Cowichan River Provincial Park, a 750-hectare park located west of Duncan, will be expanded by 39 hectares.
The provincial government announced it has acquired the privately owned land for $570,000 in partnership with the BC Parks Foundation.
In a news release, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said the new, heavily treed parkland has extensive waterfront and contains portions of the Trans Canada Trail and the Cowichan River Footpath.
The release also said the acquisition will further protect the park’s heritage river corridor.
Alison Nicholson, the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s director for Electoral Area E in which a part of Cowichan River Provincial Park is located, said the acquisition of the property is “great news.”
“I think we should go for more land along the Cowichan and Koksilah rivers, which are super important ones in the region,” she said.
“These rivers and the land around them need to be protected.”
Ian Morrison, the CVRD’s director for Electoral Area F in which the rest of the park is situated, said it’s great whenever the province adds more land to parks in B.C.
“I’m thrilled that they’ve added more land to that park to make it more usable for people to recreate in,” he said.
In all, the province paid more than $2.47 million to buy in excess of 229 hectares of land to expand seven provincial parks and one protected area in B.C.
“Our parks and protected areas are rich with biodiversity and provide critical habitat for numerous species,” said George Heyman, minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.
“By working with our partners, the ecological, recreational and cultural values of these unique and special places will be protected and enjoyed for years to come.”
Through the acquisition of private land and partnerships with conservation groups, individual donors, the BC Parks Foundation and supporters, the province regularly adds land to the parks and protected areas system in B.C., which is one of the largest parks systems in the world.
The province will now consult with First Nations’ governments about adding these lands to the parks system, and will then undertake a number of additional steps to legally establish them as parks and protected areas.
“Growing our park system is important, and growing our understanding about our place and nature is just as important,” said Kelly Greene, parliamentary secretary for Environment.
“Increasingly, our parks offer us the opportunity to appreciate the importance of Indigenous knowledge and teachings to better understand the changes happening to the land.”
British Columbia has 1,036 provincial parks, recreation areas, conservancies, ecological reserves and protected areas covering more than 14 million hectares, or approximately 14.4 per cent of the provincial land base.