Access outside BC limited by washrooms, parking access, finds survey

A significant number of British Columbians say a disability has kept them from exploring the outdoors, according to a new poll. The main culprits: the lack of toilets and parking lots.

A significant number of British Columbians say a disability has kept them from exploring the outdoors, according to a new poll. The main culprits: the lack of toilets and parking lots.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC (ORCBC), found that while 70% of British Columbians have participated in outdoor recreational activities in the past year, one in 10 was prevented from doing so due to disability.

“It’s a real problem,” said Louse Pedersen, executive director of ORCBC. “That means in some cases they may be housebound.”

“There is really a lack of basic equipment.”

The highest rates of participation in outdoor recreation were observed among young people aged 18 to 34 (91%), men (75%), those with children (79%) and whose annual income from household exceeds $100,000 (79%). %).

In contrast, those least likely to participate in outdoor activities were over the age of 55 (49%), female (65%) and had an annual household income of $40,000 or less (56% ).

Despite these shortcomings, more than 90% of respondents said outdoor recreation was important to their mental and physical health, leading healthcare professionals across Canada to prescribe the exterior to the sick.

A similar proportion said going outside helped them enjoy nature and spend time with family and friends.

“Eighty-five percent of people who would like to participate would like to see more investment in trails, more signage, more outhouses, more garbage cans and access roads,” Pedersen said. “They want to see change.”

“We will be sure to discuss this with the decision-makers.”

The ORCBC is an umbrella organization representing more than 60 outdoor user groups in British Columbia, from paddlers, hikers and mountain bikers to mountain climbers, horseback riders and anglers. In the past, he has consistently criticized the BC government for not investing adequately in provincial parks and trail systems.

The latest poll results come a day before British Columbia Trail Day when people from across the province come together to clean and improve trails or to take part in guided bird and wildlife watching tours.

But the poll results show that interest in the outdoors isn’t limited to a single day or even a minority of British Columbians.

Three-quarters of British Columbia residents said access to outdoor recreation was a determining factor in their choice of residence.

Despite their intentions to explore nature, another four in 10 said lack of time kept them from going outside. An equal share said toilet availability and parking were the main concerns.

More than a quarter said difficulty booking campsites and overcrowding were among their top concerns. And one in five said cost was a major barrier.

Pedersen said the poll shows outdoor recreation is part of the fabric of life for most British Columbians, but the province’s recreational landscapes aren’t getting the investment they deserve.

Pedersen says outdoor recreation also has significant economic value, which the ORCBC hopes to quantify over the coming year with a major study of how, where and what kind of leisure habits Britons use. Colombians and visitors to the province participate.

The organization has submitted a proposal to the provincial government to this effect, but has not yet received a response.

“Unlike the mining or forestry sector, we simply don’t have the resources to collect this information,” Pedersen said.

“We are so disadvantaged.”

The survey – the first of its kind in more than a decade – interviewed 800 adults in British Columbia from May 26-30, 2022. To obtain a representative sample, participants were statistically weighted by region, age, sex and education. The results have a margin of error of plus or minus four percentage points.

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