Premier Urged to Revive British Columbia’s Parks

May 10, 2011 by   - () Comments Off on Premier Urged to Revive British Columbia’s Parks

Christy Clark, premier of British Columbia, applauded for "great decision" but urged to make more.

Editor’s Note: The following editorial appeared in The Province, one of the leading newspapers in British Columbia.

We don’t call our province “Beautiful British Columbia” for nothing. And an important part of that claim is our wonderful provincial parks system, one of the best in the world.

Today, according to the Environment Ministry, 14.26% of our province’s entire land mass — 13.5 million hectares — is protected land, providing a parks system that includes 340 campgrounds, 6,000 kilometres of hiking trails and 263 day-use areas for citizens and visitors to enjoy.

But, as ministry emails released through freedom of information show, all is not well in our parks system as it’s celebrating its centennial. The emails show a parks system that has been left in tatters by a decade of budget cuts that halved spending on parks and reduced the number of parks rangers by 62%. The documents offer examples of overgrown trails, overflowing outhouses, vandalism and parks staff begging for basic supplies to repair bridges so they’d be safe to use.

Last week, Premier Christy Clark made a great decision in removing pay parking in parks, a mean, money-grubbing move by the Gordon Campbell government that discouraged park visits.

Now she must take the next step by increasing funding to B.C.’s fabulous parks system so we can all be proud of it again.

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