B.C. provincial park rangers get layoff notices
B.C.'s Ministry of the Environment is laying off up to half of its park rangers this summer, CBC News has learned, and that means many provincial parks will have to share rangers.
Valhalla Provincial Park Ranger Bob Fuhrer told CBC News he fully expected to be back on the job this summer, but last week, he got a layoff notice.
Fuhrer has worked at the Kootenay park for 15 years, but recently learned that three out of the five summer rangers who work in parks in the West Kootenay region have been laid off, along with a similar number in East Kootenay parks.
A ministry official has since confirmed similar layoffs are happening at provincial parks across B.C.
Fuhrer said he's grown to love patrolling the mountains and lakeshore of Valhalla Provincial Park, but for the first time since it was created, it will not have a dedicated ranger this summer.
"You know, I was pretty devastated," said Fuhrer. "The people who work in parks aren't doing it because of the big money. You know, it becomes a love affair with your park."
Valhalla Wilderness Society chairperson Anne Sherrod called the cuts shameful.
"Here we have a government that is throwing around billions for the Olympics and slashing our park system so it almost doesn't exist," she said.
Sherrod said she was surprised that the Liberals would instigate the layoffs during an election campaign, and her group plans to take the issue up with Premier Gordon Campbell when he arrives to campaign in the Kootenays on Monday afternoon.
B.C. voters head to the polls on May 12.