New campsites, park rangers expected for Kootenay-Boundary region this year

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
March 22nd, 2017

The province will be increasing the number of rangers in the field and campsites in the parks of the Kootenay-Boundary region this year, says an Environment department spokesperson.

David Karn said employing more ranger staff will not only improve the ecological integrity and safety in the region’s parks, it will create employment and skills training opportunities in the Kootenay-Boundary.

Although the hiring process is underway — and the new rangers will be in place for the upcoming camping season — further details on exact locations of the new park rangers and the number will be announced as the hiring process is completed, he explained.

Karn said more than 800 campsites will be built in provincial parks, with more than 1,000 others in recreation sites, on top of 10,700 existing campsites in B.C., in areas of highest demand.

Park ranger duties range from maintaining trails and campsites, to monitoring wildlife habitats and species at risk, to ensuring guests are aware of risks posed by dangerous animals such as bears and cougars.

Overall the province is putting $23 million into B.C.’s parks over the next five years, creating 1,900 new campsites, a new $5 million parks foundation and a number of new rangers in parks across the province.

“$25 million will go directly to B.C. Parks operations, allowing for new park rangers across the province, with a focus on protecting and preserving the backcountry,” said Karn.

The new funding will be concentrated in the province’s most in-demand parks — in the Kootenay-Boundary, Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan.

The construction of new sites includes any associated infrastructure, such as roads, water/sewer expansion, electrical upgrades, shower/toilet buildings and outhouse facilities.

“Further details will be announced as additional planning, as well as First Nations and community consultations, are completed,” said Karn.

Expansion will be supported by increased funding to address project administration and operating and maintenance costs, ensuring the long-term investment in these provincial assets.

Late last year the province announced it would eliminate opening day reservations to avoid delays and crashes in the online Discover Camping booking system. Campers will now be able to book their campsite four months ahead of their desired camp date.

The change arose after the province was criticized about campsites being snapped up the second bookings opened and of scalpers reselling them for profit. Forty-six such incidents were reported to B.C. Parks last year.

Recreational facilities and accessibility

People living with disabilities should be able to enjoy outdoor activities with no barriers.

The BC Parks Future Strategy aims to improve accessibility within provincial parks.

To support the goal of front country campgrounds and day-use areas all having accessible campsites, toilets, natural features and parking areas, BC Parks will undergo accessibility audits and assessments.

In addition, BC Parks will seek out partnership opportunities with disability advocates to fund enhanced accessibility features in each of the five park regions.

This post was syndicated from https://boundarysentinel.com
Categories: General

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