BC Parks has always benefited from contributions made by volunteers much of the protected areas system we know today was built by individuals and groups donating their time and labour. There are many activities in which volunteers are actively engaged in the BC Parks system including: campground hosts, facility restorations, interpretation, Park Watch activities, ecological reserve wardens, trespass monitoring, invasive plant control, ecological inventories, trail and campsite construction and maintenance, fundraising, educational programs, park management and planning, and more. Volunteering with BC Parks or one of its partner organizations helps to maintain the park system for all British Columbians. There is now a clear and pressing need for improved coordination and communication with volunteers in order to enhance both their experience, and to ensure that BC Parks is able to recruit and retain the talented and committed people it needs now and in the future.
BC Parks is developing a sustainable and robust volunteer strategy on an ongoing basis. Throughout February and March 2012, BC Parks staff held eleven workshops across the province as well as an online survey to request input from citizens and stakeholders on the development of this strategy.
As part of the volunteer strategy an online community has been developed as a place for citizens to:
- Learn more about BC Parks volunteers;
- Connect with other volunteer groups; and,
- Eventually, link to volunteer opportunities within their own communities!
Approximately 200 people participated in the workshops and over 600 participants completed the online survey. Approximately 100 BC Parks employees participated in the staff workshops.
Input leads to action:
As a result of this consultation BC Parks identified several solutions and developed a strategy that addresses the feedback heard, the input from the public engagement process has been summarized in the Provincial Public Engagement Report.
If you have comments or questions on the strategy, please email BCParks.Volunteers@gov.bc.ca.
Some parts of the volunteer community website are still in development and will continue to expand. For now, we invite you to check out the different parts of the community from our volunteer partner’s page to our story-telling blog where we would love to hear from you!