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

.
Loblaws reports worker tested positive for COVID-19 in Fernie

The worker’s last shift at Kevin’s Your Independent Grocer was on November 10

(Black Press file)
Interior Health reports 31 new COVID-19 cases

In the region, health authority reports 235 total active cases

Kelsey Merton and Sam Finnigan enjoy the comedic acts. (Soranne Floarea/ The Free Press)
Infinitea sets stage for amateur women comedians

The joyful event encouraged local ladies to take the stage while celebrating Infinitea’s closure

A man wears a mask while walking down Canyon Street in Creston on Nov. 13. Photo: Aaron Hemens
Creston resident living with COVID-19 reflects on experience

Contracting and living with the virus, she said, has led to a “major reset” in her life

Fernie Mayor Ange Qualizza reading a proclamation recognizing the Transgender Day of Remembrance in Fernie in 2020. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Fernie recognizes Trans Day of Remembrance

Mayor Qualizza read a proclamation recognizing the day, and a flag was raised at City Hall

Kyle Charles poses for a photo in Edmonton on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. Marvel Entertainment, the biggest comic book publisher in the world, hired the 34-year-old First Nations illustrator as one of the artists involved in Marvel Voice: Indigenous Voices #1 in August. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
VIDEO: Indigenous illustrator of new Marvel comic hopes Aboriginal women feel inspired

Kyle Charles says Indigenous women around the world have reached out

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

More than 70 anglers participated in the bar-fishing demonstration fishery on Sept. 9, 2020 on the Fraser River near Chilliwack. DFO officers ticketed six people and seized four rods. A court date is set for Dec. 1, 2020. (Jennifer Feinberg/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Anglers ticketed in Fraser River demonstration fishery heading to court

Sportfishing groups started a GoFundMe with almost $20K so far for legal defence of six anglers

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

Pictured is the Cranbrook gravel pit, located between two graveyards near the public works yard. This is where two lost kids were located by a Salvador Ready Mix driver on Thursday, November 19, 2020. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Two lost Cranbrook kids find their way home thanks to Salvador Ready Mix driver

The driver found the children wandering near the gravel pits in Cranbrook

Care home staff are diligent about wearing personal protective equipment when they are in contact with residents, but less so when they interact with other staff members, B.C. Seniors Advocate says. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
More COVID-19 testing needed for senior home staff, B.C.’s advocate says

Employees mingling spotted as virus conductor in many workplaces

This 2019 photo provided by The ALS Association shows Pat Quinn. Quinn, a co-founder of the viral ice bucket challenge, died Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, at the age of 37. (Scott Kauffman/The ALS Association via AP)
Co-founder of viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge dies at 37

Pat Quinn was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2013

Most Read