Parks Services News:
Summer Nature Camps Registration Now Open
Registrations are now being accepted for this summer’s Nature Day Camps.
They return mornings during July and August in Mission Creek and Bertram Creek Regional Parks. Youth aged three through seven will have a blast participating in another summer of Nature Day Camps offered by the Regional District. Trained leaders will guide budding naturalists in these three, four and five, half-day camps at two of our Regional Parks. They’ll take part in fun activities and games, while learning about nature and our environment.
The cost for a three half-day camp is $60 per child, $80 per child for a four half-day camp or $100 per child for the five half-day camp.
Also returning this year are special three-morning programs for pre-schoolers (three and four year olds) at Mission Creek Regional Park. It runs from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm on July 3rd to 5th; July 30th to August 1st and August 6th to 8th. Registration for this special pre-school program is $60. The other summer camp dates are for youngsters aged five to seven.
Please register at the EECO (Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan) in Mission Creek Regional Park, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling the centre at 250-469-6140. You can also link to program information and forms on the Regional Parks Youth Spring Break and Summer Camps webpage .
For more information about the Nature Day Camp program, dates and locations, visit the Regional District website or check out ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks 2013’. It’s available at municipal offices, recreation and visitor centres from Lake Country to Peachland. And it’s always available for you, whenever you need it at regionaldistrict.com/parks.
Safety in our Regional Parks
The Regional District of Central Okanagan is re-assuring residents and visitors about their safety in the Regional Park system.
“We’re stepping up our staff presence in our Regional Parks” says Communications Officer Bruce Smith, “in light of the sexual assault reported to Kelowna RCMP on Monday evening on a more remote trail in Mission Creek Regional Park”
Anyone that has information about this incident should contact Kelowna RCMP Constable McBride (250-762-3300) or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), www.crimestoppers.net or text CRIMES (274637) ktown.
Smith adds, “We encourage anyone using the Mission Creek Greenway or walking trails in our Regional Parks to be aware of their surroundings and if possible walk with at least one other person. Carrying a cell phone will help should anyone need assistance. Our Parks Services Bylaw Enforcement and other staff will be stepping up their presence along the Greenway and in our other regional parks as a result of the incident.”
Smith says, “We also work with contracted park resident security and the Commissionaires who provide after hours security in many Regional Parks. In addition, we have an ongoing liaison with the RCMP and its auxiliary volunteer members and Crime Prevention Citizens Patrol volunteers when it comes to patrols, especially along the Mission Creek Greenway.”
“The Regional District,” Smith says “works to ensure everyone has a safe and pleasant experience in our parks. You may see our staff on foot or patrolling the trails on bicycle or on a small ATV in an effort to ensure our parks are safe places for everyone to enjoy.”
The Regional District operates and maintains 29 Regional Parks throughout the Central Okanagan.
New Summer-Fall Parks Guide Available
The Summer-Fall edition of ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’ is now online and hot off the press!
“The 10 page full colour foldout has all the information you need about our exciting line up of programs and events in our Regional Parks for the rest of 2013,” says Communications Officer Bruce Smith.
“The handy ‘Year at a Glance’ provides a month by month listing of programs and activities at the EECO located in Mission Creek Regional Park and in many of the Central Okanagan’s 27 other Regional Parks.” There’s also a colour map showing each Regional Park location and some of the features and amenities that are available.
Smith adds, “With summer fast approaching, parents of youngsters age three to seven may want to check out the dates, times and registration information for this year’s ‘Summer Nature Camp’ program during July and August.”
The Regional Parks guide also has the details for our special interpretive ‘Take a Hike’ program. “This year” Smith says, “Each hike has a special theme and our Parks Interpreter will be joined by a special guest. They’ll share interesting highlights and information about each park visited. As well this year, our Community Recreational Initiatives Society or CRIS partners will be holding special Adaptive Adventure walks and hikes in our Regional Parks.”
Smith adds, “We’re also introducing a number of special free ‘Families in Parks’ events that will engage every member of your family and you’re invited to join our ‘Parks Fun Zones’ program with games and activities for every member of your family.”
The new Regional Parks Guide is available anytime online by visiting regionaldistrict.com/parksguide. Or you can pick up a copy at the Regional District office (1450 KLO Road), the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads) and very soon at any local government office, recreation centre or tourist and information offices in the Central Okanagan.
