Whose Parks? A Qualitative Exploration of the Governance of BC Parks
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Good governance is of paramount importance to the survival and success of parks in achieving the dual mandate of conservation and recreation. However, there exists a lack of research on governance regarding the implications of outsourcing visitor services to private companies. The case study research explored the perceived implications of British Columbia’s Provincial Parks’ outsourcing model on the nine UNDP criteria for good governance. Interviews were conducted with six government employees, three private contractors, and six members of conservation and recreation non-governmental organizations. The findings revealed distinct variations in satisfaction with governance principles based on stakeholder group. The participants were all deeply passionate for parks yet felt powerless to influence the direction and management of BC Parks due to the high level of political control which prioritized the focus placed on each governance principle. Future parks governance research must also investigate the relationship between politicians and public administrators.