Different forms of protected areas like parks and ecological reserves are created to protect the natural environment, cultural heritage and recreational values of the province.
BC has a Protected Areas Strategy in place to accomplish two goals. The first goal is to protect viable, representative examples of natural diversity. These can include the main terrestrial, marine and freshwater ecosystems, the characteristic habitats, hydrology and landforms and the characteristic recreational and cultural heritage values.
The second goal is to protect special natural, cultural heritage and recreational values. These can include habitat for rare and endangered species, outstanding or unique plant, animal, mineral or fossil features, and important cultural heritage or recreational sites.
Protected areas are limited to commercial activities. Under the guidance of local management plans parks offer opportunities for range and tourism use. Commercial logging, mining and energy development are, however, not allowed. Park and other protected area management plans are in place within the Chilcotin Ark that are implemented after in-depth discussion with all stakeholders. These discussions influence the protected area boundaries, area use and restrictions and other management facets such as wildlife.
Different parts of protected areas and different protection types can be managed for different types of use. Management categories include strict preservation, wilderness, natural environment-based outdoor recreation, intensive recreation and tourism and historical, cultural and heritage use.