For more information about any Regional Parks programming and our detailed section for Regional Parks, visit regionaldistrict.com/parks or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.
Key Corridor Connection for Glen Canyon Regional Park
The purchase of a 13.86 hectare property will greatly enhance the connections to Glen Canyon Regional Park in West Kelowna.
Regional District Board Chair Robert Hobson was joined by Director and West Kelowna Mayor Doug Findlater to celebrate the fourth addition this year to the Regional Park system. View RDCO Youtube Channel Presentation
Hobson says “The purchase of Brown Road property provides a critical link in the goal of connecting the lower portion of Glen Canyon Regional Park. This acquisition will facilitate the creation a continuous trail from the fish ladders off Gellatly Road south through to the Westbank Town Centre Park.”
Hobson adds, “The recently announced donation of parkland to West Kelowna, adjoining the existing lower portion of Glen Canyon Regional Park, is certainly an opportunity to work with West Kelowna, to realize this vision.”
The $1.18-million property purchase was funded through the Regional Parks Legacy Fund and contributions from and for the benefit of all Central Okanagan residents. This property meets two important Regional Parks Plan criteria for consideration under the Legacy Fund. First, it’s close to a large number of residents since it’s located between two well-populated areas of West Kelowna. Second, it provides great recreation potential as there are fairly easy walks on the historical flume trail, linking with steeper and more challenging trails in the lower sections of the canyon. View Park Property Map
This property will remain closed to the public until Spring next year as the connecting trail will be designed and built during the remainder of 2013.
Hobson adds, “Over the past five years, $9.1 million dollars has been provided from residents of all Central Okanagan municipalities and electoral areas to leverage the acquisition of important lands for our Regional Park system. This year alone we’ve announced the addition of just over 37 hectares of land with almost $8.3-million in funding in order to protect these lands for the use of future generations. In addition, another 800-hectares was added through the Regional District’s partnership with the Central Okanagan Land Trust to create the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.”
New Mission Creek Regional Park Playground Structure Open
Thank you for your patience. The new playground structure in Mission Creek Regional Park is now open and available for use.
The adjacent grassy area and landscaping however, are still closed. Please stay off and out of these roped and fenced areas so that the grass and plants can solidly root to the soil.
A grand opening of the new playground structure and area is expected in June.
Learn more about the new playground project on the Mission Creek Regional Park webpage.
Mission Creek Greenway Trail Section Officially Added
A section of trail along Mission Creek has now officially been added to the Mission Creek Greenway recreational corridor.
While many people have utilized the 450-metres of trail along the south dyke of Mission Creek between Gordon Drive and Casorso Road over the years, it was not until the Regional District received a legal Statutory Right-of-Way, that this portion of the trail has now officially been added as a part of the Greenway.
Concrete barricades that previously marked the legal end of this trail will soon be removed. Until then, pedestrians, cyclists and other visitors may continue to use the trail unimpeded by the barricades.
The Westbank First Nation has provided a letter to the City of Kelowna authorizing further trail access from Casorso Road through its Reserve No. 8 along the north and south-side creek dykes in order to link up with the now formal south-side Greenway trail through to Gordon Drive. People can access this portion of the trail from the parking area at the Mission Sportsfields, just off Gordon Drive. The new access creates a complete 2.5-kilometre loop trail that people can use on both sides of Mission Creek between Gordon Drive and Casorso Road.
This project is in partnership with the Mission Creek Restoration Initiative and has been funded with a grant from the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. It includes the purchase of a 2.7-hectare property adjacent to Mission Creek. The Initiative partnership envisions the property will be used to provide a setback of the creek dyke to re-align and re-establish the creek channel to a more natural, meandering route.
The Regional District’s trail Statutory Right-of-Way and property purchase contribution ($215,000) was funded through the Regional Parks Legacy fund. (View Map)
The Mission Creek Restoration Initiative partnership is comprised of the Central Okanagan Land Trust, City of Kelowna, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Friends of Mission Creek, BC Ministry of Environment, Okanagan Nation Alliance, Westbank First Nation and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.
