Proposed additions to Kootenay Boundary BC Parks protect local wildlife habitats, ecosystems
New Democrat MLAs Brittny Anderson, Katrine Conroy, and Roly Russell say new land additions to Provincial Parks in the Kootenay and Boundary regions will protect diverse wildlife habitat and ecosystems thanks to new legislation introduced by the BC NDP government earlier today.
“People are passionate about protecting our environment in British Columbia, whether for conservation or for recreation,” said MLA Russell.
“Park expansions like this expand our options for places to play and help us protect sensitive ecosystems like Kokanee spawning streams. For all of us today, and for our children’s’ futures, I’m glad these opportunities will exist.”
If passed, the legislation will add to parks across the region. They include 3 hectares(ha) of foreshore at Christina Lake Park, 20 ha at Gladstone Park, 5 ha at the Davis Creek site of Kootenay Lake Park, 23 ha to the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy Park, and 32 ha to Valhalla Park.
“Parks are more than places for us to get out for a hike, though we certainly do our fair share of hiking in our neck of the woods,” said MLA Anderson.
“They’re also important for local flora and fauna to have an undisturbed space where they can flourish. By adding to parks outside of recreational areas, we’re maintaining that respectful relationship with nature that we all cherish.”
Administrative amendments and road ownership changes are also being proposed to Big White Mountain Ecological Reserve and West Arm Park.
“British Columbians love their provincial parks, and we are so fortunate to have some of the best examples here in the Kootenay-Boundary region,” said MLA Conroy. “Creating more parkland means that more of the spaces we all love will be protected forever.”
The proposed amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act (PABC) continues the BC NDP government’s efforts to enhance protection of wildlife habitat, better reflect Indigenous people’s history and cultures in parks for a deeper understanding of connection to the land, and create more opportunities for camping and outdoor recreation.
Since the establishment of the first provincial park in 1911 (Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island), B.C.’s parks and protected areas system has grown to cover more than 14 million hectares or approximately 14.4% of the province.
Through the BC Parks Land Acquisition Program, the Province acquires land each year to be added to parks and protected areas. The acquisitions are often augmented by partnerships with conservation groups, individual donors and corporations. In 2020/21, the Province acquired more than 229 hectares of land for $2.4 million. Amendments to the PABC are required to add new land to parks and conservancies, modify or correct boundaries, and improve boundary descriptions.