the BC Parks will remain stable so that proper management can continue through changing economies.
To implement these policies, BC Parks constructed a detailed Objectives-and-Strategies system to achieve the necessary goals associated with each principle. For example BC parks aims to include and utilize both scientific and traditional knowledge, research and technology when defining park management and regulations. There are many other objectives and strategies listed within the BC Park Program Plan.
To measure their success in achieving their goals and living by their principles, BC Parks has listed a few quantitative statistics that can determine the level of success of the BC Park Program Plan. These performance measures include identifying if visitation to parks and protected areas increases 20% by 2011, as well as determining if BC Parks contribute to the doubling of tourism revenues by 2015. These and a few other performance measures help to determine if BC Parks has been successful in achieving their goals.
BC Parks have yet to make publicly accessible a current park program plan that considers the current and future states of parks and protected areas.
- Source Minister of Environment. October 2008. BC Parks Program Plan 2007 - 2012. Available at : https://bcparks.ca/program_plan/program_plan_oct2008.pdf [Accessed 03/2021].