Canadians celebrate Parks Day

Time to get out into one of the many provincial and national parks across the country

Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park north of Nelson

Kokanee Glacier Provincial Park north of Nelson

Saturday, July 20 is Parks Day, an annual event celebrating the abundant natural spaces for all sorts of recreational activities that Canadians enjoy.

A press release from the Ministry of Environment notes Parks Day was first celebrated in 1990 and thousands of people mark the occasion by visiting parks and historic sites across Canada.

British Columbia has one of the biggest parks and protected areas systems in North America and there are at least a dozen park facilities within a few hours drive of Castlegar, including the Provincial Parks of Nancy Green, Beaver Creek, Syringa and Champion Lakes.

Across the West Kootenays, there are 11 Provincial Park campgrounds and one day use park, in addition to many other natural spaces without official designation.

More information about each can be viewed online at www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/ or by stopping in at any visitor centre where free BC Parks Passport’s can be obtained. With these passports, parks visitors can collect six stamps at over 200 participating provincial parks to earn a collectible prize, and six stickers from a BC Visitor Centre to earn other items. Passports also include advice on trip-planning and BC Visitor Centre coupons.

Almost 20 million people visit British Columbia’s provincial parks each year, made more accessible in 2011 when parking fees were eliminated at provincial parks.