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parks openhouse

Bark about B.C.'s parks, Nov. 22 Have your say at roving open house Whistler will be the fifth stop of an across-province quest by the Environment, Lands and Parks ministry to find out what we have to say about how our parks system is run. The Whistler date is Saturday, Nov. 22, at the conference centre, from 1 to 5 p.m. A seven-member panel will collect opinions toward developing the province's Parks Legacy Project that will take into account the conservation, recreation and financial pressures of a rapidly expanding parks system. Chaired by Mark Angelo, the panelists are Gerald Amos, a Haisla First Nation member and founding board member of Ecotrust; Helen Knight, a naturalist and member of the Royal B.C. Museum board; Ed Mankelow, a retired forestry worker and chair of the Environmental Mining Council of B.C.; and Julia Gardner, an academic specializing in environmental planning and management. As well, there is Eileen Fletcher, a professional architect involved in provincial land-use planning and tourism development; Wayne Sawchuk, a logger, guide, trapper and wilderness advocate; and Denise Savoie, an educator, hiker, greenways and trails advocate. The panel finishes their schedule in January, but other dates may be added before the data is summarized. "British Columbians' comments, submissions and ideas will form the basis for our report back to government within the next 18 months," Angelo says. In the past five years, 246 protected areas have been added to the provincial parks system, with another 200 parks to be added in the next few years. B.C. now has 518 parks and 139 ecological reserves, covering 10 million hectares or 10.6 per cent of the province.

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