Rainforest Solutions Project

Promoting conservation and economic alternatives in British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest


New conservancies, new parks in B.C.

April 17, 2007

(Victoria, BC) – Legislation to create 41 new conservancies along the B.C. coast was introduced in the legislature by Environment Minister Barry Penner on Tuesday.

Many of the new protected areas are in the Great Bear Rainforest, as part of the government’s plan to protect 1.8 million hectares of the Central and North Coasts from industrial logging.

The government had established 24 conservancies in the area last year as part of the plan.

The 41 new conservancies will protect more than 165,000 additional hectares of land and marine foreshore.

“It will further the implementation of last year’s historic land-use decisions that will protect some of the most significant, spectacular and ecologically diverse landscapes and coastal areas in the world,” said Penner.

Penner said the conservancies allow some small-scale development that wouldn’t be permitted in parks.

“It excludes commercial logging and mining and large-scale hydroelectric projects, but does allow the First Nations to engage in certain low-level or low-impact economic activity, such as fishing activities or tourist activities and local run-of-the-river hydro projects.”

The minister also announced the creation of three new parks — two in the Grand Forks area in southeastern B.C. and a third near Hazelton in the northwest part of the province.

Sixteen other parks will be expanded — including some well-known ones such as Brackendale Eagles near Squamish, one of the most important wintering areas for bald eagles on the coast, and MacMillan Park near Port Alberni, home of Cathedral Grove.

The minister says he made the announcement in anticipation of Earth Day this Sunday.