100 years after Strathcona became our first provincial park, there is plenty to be proud of – but work remains
There is much to be grateful for on this B.C. Day weekend. At the top of the list should be this province’s glorious diadem of provincial parks.
Almost a thousand are scattered across an area so vast you could fit within B.C.’s boundaries the American states of Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and half of Hawaii for good measure.
Put another way, if you were to consider B.C.’s parks and protected areas one geographical entity, it would be equivalent to the 16th-largest country in Europe or the seventh-largest province in Canada or the 24th-largest state in the U.S.
This year marks the centennial of B.C.’s provincial parks system, launched in 1911 with Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island, although a colonial park outside Fort Victoria was reserved by James Douglas in 1858 and probably has a claim on being the first official park.