Written by Abby Koning
Parks Day is coming up, and we are really, really excited. Each year on the third Saturday in July (July 20th this year), parks across Canada take a day to recognize and celebrate the important role that parks play in preserving our environment, strengthening our communities, and enriching our lives. Read on for some reasons why we want to celebrate B.C.’s parks!
1. You can experience wilderness.
Parks are reservoirs of ecological diversity. You can experience the airy highs of an alpine meadow in Garibaldi Park, enjoy the lull of a freshwater lake while camping at Bowron Lake Park, or absorb the richness radiating from our coastal rainforests at Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Park.
Parks provide so many unforgettable experiences for their visitors, and we can show our thanks by being good stewards for these extraordinary places. Did you know that 70% of British Columbia’s five million nesting seabirds are protected in 13 of B.C.’s ecological reserves? Or that the world’s most productive sockeye salmon run is in Tsútswecw Park? We think those are things worth celebrating and hope you do too.
2. BC Parks are places for everyone to build community.
BC Parks helps build a sense of community and belonging. Since the 1980s, the volunteer Ecological Reserve Warden program has provided opportunities to work with BC Parks staff to maintain parks. Wardens act as the eyes and ears of BC Parks, taking inventories of plants and animals, removing invasive species, and identifying issues in the parks. The volunteer program has grown significantly; volunteers support restoration, conservation, recreation, and much more. You can meet new people and strengthen your community through one of many BC Parks volunteer opportunities.
B.C.’s parks and protected areas are for everyone. They are the perfect place for all groups and families to connect and nurture their relationships. Whether you were born and raised in British Columbia, or you’re a new Canadian experiencing a BC park for the first time, we’re thrilled that you came to visit.
It is important that everyone can experience what B.C.’s parks have to offer. BC Parks collaborates with Power To Be and the Rick Hansen Foundation in designing and upgrading parks. In BC parks like Strathcona Park you can use the TrailRider wheelchair which provides the opportunity for users to appreciate parts of the park not previously accessible by wheelchair. TrailRiders are perfect for the backcountry, so get ready for a great adventure.
Learn more about Accessibility in BC Parks.
3. Parks preserve history and culture.
B.C.’s parks and protected areas are important places for Indigenous traditional use, education, and livelihood. Parks and protected areas protect historical and cultural elements of our past.
Indigenous peoples have a unique relationship to the land, and this connection supports their health, culture, and communities. BC Parks play a vital role in reconciliation with Indigenous communities by recognizing and affirming the role of Indigenous peoples in protected area management.
Tsútswecw Park (pronounced choo-chwek) formerly Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, is among four provincial parks that were recently renamed to reflect their historic and cultural significance as part of reconciliation efforts with Indigenous peoples. Brooks Peninsula Park near Port Alice on Vancouver Island has been renamed Mquqᵂin/Brooks Peninsula Park (pronounced mook-queen), John Dean Park is now ȽÁU,WELṈEW̱/John Dean (pronounced Tlay will nook) Boya Lake Park near the northwestern B.C. border is now called Tā Ch’ilā Park (Boya Lake) (pronounced ta chilla).
4. Spending time in parks renews the spirit.
The unique features and landscapes protected in BC Parks inspire the spirit. Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, standing at the base of Della Falls, the tallest waterfall in Canada, in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island just makes you say “wow.”
Hiking the Berg Lake Trail to the base of Mount Robson, the highest point in the Canadian Rockies, is an unforgettable experience. Walking on the trails here will make you feel as though you’ve gone back in time as you encounter intimidating peaks, wild waterfalls and glacier-fed lakes. Camping around Berg Lake offers the unique experience of hearing, or even seeing, the nearby Berg Glacier cleave and crack into Berg Lake in the heat of summer.
Some of that much needed stillness, peace, and quiet can be found in places like these and so many more.
5. B.C.’s thriving parks make for healthy people (and a healthy planet).
Did you know that healing from injury and illness quickens when we see or experience nature? Connecting with nature can improve our health in numerous ways, by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure, to simply increasing our overall happiness. Children in nature also see improved growth, development, and a higher measure of self-worth.
Parks and protected areas improve not only our personal health, but the health of our planet. They help us mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change and provide essential habitats and homes for a myriad of plants and animals.
So, be sure to mark your calendars and join us in recognizing all the amazing aspects of B.C.’s parks on July 20th. We can’t wait to celebrate Parks Day with you!
Learn more about BC Parks Day events at http://bcparks.ca/parksday