BC Parks Volunteer Awards
Every year, hundreds of passionate groups and individuals generously donate their time and energy to care for the 1,033 provincial parks and protected areas in British Columbia. BC Parks values the exceptional contributions made by volunteers and recognizes those who go above and beyond through the annual achievement awards.
2019 – 2020 Award Winners
In 2018 the Squamish Environment Society initiated a partnership with BC Parks to develop a monitoring program for toads at Alice Lake. This became the Alice Lake Western Toad Monitoring Project - an ongoing and successful citizen science project to monitor Western Toads in Alice Lake Provincial Park which recruits, coordinates, and provides training to volunteers to collect data about Western Toads using science-based protocols.
Rachel has been the Project Coordinator since spring 2019 and has put in an incredible amount of volunteer time and effort. Rachel's work includes but is not limited to: working closely with BC Parks to plan and implement the project; recruiting, training and coordinating volunteers; conducting field surveys; maintaining ongoing project communications with volunteers, media and the public; and writing detailed and informative reports for BC Parks about the project and its results.
Rachel is a joy to work with. She is amazingly organized, doing the complicated and demanding jobs of coordinating volunteers and managing data incredibly well. She is a great communicator, professional and compassionate, and is skilled at working as part of a team. She is not trained as a biologist but through her curiosity and research has become incredibly knowledgeable, asks smart questions and has great insights that have made the scientific aspects of this project better.
Rachel is coordinating this project on behalf of the Squamish Environment Society and is supported by a team of amazing volunteers who have also made significant contributions to this project. But without Rachel's leadership, coordination, enthusiasm and hard work, the Alice Lake Western Toad Monitoring Project would not be possible.
Volunteer Group of the Year – Comox District Mountaineering Club
The Comox District Mountaineering Club (CDMC)was formed in 1927 by a few people interested in exploring Forbidden Plateau. These pioneers were the original route finders and trail builders in this area and as the years went by club members extended their trails further into Strathcona Park and most of these trails are still in use today.
The CDMC became a non–profit society in1999 and consistent with the club’s founding members ideals has continued to promote conservation and appropriate use of parks & wilderness areas, organize hiking/expedition programs and teach leadership skills.
Local conservation efforts continue to be supported by members through donations & volunteer time provided by members.
While each year the club continues to support BC Parks and the public by doing annual maintenance and new projects, some examples of CDMC’s past contributions to Strathcona Provincial Park include; 1965-1970 in conjunction with the Island Mountain Ramblers, the Marble Meadows trail was completed; 2000 the Helen Mackenzie Lake campsite was constructed as a millennium project; approximately 30 km Forbidden Plateau traverse trail is annually maintained; 2018, with help from Island Mountain Ramblers a large host tent pad and deck for the yurt was completed at Croteau Lake; annual maintenance of Comox Glacier trail maintenance.
Volunteer Legacy Award – Freeze Family and Friends
As dedicated volunteers, members of the Freeze family have been clearing trails in BC Parks for roughly 15 years. During this time, the family has spent over 1000 hours cutting trail in some of the most rugged and isolated areas of our East Kootenay parks. Because of the hard work and dedication of this family/friend trio, these beautiful wilderness areas have been made more accessible for a variety of park users.
Al’s original involvement with BC Parks in the Kootenays came when he resided and worked in the Elk Valley in the 1990’s, about the time Height of the Rockies became a Provincial Park. Monitoring and reporting use, making repairs and cleaning cabins, Al became a consistent source of information and support for BC Parks in the area. Al’s extended family members, as well as his wife Claire, have also made significant volunteer contributions. Since moving from the Elk Valley to Cranbrook several years ago, Al approached BC Parks to offer an expansion of his volunteer service. This offer was eagerly accepted! Al’s team which now includes Paul and MacKenzie, posses an array of field talents and legendary work ethic. Their speed on the trail and backcountry skills could put even the most rugged outdoorsman to shame. Foul weather, broken equipment and other deterrents do not appear to have any appreciable effect on these volunteers’ moods, work ethics or results. Without a doubt, this trio possess the passion and drive of true “Parkies.”
The volunteer work of the Freeze family is remarkable, to say the least. They are our humble trail heroes and their volunteer legacy will be etched in the trails of our Kootenay Parks and Protected Areas for years to come.
Community Partner of the Year – Sovereign Lake Nordic Club
The Sovereign Lake Nordic Club (SLNC) is a non-profit organization that operates the Sovereign Lake Nordic facilities within Silver Star Provincial Park. The SLNC has been an active partner with BC Parks for over 30 years. From the tireless efforts of the club’s board, volunteers and staff they have grown the club from its meager beginnings to one of the largest cross country ski clubs in Canada and one of the top Nordic facilities in North America. Over 50,000 visitors a winter use the facilities that the club maintains. The Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre is a key recreational feature for the greater Vernon area, not only is it an integral part of the local community, but it draws visitors from across North America to the area which contributes to the local economy.
2018 Award Winners
- 2018 Volunteer of the Year – Roger Bean
Roger Bean has been active volunteer at E.C. Manning Park for over two decades. He built a cabin at East Gate in 1996 and immersed himself in community life, park activities and wildlife research. A long- time advocate of trail improvements, he has spent countless hours working on projects related to improving visitor safety and access, particularly focused on backcountry ski routes in the park (e.g., Cambie Loop/Fat Dog Trails). He is a key resource for BC Parks ranger staff and often takes them on excursions to improve their knowledge and hone their skills in backcountry winter operations.
