Last Friday night I had a rude awakening and, hopefully, this letter will shock other B.C. residents into taking action. Our beautiful province is in big trouble with no end to the problems in sight.
From the time I learned to read my Dads outdoor magazines, it became obvious that B.C. was blessed by a super abundance of fish and game and other natural wonders.
Little did I dream that someday all these wonders would be within my reach and Ive enjoyed the bounty for almost 50 years now. Even today, I brag about the fact that after all that time, I still seem to find new fishing holes every year. And that could be why Ive never realized that our richness was slowly fading away.
Almost anyone who lives or visits the Columbia Valley is here because of the natural beauty, the abundance of wildlife and the opportunity to engage in various outdoor pursuits. We are richer because of it. But the people who control the purse strings dont give our wild resources much value. That is why the allotment for resource management in B.C. is the lowest of any province in Canada and doesnt even come close to that of neighboring states such as Idaho and Washington. For example, the per capita spending for protecting and preserving the environment in Idaho is $65. In B.C. its a paltry seven dollars!
While the provincial budget has doubled, the budget for fish and game has declined by 56 per cent. There isnt enough money for planning or research or even proper enforcement of the regulations. The fish and wildlife branch has been so decimated that local offices havent even had clerical staff for many years. So who is out enforcing the regulations or trying to find the solution to problems? Nobody!
Many wildlife populations are only a small fraction of what they used to be. That is true for mule deer, whitetail deer, moose and caribou. And nobody can pinpoint the exact reasons, because there is no money for research. The slide will continue unless we let our elected officials know how much the environment means to us all.
Do your part. Go online to the B.C. Wildlife Federation website and sign the petition. Write some letters. Question the candidates before election time. Join the local rod and gun club. Stand up for the things you hold dear the environment.