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As the official charitable partner of BC Parks, the BC Parks Foundation is leading an expedition to create the best park system in the world. We do this by working with you to protect, enhance and sustain our parks, while inspiring and connecting people to them.
The wild, incredible nature of our backyard is core to being British Columbian. Your support is keeping B.C. beautiful for future generations.
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August 11, 2021
Things aren't always what they sound like.
Author: Sandra Al-Samman, Discover Parks Ambassador, summer...
July 9, 2021
This month, we are featuring our fantastic team and getting to know them a little bit more. Read on to learn about all the people who work so hard here at the BC Parks Foundation answering your emails, your calls, and...
January 11, 2021
Guest Author, Martin Ryer @martin_ryer
Have you ever been stranded on an island before? To some, that might...
BC Parks Champions
In many ways parks have made me who I am. As an Ontario boy, I thought of Algonquin Park as a kind of Nirvana. It denoted wilderness and nature in a pure form. Wolves roamed there. When I landed a job, ages 17-19, doing “chores” at the research station, I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. It also became apparent that the people who worked in parks, the rangers and naturalists, were an important part of the scene. They appreciate and protect nature for others to enjoy. These people became my role models.
BC parks are among the most spectacular in the world because this province is blessed with a great variety of natural habitats from mountains to marine. We need to use them or lose them but at the same time we must not love them to death with too many amenities. It will take vigilance and budgets to guarantee that our parks will be as beneficial to future generations as they are to us.
My life took a turn at 15 when I spent a summer in Manning Park, working as a member of the Youth Crew, building trails, fighting fires, maintaining the campgrounds. Splitting firewood in the sun, with room and board and three dollars a day the only financial reward, taught me that work is not about money; it's about pride, strength, perseverance and grit, values that would forge the foundation of my professional life. Altogether, I worked eight seasons for BC Parks, culminating in a much coveted position as the first park ranger in the Spatsizi Plateau, British Columbia's largest wilderness park. My job description was deliciously vague; public relations and wilderness assessment. In two four month seasons my partner and I encountered not a dozen visitors, leaving us free to wander, as we mapped the trails, surveyed the wildlife, ran the rivers, and established routes up all the major peaks. This prolonged apprenticeship with the Parks, all that I learned in E.C. Manning and Naikoon, Mount Assiniboine, Atlin Mountain, Mount Edziza, and Spatsizi Plateau, left me with both a deep appreciation of nature, and a profound sense of belonging, a spirit of place that is the essence of Canadian patriotism. In good measure, I owe my life and career to BC Parks. Surely the opportunities that I had in my youth, the chance to unburden an adolescent mind and reward the body with hard physical work, to experience for the first time the true miracle of nature, to seek the promise of transformation, even transcendence, as found only in the wild heart of the world, ought to be part of the birthright of every new generation of British Columbians.
My family did not have very many luxuries. Growing up as a child in East Vancouver, our weekend family time was exploring the numerous parks to the north and east of Vancouver. Free access to parks was essential for my parents to entertain and educate my sister and me. I love our parks to this day.
Dr. Sally Otto
From Ruckle Provincial Park in the Garry oak ecosystem to the glacier-fed lakes of Mount Assiniboine, the parks of British Columbia are truly majestic. Camping in these parks allows families, like mine, to experience nature directly and to pass along to our children a love of wildlife. The parks are also a critical refuge for the most endangered animals and plants. BC is home to the most species diversity of any province in Canada but also home to the most species at risk. Without well managed parks, we are likely to lose dozens, if not hundreds, of the animal and plant species that make BC so special.
Spending time recreating in nature was a keystone of my upbringing and set me on a path to appreciate and help to protect wild places. Connecting with nature allows me to feel centred and balanced within myself. When I moved to BC from Ontario at age 19, I was overwhelmed at the scale of the fog cloaked mountains, old growth cedars, and cold green waves rolling in towards pristine beaches. With so much incredible diversity, I couldn’t believe that the entire province wasn’t one huge provincial park!
I feel incredibly lucky for the recreational opportunities here in BC. From surfing Naikoon in Haida Gwaii, bikepacking the South Chilcotins, ski touring at Kokanee, and climbing the Squamish Chief and Garibaldi from my front door. It gives me real peace of mind knowing that these special areas are protected and that there is an endless supply of new discoveries and experiences to be had right here at home in BC.
Many of my most memorable moments were in the parks in British Columbia. I have savored my freedom moving through the mountains, contemplated life surrounded by giant cedars and finished days watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean. These parks are the identity of BC and need to be protected and preserved for our kids and theirs, while also enjoyed by us.
I was born in Port Alberni and grew up on Vancouver Island. That was the era when family vacations meant packing the camping gear into the trunk of the Buick and heading off down one BC's brand new highways. It was pure exploration and discovery - the Cariboo, the Slocan Valley, the Big Bend highway, the Chilcotin - exploring the wonders of the province by day, and pulling in for the night at a BC Parks campground. Those experiences kindled my love of exploration and new vistas, which took me around the world as a scientist (biology PhD) then later as a technology entrepreneur. I founded the BC-based Tula Foundation in 2002 and set up Tula’s Hakai Institute in 2010. Hakai develops the tools, systems, people and insights we need to understand our coastal ecosystems in the context of climate change, and to deal with the consequences that are coming. We operate field stations at remote locations on the BC coast. We have our own scientific staff plus a large network that includes university researchers, government scientists and First Nations. For the past eight years we have enjoyed a very close and productive partnership with BC Parks via our Calvert Island field station, which is located in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest.
I can't conceive of anything being more varied, rich and handsome than planet earth: its crowning beauty is the natural world. I want to soak it up, to understand it ... then put it together and express it in my painting. This is the way I want to dedicate my life.”
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