Roger is an active member of the Friends of Manning Park--a non-profit group which consists of recreational users that are passionate about and appreciate the historic, conservation and recreation values of E. C. Manning Park.
For the past several years, Roger has been engaged with delivering interpretative programs during the summer months at E.C. Manning Park that highlight his work on tracking and capturing incredible images of species at risk and wildlife movements in the park and greater North Cascades ecosystem. This photo and tracking work has also supported published wildlife research. Through his work as a volunteer fire fighter at East Gate, he has come to the aid of BC Parks during wildfire/rescue events (the most recently was in August 2018, thwarting the spread of an aggressive wildfire within Manning Park resort). He is a fixture at Gibson Pass Ski Hill, with his search and rescue dog, Chloe. Roger is always willing to take time to educate park users about the importance of avalanche and backcountry safety/preparedness and the role of his faithful dog companion, Chloe.
2018 Volunteer Group of the Year – North Okanagan Cycling Society
The North Okanagan Cycling Society (NOCS) has grown from a small group of rouge trail builders, to an 800 membership club that not only maintains extensive trail networks in three of our Parks, but has become a great ambassador for sustainable development and stewardship within the Parks. NOCS works diligently to direct the mountain bike community’s enthusiasm and passion for riding opportunities to be in line with BC Park’s mandate, values and processes.
Since 2006, NOCS has developed a multi-use trail system within 3 provincial parks (Kalamalka Lake, Ellison and Silver Star) that totals over 200kms of trail, which is used by close to 400,000 visitors annually. They accomplished this through volunteer time, in-kind donations and community outreach. The development of these trails came with very little operational expenses to BC Parks.
Not only are they providing an important service in maintaining these popular trails, they are also making BC Parks relevant by reaching a large and broad group within the community to get out, enjoy nature and support BC Parks.
2018 Volunteer Legacy Award – Ray Worley
Ray Worley's involvement in supporting the protection and management of Kalamalka Lake Park stretches over half a century. As a member of the local Naturalist club in the 1970’s Ray was in the forefront of the successful campaign to establish the Park. Over the years Ray has volunteered in a long list of roles and activities in support of the park.
Some highlights include chairing a Public Advisory Committee appointed to establish management direction for the new park and 15 years on the board of the Friends of Kalamalka Lake Park Society (FOKLP) of which he help found.
A long list of Ray’s volunteer activities within the park include serving as a Park Host, conducting visitor surveys, collecting visitor use information, participating in a community park watch program, conducting trail improvement and eco-system restoration projects, developing park brochures and park signage, spearheading the Parks 25th anniversary celebration, and providing valuable input into a boundary adjustment application and recent park management plan.
Last year Ray formally stepped down as an executive member for the FOKLP after 15 years. He is referred to by some within the community as "Mr. Kal Park." Over the past 50 years Ray has left a legacy giving countless thousands of dedicated volunteer hours in benefit of the Park and his community.
Ray is looking forward to enjoying the park for many more years and continuing to help Parks and Friends to preserve this very special park. We wish him all the best!
2018 Community Partner of the Year – Stephanie Hooker and Advantage Hope
AdvantageHOPE is Hope's Economic Development and Tourism Agency. The agency embraces the understanding that economic development within the community is achievable through tourism development and similar initiatives that showcase the unique natural assets that Hope and the surrounding area have to offer.
As a contractor to AdvantageHOPE, Stephanie Hooker’s role is Asset Development. Stephanie's contributions to BC Parks represent a significant ongoing, long term strategic and positive effort to improve park facilities and increase the ability of both residents and visitors from around the world to access our parks and connect with nature.
Some of the many projects that Stephanie and AdvantageHOPE have championed recently include; development of new interpretive signs for Coquihalla Canyon Park, trail development, trail planning, bridge construction, Trips and Trails brochure, Trails Master Planning process, Questathon App creation, strategic social media messaging, and installation of a radar traffic counter. All told, the many projects they have helped to foster in the community represent well over 1.5 million dollars of investment and at least 2200 volunteer hours! These projects have provided direct positive impacts to our park system, the District of Hope and all our shared visitors. Astounding!
2017 Award Winners
- 2017 Volunteer of the Year – Brian Moorhead
Brian MoorheadBrian Moorhead and his team
Individual Volunteer of the Year Recipient, Brian Moorhead, is always planning the next trail work to bring the trails within BC Parks to a high standard. Brian has spearheaded four major projects in the last decade:
1. Murrin Loop Trail
2. Murrin Loop Trail – Jurassic Park extension
3. Baseline Trail between the Chief main parking lot and the Apron parking area
4. Malamute Trail between the Chief main parking lot and the top of the Malamute
In Murrin Park, Brian achieved a high standard of sustainable, new trail construction through a previously low use section of the park while building community spirit, instilling a love of natural areas in countless volunteers and trail users and facilitating the development of new climbing areas which helps to deal with congestion in the busy park. The same can be said of his work at Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls. His efforts leave us with lasting and show case trail systems that protect the environment and provide much needed recreation opportunities in these high use parks.
Brian has had a great impact on local community and youth by taking a collaborative approach and leading with enthusiasm. He inspires everyone who works with him. Brian has also been a great liaison with the climbing community and is always personal and professional when bringing up issues that are important to the climbing community. No matter who you are in the community, you either know Brian or have heard of him. He is the face you see hard at work on some trail in any of these parks at any given time. He has touched youth and aged alike with his gentle good nature and witty humour, and his love of wild spaces.
