The Elders Council for Parks in BC was officially inaugurated by the Lieutenant Governor at the Pioneers of British Columbia’s Parks and Protected Areas Luncheon held at the Government House on November 24, 2004.
Nine distinguished members of the Elders Council were honoured at the luncheon:
- Bob Ahrens
Bob Ahrens dedicated his three decades with B.C. Parks to building the knowledge of the parks movement's original leaders into the system and making staffing and appointment decisions with an eye to ensuring the future of B.C. Parks. He is credited with being the primary architect and steward of the park system of the 1960s and 1970s and is known as the Wise Man behind the policy and legislation which were put in place in the 1965 and 1972 Park Acts, which have endured largely unchanged for over 40 years.
- Dr. Vernon (Bert) Brink
In addition to an active 40-year academic career in the Department of Plant Science at UBC, Dr. Vernon (Bert) Brink has been a leader in the province's conservation movement. Dr. Brink helped block a government proposal to log Garibaldi as a means to provide funding for parks management and, along with a few others, he succeeded in getting government to create a province-wide parks system through the legislation of the Parks Act. Some of the other provincial parks that Dr. Brink helped establish include Tweedsmuir, Wells Grey, Cathedral, and Spatsizi.
- Lloyd Brooks
Mr. Brooks led park planning in the 1950s and 1960s, first in B.C. and then nationally. He produced the first public policy for national parks and he oversaw the establishment of Kluane, Nahanni, Gros Morne and Kejimkujik National Parks. In1968 Mr. Brooks returned to B.C. as the Deputy Minister Recreation and Conservation. He oversaw the park system expansion and legislative improvements of the early 1970s. In 1979 Mr. Brooks retired following various special assignments, including the first public evaluation of a potential Gulf Island National Park proposal. His influence in Park Management is evident across Canada and remains as a testimony to an outstanding individual.
- Yorke Edwards
- Yorke Edwards is being honoured for his pioneering work and writings on nature interpretation. He developed and designed the B.C. Parks interpretation program during the 1950s and 60s - at its heyday one of the finest interpretation programs on the continent. In late 1960s Mr. Edwards established the Canadian Wildlife Service's nation-wide interpretation centres with programs in B.C., Ontario, and Quebec. He continues to write and contributes to the Victoria Naturalist.
- Bristol Foster
We are honouring Bristol Foster for his pioneering work related to ecological reserves. Mr. Foster was the assistant then director of the Royal B.C. Museum. This was followed by a decade spent establishing and running the ecological reserves program for the provincial government. Mr. Foster has been retired for 15 years, but he continues to contribute to the public awareness and advocacy necessary to obtain and maintain protected areas....very important in South Moresby for example.
- Gordon MacNabb
Mr. MacNabb Joined the Parks Branch in 1951 and entered the Reconnaissance and Inventory section under Bob Ahrens. In 1967 he succeeded Bob as Chief of Planning, where he remained until his retirement in 1982. Mr. MacNabb lead the first comprehensive park system assessment for the entire north of B.C. As a result, a number of major wilderness areas were established in the early 1970s, including: Atlin, Edziza, Kwadacha, Naikoon, Tatlatui and Spatsizi Provincial Parks.
- Ian McTaggart Cowan
Ian McTaggart Cowan is a career biologist and educator. He spent 35 years on faculty of UBC. He has served on various councils, funds, and organizations, including the National Research Council, the Fisheries Research Board of Canada and Habitat Conservation Trust Fund. Mr. Cowan has been recognized for his work with numerous honours; today we are honouring him for his influence on generations of conservationists and his commitment to education.
- Tony Roberts
We wish to recognize the extraordinary contribution of Tony Roberts to parks in and around Victoria and the Islands. He prepared long term plans for the acquisition and protection of parks and other forms of open space in the CRD, turning ideas and dreams into realities by promoting the establishment of such Regional Parks as East Sooke, Witty's Lagoon and Mt. Work. His vision inspired other regional park authorities around the Province to establish the park function and acquire more lands that are now proudly part of B.C.'s system of protected areas.
- John Woodworth
By 1965, when he helped organize the Okanagan Similkameen Parks Society, John Woodworth had already made a name for himself as a renowned architect with a great capacity for thoughtful planning. Mr. Woodworth tried to stem the tide of excessive commercial clear cutting by pushing for better forest management and environmentally-friendly logging methods. He devoted much of his time to the Nature Trust and to the protection of the B.C. section of the historical Mackenzie trail from the Alberta border to Bella Coola. In 1995 this work led to the Gabriel Leger Award from Heritage Canada - the nation's highest award for heritage conservation.