Over the past decade, there has been an increase in protected areas within British Columbia, culminating in 12% of the provincial land base in 2005. Also during this time, the academic community has accumulated a diverse and interdisciplinary body of research related to the planning, development and management of parks and protected areas (PPA).
Current initiatives to link researchers with PPA management lack regional focus and do not facilitate ongoing communication between stakeholders. As a result, there is a need for infrastructure and support to facilitate collaborative efforts around PPA initiatives. In 1998 and 2001, the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba respectively, addressed this same need by establishing protected areas research forums (PRFOntario, PPARFManitoba). During the spring of 2005, representatives from major academic institutions in BC and provincial and federal parks agencies met in Victoria to propose a similar provincial forum modeled after the Ontario and Manitoba PPAR forums.
The primary activities of BCPARF are the periodic conferences. We have held province wide conferences in 2006 (Royal Roads University), 2008 (University of Northern British Columbia) 2011 conference (UBC) and the upcoming 2013 conference at TRU.