2017 Volunteer Group of the Year – Mitlenatch Island Stewardship Team (MIST)
Volunteer Group of the year recipient, The Mitlenatch Island Stewardship Team (MIST), are distinguished and energetic individuals that bring unique value through their experience and perspectives to the stewardship of Mitlenatch Island Nature Park. They are also a pleasure to work with, great at interacting with park-visitors, and willing to take on other (less glamorous) tasks like weeding, painting, and picking up garbage. Mitlenatch Island Nature park is a marine protected area and Important Bird Area. Despite its significance, it is difficult for BC Parks to access and protect. MIST was created by people who were concerned about declining stewardship of the provincial park on Mitlenatch Island, and decided to take action. This includes public relations, education and outreach, conservation actions, fundraising, managing, recording and reporting park infractions and visitor trends and maintaining and improving facilities.
The quality of volunteers that MIST attracts is astounding, as well as their long-term commitment to the park. The individuals involved in MIST bring a unique set of skills, and have contributed continuously for many decades. The work of these volunteers has already had a lasting and positive impact on the island, and MIST is becoming larger and more active every year.
2017 Volunteer Legacy Award – Konrad and Gerda Feldmann)
Konrad and Gerda Feldmann
Konrad and Gerda Feldmann have been Park Hosts at Cold Fish Lake in Spatsizi Plateau Provincial Park for 7 seasons since 2001; one might say they are under the “Spatsizi spell”. They have been invaluable to the camp and BC Parks. Their job at the camp is to orientate visitors to the camp upon arrival, facilitate payment to the Nature Trust, ensure the facilities and cabins are clean, and carry out whatever small maintenance tasks BC Parks staff ask them to do (at their request). And, of course there’s always firewood to be chopped.
On top of the general host duties the Feldmann’s always take it to the next level by improving the camp through work projects and upgrades. Every year when the Park Rangers fly into camp for closing it is always noticeable that the Feldmann’s have been in camp. Without the use of any power tools; new steps to the host cabin, shelves in the cook house and host cabin, extensions to counter tops, and the addition of cabinets, are some of the carpentry projects that have been accomplished over the years. They have been a huge help in maintaining the existing trails around camp, as well as assisting in closing and clean up procedures at the end of the season.
They always go above and beyond what is required of them, whether it is that extra bit of customer service they provide to the Park visitors, to forfeiting their allotted flight weight to bring in extra comfort items in order for Konrad to bring his carpentry tools to fix up the facilities )or sometimes build new ones) It is not an easy trek to get into Coldfish Lake. The Feldmann’s drive to Tatogga Lake from their home in Burns Lake, a 650 kilometer journey! From there it is a 20-30 minute float plane ride (or a 50 km hike) to get to camp. That in itself is commitment!
2016 Award Winners
2016 Volunteer of the Year – Don Scott and David Webb
Don ScottDavid Webb
Volunteer of the Year recipients Don Scott and David Webb have been volunteering in the South Fraser area maintaining over 200km of trail annually, contributing over 750 hours of time in 2016. Don and David have worked in two BC Parks regions, four provincial parks (Chilliwack Lake, E.C. Manning, Skagit Valley and Cathedral provincial parks) and two ecological reserves (Skagit River Cottonwoods and Skagit River Forest). They have have mentored numerous volunteers and staff over the years and provide invaluable insight and advocacy with local community groups.
Equipment donations by Don and David were leveraged to finance multiple large-scale projects including two bridges in Skagit Valley and E.C. Manning provincial parks and 100m of boardwalk in Cathedral park.
2016 Volunteer Group of the Year – Caledonia Ramblers and Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society
Calendonia Ramblers building universal access pathway so that people with all abilities can enjoy Ancient Forest/Chun T'oh Whudujut Provincial ParkCaledonia Ramblers
Volunteer Group of the Year recipients with the Caledonia Ramblers have worked tirelessly to make the Ancient Forest/Chun T'oh Whudujut Park and protected area a reality, saving a globally significant area of the province. They were involved in meetings with government officials and collaborated with local First Nations and the University of Northern British Columbia to highlight the cultural and scientific significance of the area.
While regularly maintaining the area, the Caledonia Ramblers also built a 456 metre long universal access pathway so people with all abilities could enjoy the ancient cedars, and also built another 2210 metres of boardwalk to features such as Tree Beard, Radies Tree and Big Tree along with an extension to a magnificent waterfall. In their spare time the Caledonia Ramblers, under the umbrella of the Prince George Back Country Recreation Society, clear the trails in Eskers, Bobtail Mountain, Stuart River, Giscome Portage, Mount Pope, Evanoff, Fort George Canyon and Sugarbowl - Grizzly Den parks.
A crew of volunteers hard at work on Trestle #11Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society
Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park
Volunteer Group of the Year recipients with the Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society are involved with promoting and enhancing the trestles and trail in Myra Canyon since 1992 and has been an integral partner of BC Parks since Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park was established in 2001. The Society was integral in lobbing for the Myra Canyon to be established as a provincial park; the Society also applied to the National Historical Sites and Monuments Board to have the canyon designated as a place of national historical significance-- this designation was awarded in 2003.
The Myra Canyon Trestle Restoration Society helps maintain 18 trestles and 12 kms of trail which see over 80,000 visitors a year, providing essential services by clearing brush, fallen rocks and tress throughout the operating season. They also support and help facilitate many biking and running events held in Myra-Canyon, providing volunteers for some of the larger running and biking events, helping manage participants and park visitors.
