Why we do it

Why We Do it

Nature is our playground.  It makes us feel healthy and alive.  It connects us with ourselves, friends, and family.  It holds keys to our stories, our culture, and wisdom for living. No matter what background, perspective, or state of mind, nature always welcomes us and makes us feel whole.

In nature we find our way.

The best of nature is contained in our parks.  In BC we are proud and fortunate to have the sixth largest park system in the world, containing the highest diversity of life in Canada.  BC’s world class parks are home to iconic species that only exist here on this planet, or that stop here on their long terrific journeys.

We started as a group of prominent British Columbians who believe our most special places are core to being British Columbian, to our economy, our culture, and our well-being.  Parks contain life’s original magic, and we believe it is important that all people have a chance to connect with, share in, and preserve it.

The demand for parks services is growing as BC’s population and tourism grows. The pressure on park recreation, wildlife, habitat, and ecosystems is also increasing through park use, activities outside of parks, and threats like pollution and climate change.  

The cause for the most treasured places in our great province needs support or we risk losing what makes British Columbia the beautiful, supernatural place we love.  

Please consider joining us.  While there are many worthy causes, when you support parks, you are passing along the magic of life. Forever.    

Big Hairy Audacious Goal

British Columbia will have the most active, diverse, and innovative community of parks supporters per capita of any jurisdiction in the world.

Parks supporters, working collaboratively with governments, will help create one of the most revered systems of parks and protected areas on the planet.

Our Role

Our mission is to protect, enhance, celebrate and pass along on the magic of park life.   Our primary role is to promote and support public interest, engagement and involvement in parks and attract and encourage people to contribute.

We select projects that align with our strategic priorities and that meet our criteria.  We then help produce or raise funding for them.  In some cases we undertake projects internally and in other cases we partner with volunteers and other groups.  We work with other Foundations and funders to help identify projects and leverage our funding.  At this time, we do not accept unsolicited proposals.  However, we are happy to receive a short email outlining a project or partnership to bring it to our awareness.

We’re an independent and private Foundation.  We are much like a hospital or university foundation;  we make it possible for people to enhance parks above and beyond what government is able to do.  We are not an arm of government nor do we take direction from, report to, or raise money for government.  

Letter from the CEO

Beautiful, Supernatural BC is one of the most amazing places on the planet.  While most of the planet has lost and is losing nature and wildlife at alarming rates, BC still has vast tracts of the original earth.  

You have the good fortune to breathe clean air, drink fresh water, be in ancient forests, and see wildlife in its natural habitat. Here you can still experience the source of genuine well-being — the untamed magic of life.  

Did you know?:

  • British Columbians have protected over 14% of our Province, or a wonderful 14+million hectares in over 1000 protected areas.  

  • We have created the sixth largest park system in the world, containing the highest diversity of life in Canada.  

  • Our world class parks are home to iconic species like salmon, bear, elk, caribou, lynx, moose, bighorn sheep, and whales. Some of these creatures only exist here on this planet, and others stop here on their terrific long international journeys.       

These incredible places are also home to happy memories and fulfilling experiences.   Walking, camping, skiing, canoeing, riding, biking, climbing, fishing, swimming, …recharging and connecting with yourself, friends and family.  For BC’s First Nations people, the connection is especially long and deep.  As Haisla elder Cecil Paul says, “these are not just places. Our stories are embedded in these places and we couldn’t survive without them. They contain all our wisdom for living.”

The secret of these places’ magic is out.  Here are some fun facts that may surprise you:

  • BC’s parks now receive close to 24million visits each year!  

  • Parks are the backbone of our tourism economy, which contributes $7.9billion to our provincial gross domestic product and $1.1Billion in tax revenue.

  • BC’s parks are the largest accommodation provider in our province.  And that’s not just visitors from all over the world who love this beautiful place: 78% of campers are British Columbians.       

Canadians are proud of our incredible natural wealth. Whether you enjoy nature by getting outdoors, or are just happy knowing such magnificent and rare places still exist in the world, we all uphold these places as our common treasure.   While most provinces and states require entrance passes or parking fees, BC’s parks are free for everyone to visit.  That is pretty rare these days! 

  • The number of parks in BC has increased from 385 to 1032 since 1985.

  • Partly because of the huge number and size of parks, BC’s provincial parks budget is less than it was in 1985 (when adjusted for inflation).  BC’s park budget is only $2.80/hectare of parkland, compared to our neighbours in Alberta who spend $30/ha, and Parks Canada, who spends $33/ha.   

  • In 2011, the BC Auditor General found that we are “not successfully meeting the goal to conserve the ecological integrity in British Columbia’s parks and protected areas.”  This challenge grows as the number of visitors increase and issues like climate change cause changes across the landscape.

 The Foundation is the result of prominent British Columbians coming together around a passionate belief that we need to go above and beyond to protect, enhance, celebrate and support our parks.  They are too important to our health, economy, identity, and future - and to the species who live in them.  Our most treasured places need our support or we risk losing the incredible natural legacy we are lucky enough to call home.  

People like you have amazing ideas, energy, and resources.   We come to you respectfully and enthusiastically, to ask you to consider joining us in our magic canoe of park supporters.  We call it magic because the canoe always expands to welcome new paddles, and every paddle makes a difference, no matter the size, shape, or colour.

The parks need you, and now more than ever, the world needs more Beautiful, Supernatural BC.

While there are many worthy causes, please consider supporting our parks.  When you support them, you are supporting the magic of life. Forever.

Dr. Andrew Day

Chief Executive Officer

Our Relationship with the British Columbia Parks Agency

We’re an independent and private Foundation.  We enjoy a great working relationship with the British Columbia Parks Agency, focused on making our parks even better.  We are not an arm of government nor do we take direction from, report to, or raise money for government, and we are not an advocacy organization.

We are similar to a hospital or university foundation.  In our capacity as the official charitable partners of parks, we are able to bring governments, businesses, communities, and donors together around the thing we all have in common-  creating great parks and park experiences.  This approach creates more support and long term stability for the parks.   

Did you know:  While still rare in Canada, parks foundation are common in the United States.  There is a US National Parks Foundation, the majority of states also have foundations, and many cities have parks foundations.   Some of these have achieved extraordinary results.  For example, the Pittsburg Parks Conservancy has raised over $108 million for parks in less than 20 years!   The Golden Gate National Conservancy has raised more than $500 million in parks support since 1981.   What can we do in British Columbia for our parks?