Itching to fulfil your new year’s resolution to burn off holiday hips and love handles? How about doing it outside, in nature? Just being there has been proven time and again to benefit our health and well-being.


The good news is B.C. has a magical collection of provincial parks to house our outdoor play. The bad news is these protected pieces of nature are crumbling due to neglect. Since 1970, both parks and visitors have doubled in number, but the budget has shrunk by $14 million.


Parks are like homes: an immense intangible value remains even despite underinvestment. After a certain point, however, underfunding becomes neglect, and even great natural values become tainted by disrepair.

The Elders Council for Parks in British Columbia addressed the provincial government on this underfunding fiasco this fall. Let’s help these elders by voicing our concerns to anyone who will listen: it takes many caring voices to save the areas we swore to always protect.

Our parks need money to deter invasive species and poachers, to build trails and interpretive centres, and to attract tourists and business opportunities. The better the “experience” of the park, the more people will come.

Our parks are ecological gems that deserve so much more than the pittance they receive. They deserve to shine, and that shine will brighten the day for us all.

stingy with our ecological gems

Investment per hectare:

  • B.C. provincial parks: $3.07;

  • Ontario provincial parks: $7.45;

  • Alberta provincial parks: $14.45;

  • Canadian national parks: $7.37.

  • To support increased park funding:

  • e-mail Premier Gordon Campbell at

  • e-mail Finance Minister Carole Taylor at

  • visit your local MLA

Kai Chan is an assistant professor and Canada Research Chair at the Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability (IRES) at UBC. He’s a transdisciplinary environmental researcher, integrating ethics and social and natural sciences.