2016 Volunteer Legacy Award – Ruby Dunstan
Ruby Dunstan, photographed at Laurel Point Park in Victoria, B.C., June 8, 2015
Photo credit: Chad Hipolito for The Globe and Mail
Ruby Dunstan, Volunteer Legacy award winner, has worked to protect the Stein Valley for more than 30 years. As a key negotiator in the formation of the park and current elder of the Lytton First Nation, Dunstan's direct involvement officially began with the signing of the Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux Heritage Park Co-Management Agreement between the Lytton First Nation and the Province of BC in 1995.
Since the signing of this agreement, Dunstan has served as co-chair for the Stein Management Board; she serves as an advocate for many varying local and national issues. Dunstan, whose main vocation was as a social worker, continues to provide guidance and knowledge, particularly to children in the area. She visits the local Stein Valley Nlaka'pamux School often, providing students with cultural education including the history and values of the Stein.
2016 Community Partner of the Year – Living Oceans Society
Karen Wristen with a passive marine debris collector bag
Raft Cove Provincial ParkVolunteers getting debris 'lift-ready' for removal to the GarBarge
Through their Clear the Coast program, Living Oceans Society has worked in partnership with BC Parks since 2013. Living Oceans Society initiatives include raising awareness of, locating, assessing and, where possible, responsibly removing and disposing of marine debris around Northern Vancouver Island. Living Oceans Society gathered over 10 tonnes of marine debris from the west end of Cape Scott Park. The Society also mounted an effort to collect and remove debris from the beaches and coves of Lanz and Cox Islands parks, providing habitat for diving ducks, white-winged scoters, great blue herons, bald eagles, Peale's peregrine falcons, fulmars, shearwaters, petrels, oystercatchers and gulls, some of which are dependent upon foreshore habitat for foraging.
Living Oceans Society's impact on the communities on the North Island is broad and immense, from engaging Park visitors and community members to participating in the passive collection program to engaging volunteers to help in the two week clear the coast expedition; all the while raising public awareness of marine debris on the west coast. Throughout the summer of 2016 marine debris was collected by volunteers at approximately 100 locations along Vancouver Island's West Coast from Cape Scott to Walbran River. A total of approximately 40 tonnes of material is retrieved so far!
2015 Award Winners
2015 Volunteer of the Year – Genevieve Singleton
Volunteer of the Year recipient Genevieve Singleton is a biologist, and has been volunteering with parks in the Cowichan-area for more than 35 years - contributing more than 300 hours per year. Her hard work over the years includes acting as a nature interpreter at Goldstream Provincial Park, leading the “Bring Back the Bluebird” effort in the Cowichan Valley, which included installing nest boxes and recording sightings, and efforts to remove invasive species in Cowichan River Provincial Park.
Singleton has also been an ecological reserve warden at Honeymoon Bay and led educational outings for local schoolchildren.
During her time volunteering, Singleton also works closely with her husband, who is a highly-respected restoration biologist.
2015 Volunteer Group of the Year – Friends of Cypress Provincial Park
Volunteer group of the year recipient Friends of Cypress Provincial Park (FCPP) have long been a driving force behind the protection and stewardship of Cypress Provincial Park, an iconic piece of Vancouver’s North Shore mountains.
Conservation has always been a focus for the FCPP, and its members are strong advocates for conservation values in the park.
In recent years, members of FCPP have spent hundreds of hours on conservation-related work, including native and invasive plant inventory, invasive plant removal, raising awareness of park values and invasive plants, and advocating for strong environmental management in the park.
The FCPP have also provided opportunities and resources for the public to learn about and the park’s ecological values, including leading interpretive hikes, creating a brochure highlighting plants of note in the park, and providing public presentations on the park and its values.
2015 Volunteer Legacy Award – Tim Jones (posthumous award)
The late Tim Jones, Volunteer Legacy Award recipient, is reported to have saved more than 1,600 lives, including those of many park visitors.
Over the course of his volunteer service, Jones led the North Shore Search and Rescue team on countless searches in Cypress and Mount Seymour provincial parks.
Jones was an outspoken advocate on the importance of backcountry preparedness and safety, and was regularly in the media promoting such safety tips.
Many of the rescues Jones participated in through his years with North Shore Search and Rescue took place in provincial parks located along the North Shore.
In January 2014, Jones died from cardiac arrest while hiking in Mount Seymour Provincial Park.
2015 Community Partner of the Year – Camping and RVing BC Coalition
Kentucky-Alleyne Provincial Park, photo credit to Iain Robert Reid Photography.
Community Partner of the Year, the Camping and RVing British Columbia Coalition (CRVBCC), is a non-profit group raising awareness about the wide range of camping and RV experiences across British Columbia.
The Coalition helps enhance visitor experiences by allowing visitors to easily search, plan and book their camping or RV trip in B.C.
Through social media, newsletters and mail campaigns, the support of the Coalition has been essential in helping promote BC Parks events, reservations service, and other BC Parks projects to the public.
Collaboration between Coalition partners, which include Recreation Sites and Trails BC, the BC Lodging and Campgrounds Association, and the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, has directly helped visitors attend and explore B.C.’s provincial parks.
2014 Award Winners
2014 Volunteer of the Year – Ken Matheson
Ken Matheson first volunteered with BC Parks to create a film about Khutzeymateen park. He continued on to produce a Bowron Lake park orientation film and a second trip-planning video for the park’s webpage. As an independent filmmaker, Ken blends his passion for the environment with visual storytelling to engage and capture his audience. The resulting film provides a powerful outreach tool for managing the fragile balance between recreation and conservation in B.C.’s protected areas.
