BC Parks expansion makes provincial system third largest in North America
An amendment to provincial environmental laws issued Thursday brings new areas under the BC Parks system, making it the third largest in North America.
A total of 29 new and expanded park areas will add approximately 276,000 hectares to the BC Parks system.
Measuring 233,304 hectares, establishment of the Ne’áh’ Conservancy between the Liard Plains and Cassiar Mountains accounts for the bulk of the increase in the new protected areas.
This new conservancy is home to moose, caribou, mountain goat, Stone’s sheep and other animal life.
The area is of great cultural importance to the people of Kaska Dena First Nations who also associate it with spirituality.
By comparison, an addition of 0.9 hectares to the Inkaneep park is the smallest new addition.
Through this expansion, the total area of the park has now been increased to 16 hectares.
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A decision to add area to the park was made in order to mitigate the effect of a loss of 0.24 hectares to a new road.
The additional areas come by way of Bill 5, protected areas of British Columbia amendment act, 2013.
“Through this legislation we are helping to protect our environment, including spawning habitat for sockeye salmon and a unique mineral source used by mountain caribou and other wildlife, which is the result of an extensive land-use planning process we have undertaken with First Nations, stakeholders and the public,” said environment minister Terry Lake.
After these latest additions, the total protected area in the province now stands at over 13.9 million hectares.
Designation of an area as a part of the BC Parks system brings a series of environmental protection measures that encourages conservation.
With some restrictions, First Nations are free to use the forests falling in the protected areas for ceremonial, cultural and social reasons.
Expansion also demands additional enforcement which requires money. B.C. already spends nearly $10.5 million on its parks.
Category: British Columbia