Wednesday, April 14, 2004

BC Parks

I recently wrote to BC Parks to ask why mountain biking isn't permitted in the Brent Mountain protected area. I got an immediate response (from the government!) that actually made sense, although it didn't really offer me much help if I wanted to pursue the issue further. Anyway, some interesting stats from their site:
  • Visitor expenditures on parks were estimated to represent over 90% of total
    expenditures.
  • For each dollar invested by government in the protected areas
    system, there were about $10 dollars in visitor expenditures.
  • Almost one-third of visitor expenditures, $148 million, are made by out-ofprovince
    residents. That makes the provincial parks equivalent to a significant
    export industry.
Somehow it seems so crass to view parkland as an exportable commodity, but I suppose it's true. If the parks system does contribute that much to the economy, it ticks me off that they're starting to charge parking fees in provincial parks this summer. Interesting that BC Parks has been growing their land base:
"Since 1991, the total protected area system managed by the province has almost doubled with government designating an additional 6.5 million hectares of land for protection, representing 457 new protected areas or major additions to existing parks. As of April 30, 2001, BC Parks managed a total of 807 protected areas totaling more than 11.35 million hectares and representing 11.8% of the provincial land base."

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