Q: How many full-time park rangers do you think there are to serve the 1000 parks and protected areas - more than 32 million acres of land?
A: 11 only.
In 2001, there were 27 full-time park rangers in BC. Thirteen later, their ranks have been cut by more than 60 per cent. The number of full-time-equivalent seasonal park ranger positions has also seen a 60 per cent cut.The BC government has cut $10 million from the BC Parks budget - including $2.5 million in 2009 and more than $660,000 in the last year.
More than 40 park vehicles have been cancelled. Gasoline and travel budgets to patrol BC parks were slashed. In some cases, rangers have had to consider patrolling parks by Greyhound bus or taxi, for lack of a vehicle. Some parks areas have no budget for toilet paper.
Our parks cannot take any more neglect. Infrastructure is decaying. Lack of patrols are resulting in vandalism and theft from BC parks, and an increased risk of wildfires.
Meanwhile, the BC government's own study on the economic benefits of BC Parks shows that $10 dollars in economic activity is generated for every dollar invested by the government in BC's parks system. Clearly, it is time to re-invest in BC's provincial parks system.
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