FOSP note: The following letter appeared in the Comox Valley Echo Sep 1, 2009 and the Campbell River Courier Sep 4, 2009. MJ Vaughan is a member of the FOSP.
B.C. parks spending cut to the bone
Despite the fact that “for each dollar invested by government in the protected areas system, there were about $10 in visitor expenditure”, (Liberal Government report, 2001), the Liberal government has since cut spending on BC Parks to one of the lowest levels in all N. America. What is the government trying to do? Last week I visited Baby Bedwell Lake, Strathcona Provincial Park. The pit toilet was an abomination. A giant roll of toilet paper hinted the toilet was not to be serviced frequently, the dirt, stench and flies proved this was true. And yet I saw several groups of foreign tourists on guided day hikes to the lake; I can only imagine their horror at the ‘facility’ provided for them. If other tourists had planned to hike Della Falls Trail, Crest Mountain Trail, Tennent Lake Trail or Upper Myra Falls, too bad, they’re closed for lack of maintenance. And that is just Strathcona; there are many more parks suffering from the government cutbacks in funding.
That must be the reason the Liberal Government has increased funding for the Public Affairs Bureau, which next year will have a greater budget than that for all of BC Parks. Because it will take an awful lot of spin doctoring to fool tourists into thinking other than, “BC is the best place on earth…NOT!”.