Donation Creates 2nd Nature Conservancy Regional Park
A generous land donation, the largest ever in the Central Okanagan ensures the protection of over 323-hectares (800-acres) along the south slopes for generations of Central Okanagan residents.
Regional Board Chair Robert Hobson has announced the creation of the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park. “It all began 20 years ago when the Johns siblings, Nancy and Alfred contacted the Central Okanagan Land Trust (COLT) about the goal of bequeathing their properties totaling more than 300-hectares. Since 1993, the Regional District has been working with COLT on agreements for the gifting and leasing of these properties that would eventually see these environmentally significant lands protected, adjacent to the existing 79.5-hectare Cedar Mountain Regional Park. While Nancy passed away in 2002, it wasn’t until Alfred’s passing in the spring of 2011 that the remaining two parcels of just over 194-hectares (480-acres) bequeathed to the Central Okanagan Land Trust, were made available to the Regional District, completing the total parkland donation.”
Hobson says “This is the single-largest donation of parkland in the Central Okanagan, perhaps even the province and thanks to the generosity and vision of Nancy and Alfred and surviving Johns’ family members it will be protected for the enjoyment of people in perpetuity.” The market value of these lands is estimated at more than $7.8-million. View Map
“It’s only fitting,” Hobson adds, “that those who made such a significant donation possible, be recognized. That’s why we’re naming these lands ‘Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park’, amalgamating the bequeathed lands with the former Cedar Mountain Regional Park creating a 402.5-hectare park."
These additional 323-hectares of park lands announced today will remain closed until a Park Management Plan is prepared and trails are formally developed. In the interim, the former Cedar Mountain portion will remain open and accessible to the public.
The President of the Central Okanagan Land Trust, Barry Jones says, “The creation of this new large Regional Park is a great example of how government and local non-governmental organizations like COLT can work together to conserve our natural heritage and protect biodiversity. We would be encouraged if other local land-owners are similarly inspired by this example.”
The Central Okanagan Land Trust (COLT) has been working with the Regional District and local municipalities for more than twenty years on projects that range as widely as Rose Valley Pond and Robert Lake to the Mission Creek Greenway and now, this new Regional Park. COLT's mandate focuses on preservation of the Central Okanagan's natural landscapes and wildlife habitats, and this new Regional Park represents how successfully the partnership with individuals, businesses and agencies can be. The Central Okanagan Land Trust can be reached at email@example.com or through its website at http://www.coltrust.ca/.
In addition to the announcement of the region’s second Nature Conservancy Regional Park, Kelowna Mission MLA Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced that Government has designated the Crown land between the new Regional Park and Okanagan Mountain Provincial Park for public recreational use only, which limits the kind of development and activity that can take place. The new designation ensures protection of a significant wildlife and ecosystem corridor along the south slopes.
Storytime at the EECO
Pre-schoolers love ‘Storytime at the EECO’.
This free interactive drop-in program for children age three to five and their caregivers takes place each Tuesday morning at 10:00 until June 25that the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan or EECO (ee-COH).
During the hour, participants will be treated to nature themed stories, songs and crafts. It’s a fun and active way to learn more about our Regional Parks and the animals of the Okanagan. When the weather’s appropriate, short outdoor walks will be included.
There’s plenty of parking at the EECO, located in Mission Creek Regional Park at Springfield and Durnin Roads.
For more information visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parks or
'Explore Your Regional Parks'exhibit at the EECO
What Regional Park has a lake fed by an underground spring inside an extinct volcano? Most of which Regional Park is located along land that was the home of early settler and gold prospector Dan Gallagher? Which Regional Park overlooks a reservoir named after an early pioneering family? *
The answers to these questions and more can be found at the new 'Explore Your Regional Parks' exhibit at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.
During your visit, you'll likely discover something new about the 28 Regional Parks spread across the Central Okanagan. Each has its own unique ecosystems, wildlife habitats, history and heritage. Some of our parks are more natural, conservation locales, while others celebrate the history of the area, and others offer fun, recreational opportunities for the whole family.
Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, "That's why we've created this special exhibit, showcasing what each of our parks has to offer. If you're curious about a park you've never visited, stop into the EECO, check out the exhibit, make some interesting discoveries and we'll tell you all about it."
The EECO or Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
For more information about its year round programs and exhibits visit regionaldistrict.com/parks.