PARKSVILLE – From its hugely popular park passports to its new ‘text-to-donate to kids programs,’ BC Parks is big on families, Environment Minister Terry Lake announced. While BC Parks has long benefitted from donations, its new mobile-giving program signals a move into the 21st century and donating has never been easier. With the view to nurturing and expanding kids’ appreciation and
understanding of the natural world, BC Parks is introducing the text to donate program to contribute funds to new kids programs.

All potential donors need to do is text “BCPARKS” to 45678 to donate $5 dollars. The donation will be added to their next cellphone bill and 100 per cent of every donation ($5 dollars for each text with a monthly limit of six texts) will be spent on children’s programs.

For example, Learn to Fish, sponsored by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC, is a children’s program currently offered in some provincial parks. Information about both text-to-donate and Learn to Fish and lots more is available in BC Parks passports.

Kids of all ages can also have some fun with the passports. BC Parks introduced the successful program for the first time last year. It’s geared towards families but everyone can join in the adventure. Collect six stamps or stickers and win a prize – it’s that easy. Passports are free, good for two years, and can be picked up at any visitor centre in B.C. and most provincial parks.

Passport holders can choose from more than 200 parks or visitor centres provincewide. The idea is to collect six stamps from one or more provincial parks during 2012 and earn a coveted, collectible Jerry the Moose pin, and earn another, different pin, the following year. Also, for every six unique Visitor Centre stickers, the reward is an environmentally friendly water bottle.

Along with the chance to collect stamps and stickers to win awards, the passport includes advice on trip planning and Visitor Centre coupons.

Planning a picnic, day hike or camping trip? Don’t forget – last year the Province eliminated parking fees in all provincial parks to help make them more accessible.