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NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2012ENV0019-000465

April 15, 2012

Ministry of Environment

 

 

BC Parks commits $200,000 to volunteer projects

 

VICTORIA – BC Parks is designating $200,000 towards recreational and conservation projects involving volunteers and launching a new volunteer website today to mark National Volunteer Week April 15-21.

 

The extra funding is being allocated in 2012/2013 to enhance recreational and conservation opportunities for park visitors, with priority going to those projects involving volunteers. This will give many volunteers the “seed money” they need to do things like purchase project materials and other supplies. The message from volunteers that they can make a little money can go a long way was heard loud and clear during recent public consultations.

 

This past winter, BC Parks staff held 11 workshops across the province – from Victoria to Haida Gwaii to Cranbrook – to request input on developing an upcoming volunteer strategy for BC Parks. BC Parks consulted with volunteers, park facility operators and stakeholders and the general public. Two hundred people attended the workshops and another 500 responded to an online survey.

 

Workshop and survey participants told BC Parks staff about what was most important to them in the development of a volunteer strategy and also what BC Parks can do to improve the volunteer experience.  As one of its first steps, a new website, BC Parks Volunteers, has been developed to provide information for potential volunteers, a networking venue for current volunteers, and profile individuals and organizations across the province whose generous commitment of time and energy helps protect the legacy of provincial parks.

 

Volunteers donate their time to a wide variety of projects – from trail maintenance to educational programming, and from ecological monitoring to campground hosting. They do it on horseback, on foot, backcountry skiing and even piloting a floatplane to check on access to remote locations or deliver supplies such as signs for the backcountry.

 

BC Parks has always benefitted from contributions made by volunteers. Much of the protected areas system we know today such as Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park near Penticton and Burgoyne Bay Provincial Park on Saltspring Island has been built in concert with individuals and volunteer groups.  Volunteering on park projects provides a tangible way for the general public to connect with their personal passion and contribute to their community and park system that they value.

 

Check out some of BC Parks’ volunteers who are profiled this week and in coming weeks on the new BC Parks Volunteers blog at www.bcparksvolunteers.ca

 

The volunteer strategy is scheduled to be implemented in June.

 

Quotes:

Environment Minister Terry Lake –

“Volunteers talked and we listened. The $200,000 funding for volunteer projects and development of the BC Parks Volunteers website was central to our vision of the future of volunteers in BC Parks. We want to acknowledge and show our appreciation for our many hundreds of volunteers and attract new volunteers both individuals and groups to BC Parks. And, as we incorporate feedback from the public consultation, the development of the volunteer strategy will generate a stronger foundation and commitment to enhance and showcase volunteerism in BC Parks.” 

 

Sang Gee Bae, president, Vancouver Korean Hiking Club and BC Parks volunteer

“Club members benefit greatly from their hikes in B.C.’s provincial parks and having them available makes us feel appreciated as we enjoy nature. That’s why we would like to have the opportunity to give back as a thank-you for what has been given to us."

 

 

Find out More:

·         BC Parks online volunteer community: www.bcparksvolunteers.ca

·         BC Parks: www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/things_to_do.html

·         Great Ranger Experience videos on YouTube: http://bit.ly/ooyxPj

·         Connect with BC Parks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/YourBCParks

·         National Volunteer Week: http://volunteer.ca/about-volunteerism/national-campaigns/national-volunteer-week

 

Contact:

Karen Johnston

Communications

Ministry of Environment

250 812-0495

 

 

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at www.gov.bc.ca/connect