New Ecological Reserve Permit

New Ecological Reserve Permit

Apply Now



Ecological reserve permits can only be issued for scientific research or educational purposes consistent with the purpose for which the ecological reserves were established.

Ecological scientific research is research that is concerned with any aspect of the ecology of the reserve(s) in question and is intended to increase knowledge of that study area using observable, empirical or measurable evidence.

Educational purposes are any activities, including documentary films, that are intended to educate the public about the natural features and functions of a reserve or the provincial network of ecological reserves.


"Ecological Reserve", for the purpose of this policy, means Crown land established or continued as an ecological reserve under the Ecological Reserve Act or the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act.

"Educational Purpose" means any use of an ecological reserve to educate the public on the natural features and functions of the ecological reserve, or on the provincial network of ecological reserves. This may include educational programs run by institutions, individuals, organizations or businesses.

Discuss your application with the BC Parks Area Supervisor responsible for the protected land(s) for which you are applying. Area Supervisors are the BC Parks Staff responsible for particular park(s). Contact information for BC Parks regional offices can be found on BC Parks Website.

Costs and Responsibilities

Fees and making a payment

Fees are not required for ecological reserve permits.


It is your responsibility to obtain all other applicable licences, tenures or permits prior to the issuance of an ecological reserve permit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your ecological reserve permit's annual requirements, such as proof of insurance, fees and reports, are met each year.

It is your responsibility to visit BC Online and determine whether or not you must be registered to do business in British Columbia.

  • Businesses must either be licensed to do business in British Columbia or, if licensed/incorporated outside of British Columbia (considered to be 'extra-provincial companies'), be in compliance with section 375 of the Business Corporations Act to operate in British Columbia.
  • Extra-provincial societies must be registered under the Societies Act in order to hold an ecological reserve permit. An extra-provincial society is a society or association, or a specific branch of a society or association, that was formed outside British Columbia. 

An ecological reserve permit holder is responsible for abiding by the terms and conditions of the permit document provided.

What you need to apply

Completed online application form. Please note that applications are not considered complete until any co-permittee(s) consent is submitted.

A detailed Management Plan that describes the nature of your activities, including the timing, frequency, methodology and specific location(s). The Management Plan Template can be found here.

Any additional documentation supporting the application, such as photographs or correspondence with First Nations.

Digital maps must be submitted as part of the online application. Map(s) must be submitted for each park included in the application according to the following mapping standards:

  • Digital maps submitted as pdfs or image files must include: a north arrow, a scale bar (as described below) and a legend. Georeferenced spatial files may be submitted and must be in BC Albers, NAD 83 projection.
  • General Location Map: 
    • A map of the individual park(s)/ecological reserve(s) within the application
    • Drawn between 1:50 000 and 1:250 000 in scale (or larger if a larger scale is required to encompass the boundaries of the permit area)
    • Illustrates at a landscape level scale the general location of the area under application, including boundaries of the proposed permit area, travel/access routes and major landmarks.
  • Permit Area Maps: 
    • More detailed maps(s) of the proposed permit area(s), required in addition to a general location map if you have improvement or specific areas of the park that you will be using more intensively
    • Drawn between 1:20 000 and 1:50 000 in scale, showing the exact proposed boundaries of the permit area
    • Include the area (in hectares) and any watercourses or other identifying features (trails, facilities, roads, etc.)
    • Clearly identify the location of travel/access routes and specific study/activity site(s)
    • If applicable, describe the construction, location(s) and use(s) of any new or pre-existing facilities within the permit area, as well as the proposed size(s) and location(s) of all future improvements
  • Maps may be prepared using the NROS Explore by Location Tool, FrontCounter BC Discovery Tool or iMap BC Tool (Tutorial).

It is recommended that you visit the BC Parks website and read the ecological reserve description prior to submitting your application.

Consultation with an Area Supervisor is recommended prior to submitting an application. Area Supervisors are the BC Parks staff responsible for particular parks. Contact information for BC Parks' regional office can be found on the BC Parks website.

What happens after you apply

Receiving the application

  • Your application will be reviewed to ensure that it is complete. If necessary, you will be contacted for more information.
  • An application will not be processed until all required information has been received.
  • The submission of an application does NOT allow you any rights to the ecological reserve. An ecological reserve permit, if issued, would grant this authority.


  • The target time frame for making a decision on your application is 60 days after a complete application is received. BC Parks target times may be affected by other required processes, such as requests to you for additional information or requirements for First Nations consultation.
  • Applications will be processed in the order that they are received. The 60 day time frame will not be changed to accommodate "rush" applications.
  • BC Parks staff will review the application to determine whether additional assessments, such as ecological or archaeological assessments, or consultation, such as First Nations consultation, may be required. Some assessments will be completed by BC Parks, but other assessments may be the responsibility of the applicant to complete at their own cost.
  • BC Parks staff and/or FrontCounter BC staff may contact you throughout the application process to discuss your application as required.
  • BC Parks considers the impacts of a proposed activity and the particular values of the ecological reserves in question when evaluating a permit application. If your application is denied, you will be provided with a letter indicating the reason(s) for denial.

Request Final Requirements

  • If the Statutory Decision Maker approves the permit, the FrontCounter BC permit clerk will email you a draft permit and notify you of the permit's final requirements. If you do not provide an email address, you will be notified by letter instead.
  • Examples of Final Requirements: 
    • Written agreement to the terms and conditions set out in the draft permit
    • Proof of Insurance
    • Financial Guarantee
  • If you do not respond to the Request for Final Requirements by the indicated due date, your application will be withdrawn and your file will be closed.

Issuance of Permit

Once all final requirements are met, the permit will be issued and sent to you by FrontCounter BC via email. If no email address was provided, a hard copy will be sent to you by mail.

Why would my application be denied?

BC Parks considers the impacts of a proposed activity and the particular values of the parklands in question when evaluating a permit application. If an application is denied, you will be provided with a letter indicating the reason(s) your application was unsuccessful. Be aware of the following:

  • Ecological reserve permits can only be issued for scientific research or educational purposes consistent with the purpose for which the ecological reserves were established. If your proposed activity involves neither scientific research nor public education about the particular reserve, its values, or ecological reserve values in general, your permit application will be denied.
  • Activities that are expected to cause a significant disruption to the ecological reserve are not likely to be approved. For example, motorized vehicles or equipment may only be approved in exceptional circumstances, as the Ecological Reserve Permit Policy specifies that these are likely to cause significant disruption within an ecological reserve.
Ecological Reserve Act
Management Plan Template
Park Act
BC Parks Website
BC Parks - Regional Contact List
Find an ecological reserve
Ecological Reserves Permit Policy
Permit Application Policy
Other Permit Policies