To produce the video for Khutzeymateen park, Ken organized logistics and equipment needs, built a relationship with Lax Kw’alaams First Nation, and spent many hours editing and narrating the finished product. The collaboration and participation of the Lax Kw’alaams community was a huge part of the success of the Khutzeymateen project. By taking the time to meet and engage the community, Ken ensured the project received tremendous support and gratitude from Lax Kw’alaams on the process and final result. The Hereditary Chief was brought into the Khutzeymateen to tell stories and sing songs on camera. This Chief had not been in the Khutzeymateen in a decade; the experience was moving for all involved. This turned out to be the last trip to this remote area for the Chief as he passed away shortly after the film was completed. The footage captured of the Chief’s experience was passed along to his family to share with the younger generations, and to serve as a reminder of their Elder and his vision to protect this land he so deeply loved.
Building on the experience with his first BC Parks film, Ken has continued on to create an engaging and informational film documenting the history and importance of Bowron Lake park from the 1800’s to present. The film showcases the beauty and values of this pristine wilderness canoe circuit. Two years in the making, the film is in final stages of development and will be ready for release for the 2015 operational season.
Ken’s deep respect for the wilderness and passion for parks are woven together throughout his films. His generous donation of time, creative expertise and equipment will ensure BC Parks’ continued protection and preservation of Khutzeymateen and Bowron Lake parks through on-going public education and shared stewardship that fosters respect and support for these magnificent wilderness places.
2014 Volunteer Group of the Year – Friends of South Slopes
Friends of South Slopes (FOSS) has been involved in promoting and protecting the South Slopes area of Kelowna for over 18 years; they have also helped manage the Crawford Trail system in Myra-Bellevue park since its designation in 2001. FOSS has also helped manage Okanagan Mountain park since the fire in 2003. FOSS currently has 136 registered members and from 75 to 100 non-registered members that volunteer time on behalf of FOSS. Their membership consists of a diverse demographic with a great range in age and a mixed group from the hiking, mountain biking, naturalist and equestrian communities. This community trust allows them to raise significant funds each year, which goes directly into the parks in the form of volunteer support, equipment, materials, signage and contractor costs.
Myra-Bellevue and Okanagan Mountain parks are within close proximity to Kelowna and are very popular recreation areas for both residents and tourists. The trail systems in these parks offer recreational opportunities for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian enthusiasts. The Crawford trail system in Myra-Bellevue alone sees close to 50,000 visitors annually and its popularity is growing every year. Over the years, FOSS has been instrumental in upgrading and maintaining over 60 trails, totaling 196kms, in Myra-Bellevue and Okanagan Mountain parks.
In 2003, both Myra-Bellevue and Okanagan Mountain parks were ravaged by wildfire; though fire is a natural process, the effects on the trail infrastructure was severe. The fire created major erosion issues, continuous danger tree and windfall issues and, in later years, major trail brushing requirements. These effects are still ongoing today, 11 years after the fire. FOSS was instrumental in repairing these popular trail systems.
FOSS is proactive in reaching out to the community and connects with the public through its website (http://foss-kelowna.org/), newsletters, and Facebook page. FOSS is also active in encouraging youth to get out and enjoy nature; they developed an interpretive trail in Myra-Bellevue that draws numerous school groups annually. An “adopt-a-trail” program was created in 2007 to allow an individual or a group of volunteers to adopt a specific trail or portion of trail that they are responsible to maintain. FOSS developed an excellent volunteer’s “Guide to Trail Maintenance” manual for their volunteers that will be used as a resource for other volunteers and groups around the province.
FOSS continues to develop creative solutions to maintain a large and maintenance intensive trail system, such as the adopt-a-trail and trail sponsorship programs. Not only are they providing an important service in maintaining these popular trails, they are also making BC Parks relevant by reaching a large and broad group within the community to get out, enjoy nature and support BC Parks.
2014 Volunteer Legacy Award – Ross Keller
Since 2005, Ross Keller has dedicated thousands of hours to the Hənʎəmdᶻi Məkola/Yorke Island conservancy, located off the east coast of Vancouver Island. Yorke Island Battery was built between 1939 and 1945, with searchlights, large guns, and over sixty support buildings to defend against a potential Japanese invasion during the Second World War. The post was decommissioned in 1946 when the threat of attack diminished, and nature quickly began reclaiming the island.
Ross’ interest and enthusiasm for Yorke Island began prior to the island becoming a conservancy in 2007. He spent hundreds of hours gathering historical information from the National Archives, visited each remaining veteran who had served at Yorke Island during the Second World War, and spoke with the families of people who had served at the isolated post, collecting a wealth of stories before they were lost forever.
After the conservancy was established, Ross cleaned out several historical buildings, made a photo inventory, helped construct the one toilet on the island, and continues to maintain the trail network and update the inventory of historical artifacts around the island. He has taken family members and countless others on tours around the island, and if a veteran or family member cannot attend, he takes the time to offer virtual tours.
Ross organized the 70th anniversary of military presence on the island, enabling two veterans who served on Yorke Island to return one last time. In 2014, he organized an event on the island to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first military personnel arriving. He coordinated the efforts of BC Parks, Canadian Armed Forces, Western Command Military Historical Vehicle Society, Sayward Valley Legion, Campbell River Search and Rescue, Sayward Community Futures, the Village of Sayward, and others. On the island, Ross toured groups around and everyone participated in a formal ceremony to remember those who fought at Yorke Island. Ross made this anniversary of commemorating the sacrifices and achievements of those who served Canada during WWII possible and a great success.
