By Eric Elliott

Pioneer Staff

Tired of the bland license plates featuring a white background with uninspiring blue letters? Lucky for you the province has designed several new specialty license plates featuring some of the proudest landmarks British Columbia has to offer.

Environment Minister Mary Polak and Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone unveiled the three license plate designs last week in partnership with the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC).

I encourage everyone to show their British Columbia pride and purchase

a B.C. Parks licence plate to do their part to help protect these spectacular natural spaces for future generations, Ms. Polak said. All net proceeds go toward preserving and protected our world-renowned parks system.”

The legendary Kermode bear is a rare species of black bear, found only in British Columbia between the Burke Channel in the south and roughly up the Nass River in the north, is featured on one of the license plate designs, as are the local Purcell Mountains, and a stunning view from Porteau Cove overlooking Howe Sound making up the other two options for the specialty plates.

With these new license plates, British Columbians can show just how much we love our world-class parks, Ric Careless, chair for B.C. Parks said. The sales of the plates will add extra dedicated money to the enhanced funding government is investing in our parks. So now, even when stuck in traffic, looking at the parks license plate on the car ahead, you will be reminded of the beautiful natural protected places across B.C. that you can visit and escape to.”

B.C. provincial parks receive more than 23 million visitors each year, managing the third-largest parks system in North America, behind the United States National Park Service and Parks Canada. Over the past five years, the province has invested approximately $60 million in park facilities, delivering projects directed at attracting young families, offering new recreation opportunities and increasing attendance.

The new specialty plates are part of the B.C. Parks Future Strategy, aimed at investing $22.9 million to build 1,900 new campsites and will be allocating other future funds for recreation and conservation initiatives which will include hiring more park rangers.

Motorists can show their support through purchasing a new specialty license plate for the cost of $50 for the initial purchase and a $40 annual renewal fee. All net proceeds from the sale and ongoing renewals of B.C. Parks license plates will be re-invested back into the provincial parks through the Park Enhancement Fund.