Management planning process

A management plan is a document that outlines the vision and direction for a protected area. 

A management plan:

  • Situates the protected area within a landscape context, both geographically and as a part of the protected areas network, in short, where is it, and what is its role in BC Parks system.
  • Describes the key features and values of the protected area (such as natural, cultural and recreation values).
  • Identifies future appropriate management activities.
  • Determines the appropriate levels of use and development.
  • Establishes the long-term vision and management objectives to be met.
  • Responds to current and predicted future threats to the values and opportunities to enhance or change the values and uses of the area.

What is the process used to prepare management plans?

The development of management plans is usually led by BC Parks. In many cases First Nations and/or other partners collaborate with BC Parks in the development of the management plan.

The phases of the planning process are:

  • Pre-planning. In this initial phase, all existing management commitments such as land use planning direction, government to government agreements, and previous management plans for a protected area are compiled. From there the regional planning staff determine where each potential management planning project fits within regional and provincial priorities.
  • Initial planning. This stage involves reviewing existing information about the protected area’s values and potential management issues; determining how complex and in-depth the management planning process needs to be; confirming First Nations’, local communities, and public interests in the protected area; developing a process to address the identified interests and concerns; and establishing a management planning project team. The outcome of the initial planning stage is a project plan. The public is notified when the project plan is complete and the project is being initiated.
  • Draft management plan. During this stage, the planning team will identify the values, vision (the desired future condition) and principles that will guide future management of the protected area. Previously identified interests and issues are discussed, and appropriate management direction is developed in the form of a vision, management objectives and strategies, and a zoning plan. The draft management plan must be prepared using the established BC Parks management plan template. As per the BC Parks policy, there must be an opportunity for public review and comment on the draft plan.
  • Final management plan. This stage involves the review of all submissions received during the public review period and the subsequent editing of the plan if and as required. Following the review and approval of the draft management plan by BC Parks decision makers, the management plan is finalised. At this stage, the final management plan may also require First Nations’ and/or other partners’ approval. The public is notified when the final management plan has been approved.
  • Implementation. The implementation of a finalised management plan is an ongoing process. BC Parks managers, operational staff and partners carry out the implementation of the strategies identified in the management plan.
  • Monitoring and evaluation. The effectiveness of the management activities and of the management plan itself must be assessed by BC Parks (and the collaborative partner(s) where relevant) on a regular basis. Based on the results of the evaluations, management direction may need to be adjusted, or modifications may need to be made to the management plan to adjust to any changes in societal, cultural or natural resource values associated with the protected area.

How can you be involved?

As per BC Parks policy, the public is provided the opportunity to review and provide comment on draft management plans. Depending on the project, there may be single or multiple opportunities for public feedback and review.

The level of public engagement and the type of public consultation required varies according to the specific circumstances of the protected area in question. However, all management planning processes will provide open and transparent access to background information, draft management planning documents, and the rationale behind management planning decisions.

At a minimum, public engagement will include:

  • A public web-based announcement that the project is being initiated
  • A 30-day web-based public review period for the draft management plan
  • A public web-based announcement that the project is approved and complete

Other public engagement opportunities (e.g., public forums, meetings) may be provided during individual management planning processes.

To find out about current formal opportunities for public comment visit the park management plans page.

For more information

BC Parks has policies and guidelines and templates that guide the management planning program. Some of these items are listed below: