Freshwater anglers and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy improved access to lakes across the province thanks to a $600,000 provincial grant to the B.C. Wildlife Federation.
BCWF’s Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Program will upgrade up to 20 docks in regions throughout B.C. during the two-year Outdoor Access Improvement Project. Funded by B.C.’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program and Columbia Basin Trust, the project will improve accessibility for all community members, including seniors and those with disabilities, and will be undertaken with the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC and local contractors.
Initiatives include installing transition ramps and bumper rails to docks, adding accessible infrastructure, including picnic tables and washrooms, and making the trails leading to these areas more accessible.
The improvements will create safer and more accessible outdoor spaces for community members of all abilities and provide more opportunities to fish, go for walks and support the local outdoor retail industry, as well as other local service businesses across B.C.
“The Outdoor Access Improvement Project is a great opportunity to increase the mobility-impaired access to docks throughout the province. Due to COVID-19 many fishing spots have become busier,” says Tobias Roehr, BCWF Fish Habitat Restoration and Education Coordinator.
“Our goal is to increase accessibility while providing employment and economic stimulus in communities throughout B.C. Funding provided by the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program, Columbia Basin Trust, and in-kind support from various communities and groups such as the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC have enabled us to carry out this project and it’s great to see many different organizations working together to improve accessibility in B.C.”
The recreational fishing industry in B.C. generates roughly $480 million each year and supports thousands of jobs, including many indirect jobs in retail and the service industry through fishing tourism.
While 2020 had undeniable impacts on the industry and on the public’s ability to go fishing and enjoy other outdoor activities, the vast changes COVID-19 brought has also prompted many to look for new ways to get outdoors and enjoy what B.C. has to offer.
The project will not only provide long-lasting improvements to these outdoor spaces, but will directly impact all communities involved as BCWF looks to hire local contractors and source supplies from smaller, local businesses.
Additional in-kind support is coming from BC Parks, Recreation Sites and Trails BC and other local community groups and BCWF affiliated clubs.
The B.C. Wildlife Federation is British Columbia’s leading conservation organization. As a province-wide member-driven charitable organization with more than 43,000 members and 100+ member clubs, the BCWF works to protect, enhance and promote the wise use of the environment for the benefit of present and future generations.