BC Parks has taken steps to add land to provincial parks and protected areas, including an eight hectare parcel of land to the Lac du Bois Grasslands protected area near Kamloops
BC Parks and the Ministry of Environment have acquired 650 hectares of land valued at over $9.7 million to add to an already extensive park and protected areas network in the province.
The 650 hectares of new land was acquired through land purchasing and the federal ecological gift program in memory of pioneer ranchers.
“The funding for the properties that were purchased, rather than donated, comes from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s budget, as approved annually by the Legislature,” the ministry told SPIN in an email.
Eight hectares of land is expected to be added to the Lac du Bois Grasslands outside of Kamloops, worth $50,000, and was donated under the ecological gift program.
Other land will provide opportunities for recreation alongside a never-before-seen uptick of park visitors in places like the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park, where an added 65 hectares will provide park visitors with more hiking, rock climbing and wildlife viewing opportunities.
The land will also protect the ecological integrity of places such as the 24.5 hectares added to Tweedsmuir Park, which will prevent logging of the area and enhance grizzly bear and salmon habitat.
One hundred and one additional hectares were also added to Chasm Park, north of Cache Creek, which was valued at $420,000 and will reduce the risk of incompatible uses in the park (such as logging), conserving ponderosa pine and will protect wildlife habitats.
Other areas that gained land are situated throughout the Southern Okanagan and Coastal areas of the province as well as the Kootenays and Northern B.C.
Although the land hasn’t officially been added to the boundaries of the various parks and protected areas yet, the ministry said they are beginning consultation with Indigenous Nations, local government and others.
“Following those consultations, the ministry may seek approval to proceed with adding the acquired land to a park or protected area, which ultimately requires approval of the Legislature or Cabinet to make changes to the area’s boundaries.”