Ross has engaged the greater community including Campbell River, the Village of Sayward, and businesses in the surrounding areas. Ross’ efforts have resulted in renewed interest into a long forgotten historical military base, re-emerging from the forests and back into the community, and enhanced the cultural aspect of B.C.’s parks and protected areas.
The 15th Field Artillery Regiment presented Ross with an appointment to Honorary Battery Commander of Yorke Island Battery for his efforts in protecting the history and place of Yorke Island. This is the highest civilian honour and the greatest effort of any person in the protection of memory and history of the 15th Field Artillery Regiment. Ross has even earned the nickname “Mayor of Yorke” and he often jokes it’s an “easy title to get when I am the only voter.” Ross’ enthusiasm and dedication represents what the BC Parks volunteer program stands for.
2014 Community Partner of the Year –
Marine Parks Forever Society
The BC Marine Parks Forever Society (MPFS) was created in 1989 by the Council of B.C. Yacht Clubs to assist with the acquisition and development of provincial marine parks. It is a non-profit, volunteer run organization with members that care deeply about marine parks. Since 1989, MPFS has contributed over $1.2 million towards the acquisition of marine park lands valued at over $16 million. This includes lands at Pirates Cove, Smugglers Cove, Wallace Island, Jedediah Island, Musket Island, Hardy Island, Wakes Cove, Octopus Islands, Allison Harbour, Squitty Bay and Small Inlet Marine Parks.
MPFS shared BC Parks’ vision to expand the protected areas on Quadra Island. MPFS raised their agreed contribution from $100,000 to $433,000. Their ability to raise funds brought in other partners to make this acquisition happen.
In addition to raising funds for land acquisition, MPFS has produced brochures and booklets of marine charts for BC Parks. MPFS has been a tremendous asset in advocating and advertising marine parks through more than fifty yacht clubs along the B.C. coast. In the past year, MPFS saw an opportunity to partner with BC Parks on marine recreation facilities. A stern tie project has been initiated in a number of parks to create safe, ecologically friendly mooring for the boating community.
MPFS raises funds through onations, bequests and selling books on marine parks. They have provided substantial financial leverage over the years that has allowed BC Parks to create a significant number of marine parks with key recreational opportunities. They are an important advocate for the boating community and their support is vital to a strong etwork of marine parks.
2013 Award Winners
2013 Volunteer of the Year – Joan Sawicki
Joan has been volunteering in the Bella Coola area provincial parks for over 10 years, making an extraordinary contribution to both operation and management aspects. Her tireless efforts have had far reaching impacts, helping to connect the community to provincial parks.
Joan organizes a local volunteer group to assist BC Parks staff with organizing events, reviewing operational strategies and management plans, trail work, invasive weed management and facility maintenance.
In 2013, Joan developed a local communication strategy to aid BC Parks staff in engaging the local communities. She also wrote articles in the local newspaper highlighting the work BC Parks staff have been doing to repair flood damaged facilities, helped organize a grand opening of the trails and foot bridges, and developed a comprehensive sign inventory for all front country areas.
Joan helped draft the operational manual for the bear viewing station in Tweedsmuir South park. Joan has assisted with trail work on several front country trails and conducted a firewood harvesting inventory throughout the Atnarko corridor. She also regularly picks up garbage – a seemingly small task with a profound impact.
Joan’s work, infused with passion and determination, is demonstrated through better maintained facilities, more efficient operational programs, and outstanding community engagement.
Steven Hodgson, BC Parks area supervisor, nominated Joan.
2013 Volunteer Group of the Year – Friends of West Kootenay Parks
Friends of West Kootenay Parks (FWKP) has been a major contributor to fundraising and park stewardship in the Kootenays since 1988. The Friends have been involved with the restoration of historical cabins, replacement of park facilities, funding for major projects, as well as funding and volunteers to run environmental education and interpretation programs at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park.
FWKP has a long history of working with parks, enhancing provincial parks and protected areas, and providing environmental education to park users.
- Silver Spray Cabin
- Slocan Chief historic interpretive cabin
- Pilot Bay Lighthouse
- Environmental education and interpretation at the Kokanee Visitor Centre
- Has been a partner in every major BC Parks outreach initiative in the West Kootenays
2013 Volunteer Legacy Award – Roland Brown
Roland Brown is a legendary volunteer at provincial parks in the Cowichan Valley on Vancouver Island, dedicating over 25 years of energy to parks and the surrounding community. A logger and a naturalist, Roland has touched all corners of the community and is often described as selfless and genuine.
His work can be seen throughout Bright Angel Provincial Park where he was instrumental in constructing the trail system, buildings and suspension bridge over the Koksilah River. Every year, he collected garbage from the river in scuba gear.
Roland spent decades building and maintaining the Cowichan Valley Footpath in Cowichan River Provincial Park, acquiring an intimte knowledge of the trail that he enjoyed sharing with others.
Roland played a role in the long-term success of vulnerable salmon stocks in the area, taking part in restoration projects that fostered a rebound in salmon population in the Cowichan River, Koksilah River, and Busy-Place Creek. He also spent many hours working to restore the values of Somenos Marsh and Cowichan Bay protected areas.
Roland’s work extended far beyond the boundaries of BC Parks. He has previously been recognized for his contributions with a BC Achievement Award.
Don Closson, BC Parks area supervisor, nominated Roland.
2013 Community Partner of the Year – Hakai Beach Institute
In 2009, Eric Peterson and Christina Munck purchased and transformed a high-end fishing lodge in Hakai Pass into a non-profit research and educational institute.
The Hakai Beach Institute partners with BC Parks, First Nations and other organizations to make positive contributions to conservation, education and cultural values.
