VANCOUVER, June 28, 2012 /CNW/ - The B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union has enlisted the help of Bigfoot to kick off their summer campaign to increase funding to B.C.'s parks system.
Bigfoot and Ranger Dave star as characters in an online video - part of an internet and print-based campaign that highlights the impact of B.C. parks cuts and urges people to ask the B.C. government to restore parks funding.
The campaign focuses on B.C. park rangers as an endangered species, with only 10 full-time rangers left to patrol 1000 parks and protected areas, covering more than 32 million acres province-wide.
"BC's park ranger corps has been cut by more than 60 per cent since 2001," says BCGEU president Darryl Walker. "We have the third largest park system in North America, and we can't afford to send the few rangers we have left out to patrol our parks."
Walker pointed to freedom of information documents which confirm that more than 40 park vehicles were sidelined and gasoline and travel budgets severely cut back, making it difficult for park rangers to patrol B.C. parks. The documents also revealed that greyhound buses, scooters and taxis were being considered as alternative transportation for rangers and supervisors.
The union also claims that the government's austerity measures hurt rural communities, which depend on tourism revenue from B.C. parks - citing ta B.C. government study, Economic Benefits of British Columbia's Provincial Parks, which shows a huge economic return from government investment in B.C.'s parks system.
"The government's own study shows that visitors spend $10 in local economies for every dollar spent by the government on B.C.'s park system," says Byron Goerz, chair of the BCGEU component that represents park rangers. "We have to stop looking at parks as a cost and recognize they are huge revenue generators for local communities."
The campaign web site (www.saveBCparks.ca) contains a variety of information resources, and includes an online form to e-mail the Premier, Environment Minister and Opposition critic to ask the government to restore B.C. parks funding to 2000 levels.
Image with caption: "Bigfoot and Ranger Dave are central characters in an online video that promotes the BCGEU's 'Save BC Parks' campaign, which is aimed at increasing government funding for a parks system that has been heavily impacted by a decade of funding cuts. (www.saveBCparks.ca) (CNW Group/B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120628_C4807_PHOTO_EN_15809.jpg
For further information:
Contact Chris Bradshaw at 604-291-9611 or 604-369-8411.