NDP MLA Roly Russell says expanded Granby and Skaha Bluffs Provincial Parks will protect biodiversity and increase outdoor recreation opportunities for British Columbians

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BOUNDARY-SIMILKAMEEN – New Democrat MLA Roly Russell says people in British Columbia can look forward to bigger Skaha Bluffs and Granby Provincial Parks that will protect local ecosystems provide new recreational opportunities.

“People in the South Okanagan and Boundary love to get out and enjoy our parks all year round,” said MLA Russell. “We’re expanding Skaha and Granby Provincial Parks to preserve the best of B.C. for generations, protect local ecosystems, promote wellness, and boost local economies. The super, natural world of BC is part of makes our province so incredible!”

147 hectares will be added to Granby Provincial Park, and 65 hectares will be added to Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park through Bill 17 – 2021: Protected Areas of British Columbia Amendment Act, 2021.

Spanning more than 40,000 hectares, Granby Park near Grand Forks is a wilderness area popular among hunters, horseback riders, snowmobilers and experienced hikers. The grassland meadows from an old burn are considered rare and valuable habitat for grizzly bear, deer and elk. The addition of Crown land is adjacent to the park and provides further connectivity from the valley bottom to higher elevations. Skaha Bluffs Park near Penticton provides opportunities for hiking, world-class rock-climbing and wildlife viewing. It also protects habitat for a variety of species at risk, including bighorn sheep, fringed and small-footed myotis (bat) and Western screech owl. The addition is from a private land donation, acquired through Canada’s Ecological Gift Program.

In addition to the expansion of Granby and Skaha Bluffs Provincial Parks, Bill 17 creates a new provincial park on Southern Vancouver Island, renames two existing Provincial Parks with their Indigenous names following consultations with the local Indigenous communities, and adds over 2,258 hectares of land and/or foreshore nine other provincial parks. It also includes boundary modifications to enable land exchanges and make administrative corrections to five other parks and conservancies.

British Columbia is home to one of the largest park systems in North America, with 1,036 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves, and protected areas covering more than 14 million hectares or approximately 14.4% of the provincial land base. Amendments to the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act are regularly required to add land to parks and conservancies, modify or correct boundaries and improve boundary descriptions.

Learn more: Conservation, culture at the heart of newly protected areas