The community-focused institute works closely with BC Parks to provide education and awareness of our natural environment. They have partnered specifically with BC Parks on research related to climate change, archaeology, long-term ecological monitoring. They also undertake research initiatives within the Hakai Luxvbalis Conservancy, Koeye Conservancy, Namu Conservancy, Penrose Island Marine Park and Owikeno Conservancy.
The institute works to help enhance our knowledge of and protect our conservation lands, helping to improve our natural environment. Hakai Beach Institute is truly one of a kind in their operations.
Bree Matthewman, BC Parks area supervisor, nominated the Hakai Beach Institute.
2012 Award Winners
2012 Volunteer of the Year – Jarrett TeagueJarrett has been volunteering at John Dean Provincial Park on Southern Vancouver Island since 1989. Jarrett’s first experience with the park was at the age of 7 on a visit to the park with his father – he’s been hooked ever since. In 1989, age 15 he recognized its potential as the first donated park in the Province of British Columbia, and the home of the last remaining old-growth forest on the Saanich Peninsula. Since that time he has worked tirelessly to preserve its beauty, protect its natural values, and to make it more accessible and enjoyable for visitors.
Jarrett’s long service for BC Parks at John Dean can be seen virtually everywhere in the park. From his creation, restoration, and maintenance of the hand carved signage throughout the trail system, to his maintenance of trail water bars and culverts, to the absence of garbage and English ivy.
Over the years Jarrett has become a very familiar face to many park visitors. He is recognized by many as a subject matter expert on all things having to do with the history of the park. He is always open to questions from visitors, and on request, has treated people and groups to guided walks through some of the historical gems of this Provincial Park.
Jarrett’s passion for the history of this place and its namesake has resulted in him writing and publishing 4 books on the subject and establishing and maintaining a website dedicated to providing current and historical information on the park and John Dean (http://www.johndeanpark.com/). When Jarrett is not volunteering his valuable time at John Dean he is a husband and the proud father of 2 young boys. Jarrett is also an active member of the Canadian Armed Forces, stationed at CFB Esquimalt.
2012 Volunteer Group of the Year – Shuswap Trails AllianceThe Shuswap Trails Alliance (STA) has been volunteering with BC Parks for 7 years of across the Shuswap and North Okanagan Areas. They work collaboratively to create efficiencies in trail building, marketing, conservation, research, protection, maintenance, and planning.
Among other achievements, the Shuswap Trails Alliance has:
- Created a bridge not only between BC Parks and communities in the North Okanagan and Shuswap, but also between BC Parks, local First Nations and other local communities.
- Upgraded or constructed and maintained many km of trail in BC Parks – much of which is considered a major tourist draw to local communities.
- Conducted valuable research on wildlife, plant and water resources in BC Parks – much of which is being used by BC Parks staff and ecological reserve wardens.
- Successfully protected a multitude of wetland areas from motor vehicle destruction.
2012 Volunteer Legacy Award – Joop BurgerjonJoop Bergerjon has been the secretary, treasurer, web master, and driving force behind the Sargeant Bay Society since 1978. The society is a Not-for-Profit, Non-Government Organization, whose objective is the protection of the natural habitat of Sargeant Bay, its watershed and neighbouring wetlands. Joop has been a committed volunteer for over 40 year to BC Parks.
Sargeant Bay is part of the Georgia Strait and situated on the Sunshine Coast, 8 km west of the village of Sechelt. Much of this area is located within Sargeant Bay Provincial Park, which protects 145 ha of diverse shoreline, wetland, forest and bog, and 5 ha of marine foreshore. In its role as a volunteer stewardship organization the Sargeant Bay Society works closely with BC Parks.
Joop helped to create the original vision for the society, promoting the protection of the bay from development, and was instrumental in leading the initial task of restoring the wetland and its associated wildlife habitats. His vision and quiet leadership role in protecting and restoring the natural values and recreational opportunities of the park have continued to grow and expand through decades of involvement in the park.
Joop has been tirelessly committed to Sargeant Bay Park since the Sargeant Bay Society was first formed in 1978. He has worked hard to enhance every aspect of the Park; protecting its natural values, developing its recreational features, and educating park visitors to understand and appreciate the park and its role in the system. His enthusiasm and commitment attracts other volunteers to join in his efforts. It takes individuals like Joop to keep a group like the Sargeant Bay Society active, engaged and relevant for almost four decades.
2012 Community Partner of the Year – Horne Lake Caves
In 2011 BC Parks signed a formal partnership agreement (MoU) with the Canadian Cave Conservancy (CCC); BC Speological Federation (BCSF); Vancouver Island Cave Exploration Group (VICEG) and Island Pacific Adventures (IPA). This MOU that has national, provincial, regional and private business interests formalizes our shared stewardship and sponsorship for Horne Lake Caves Park. The agreement supports our shared goals of preserving the unique karsts features of the park and educating park visitors on the importance of caves.
The Canadian Cave Conservancy (CCC) and its affiliated cave groups, BC Speological Federation (BCSF) and Vancouver Island Cave Exploration Group (VICEG) have been involved with Horne Lake Caves Park prior to the park being designated in 1971. The Canadian Cave Conservancy groups have been involved in all aspects of Horne Lake Caves Park from operating cave tours to facility enhancement, public education and conservation management.
Island Pacific Adventures (IPA) has been successfully operating Horne Lake Caves Park for over 20 years as the Park Facility Operator. In the past 20 years IPA has been a key component to the success of the park visitors experience and promotion of cave protection. The company and its owner Richard Varela have received numerous regional tourism awards for the promotion of Horne Lake Caves Park.
The Canadian Cave Conservancy, BC Speleological Federation, and Vancouver Island Cave Exploration Group also provide support to other provincial cave parks in B.C. The members of these groups respond to cave rescues, provide advice on cave mapping, protection of significant sites and input into park management plans.
The CCC, BCSF, VICEG, and IPA have contributed in providing financial, labour resources and expertise in maximizing BC Parks dollars on park enhancements for cave protection and public education. The CCC has been instrumental in supporting the new Horne lake Caves Visitor Centre, the only cave education centre in Canada.
2010 Award Winners
Volunteer of the Year – Gerry Roberts
2010 Volunteer of the Year – Gerry RobertsAs an avid outdoor enthusiast and park supporter Gerry began volunteering in the Strathcona Park 23 years ago assisting with trail work and other developments. With the formation of the Strathcona Wilderness Institute (SWI), Gerry found a perfect niche helping the non-profit organization in partnership with BC Parks, to promote environmental awareness and educate park visitors and the local communities about the importance of protecting Provincial Parks.
As a member of SWI, Gerry has graciously donated his time and energy for the past 11 years --managing the Strathcona Provincial Parks Buttle Lake Visitor Information Hut. From June through September, Gerry spends every Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Holiday Mondays volunteering his time there.
The services he provides to park visitors while at this hut are indispensable. With his intimate knowledge of the park, Gerry assists park visitors with their questions, provides valuable guidance with trip planning, explains natural history, and encourages them to leave no trace.
During an average year, Gerry volunteers over 450 hours of his time to Strathcona Park. Throughout a typical summer, he reaches out to over 1800 visitors from all over the world – Australia, Germany, Spain, Africa, Egypt,to name only a few. Gerry also goes above and beyond normal volunteer duties, providing services and ready to help with the unexpected.
2010 Community Involvement Award – Strathcona Expedition Committee
In July and August 2010, the Strathcona Centennial Expedition re-enacted the original 1910 Ellison expedition that led to the creation of Strathcona Provincial Park in 1911. The expedition was made up of a group of dedicated volunteers, including member of the Strathcona Park Public Advisory Committee, who took a leadership role in all aspects of the expedition. Not only was the expedition a huge success but it has helped build community support, partnerships and a long term legacy fund for Strathcona Provincial Park and BC Parks.
Among other things, the expedition successfully completed the following:
- Raised over $25,000 in sponsorship money and well over $5,000 worth of in-kind donations to cover all the costs of the expedition
- Created a long term legacy fund for Strathcona Provincial Park
- Sold t-shirts to promote the expedition and raise money for the expedition and Strathcona Provincial Park and garnered donations from the public.
- Engaged community partners to get involved with the expedition
- Held two community events (Campbell River and Port Alberni) involving local government officials, local tourism and community groups, museums and First Nations.
- Raised awareness and support for Strathcona Provincial Park, BC Parks and the BC Parks Centennial in 2011
- Brought together a diverse group of stakeholders in a positive and inspiring fashion to work together to support Strathcona Provincial Park
- The leader of the expedition, Phil Stone, developed a dynamic website to promote the expedition and Strathcona Provincial Park, highlight sponsorship and partnership opportunities, and provide information to the public and the media
2008 Award Winners
2008 Volunteer of the Year – Roy Harker
Roy’s contribution to the conservation of the Snowy Protected Area is invaluable and his impact impossible to overestimate. BC Parks is grateful for his thorough and extensive work to maintain the trail, cabins, and other facilities in such a remote wilderness setting. His hard work and commitment to conservation and all the inhabitants of the Snowy Protected Area is greatly appreciated. To read more about Roy Harker, please visit the BC Parks Volunteers blog.
2008 Community Involvement Award – Maple Bay Yacht Club
The Maple Bay Yacht Club is the recipient of the Community Involvement Award in recognition of the club’s dedication and effort towards the Provincial Marine Park system in British Columbia. The Award is presented to a team who through collaborative efforts achieves a significant benefit to a park, the parks system and its visitors.
The Maple Bay Yacht Club members’ efforts in providing marine park host services for the past 22 years, is truly a remarkable legacy of dedication and service that thousands of park visitors have benefited from.
Thanks to club members, park visitors enjoy approximately 85 days a year of volunteer host presence in a spectacular natural setting. Their provision of visitor information services, response to public safety issues, and assistance with medical emergencies is invaluable. The Club’s annual beach and trail cleanups are deeply appreciated, as is the detailed yearly report on visitation and facility management issues. BC Parks is grateful for the club’s ongoing commitment to Pirates Cove Marine Park and marine conservation and recreation.
2006 Award Winners
2006 Volunteer of the Year – Syd Watts
Many volunteers demonstrate an incredible passion and commitment to their work; Syd Watts does more than this. His dedication and involvement with BC Parks for the last 23 years is to be commended. He has been a teacher, a mentor and a champion for parks and protected lands. His work as an Ecological Reserve Warden is a model of inspiration to others and his hard work in protecting B.C.’s natural and cultural assets at Mount Tzouhalem Ecological Reserve has been appreciated and will remain a lasting legacy for years to come.
2006 Community Involvement Award – The Strathcona Park Disabled Access Trail & Outdoor Centre project
The Community Involvement Award is given to an organization or project that has achieved significant benefits to the parks system and the partners involved. The Strathcona Park Disabled Access Trail & Outdoor Centre project is recognized for its outstanding contribution in the delivery of park services.