Regional Parks Services News:
Winter-Spring Parks Guide Available
The new Winter-Spring ‘Guide to Regional Parks 2015’ is now online and hot off the press. You can link to it at regionaldistrict.com/parksguide, or pick a printed copy up at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park and over the next few weeks at any local government office or visitor information centre.
Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “We encourage people to pre-register for two free programs that are designed to get you and your family outside and active during the winter months.”
The first is ‘Explore Your Parks’ which takes place once a month on a Saturday morning at 10:00 during January, February and March. Join one of our Park Interpreters as we explore a different Regional Park by foot, bike, poles or snowshoes. Please contact the staff at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan for specific information about park locations, dates and activities and to register.
The second winter program is ‘Families in Parks’ and the first outing ‘Frosty Fun’ goes in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads on Saturday, January 25th between 10:00 and 11:30 am. To register your family, for this free event or other ‘Families in Parks’ events, please drop in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, email email@example.com or phone 250-469-6139.
There’s also a new drop-in program for families at the EECO in Mission Creek Regional Park each Saturday morning at 11. It’s called ‘Eco-Art at the EECO’ and encourages you to explore your imagination and creativity. You’ll create works of art with recycled and natural materials. Smith says “There’s no need to pre-register for this free program, just drop into the EECO a few minutes early. All ages are welcome to take part!”
Smith says, “The winter-spring guide also has details about the spring ‘Tracks Walking Club’ program and our ‘Nature Detectives Spring-Break Camps’ in March for youngsters age five to seven. Pre-registration is required for each of these popular programs.”
And of course, the Parks Guide also features a two-page colour map showing each RegionalPark location and some of the amenities that are available.
For more information about any Regional Parks program and our detailed online section for Regional Parks, visit regionaldistrict.com/parks or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.
Eco-Art at the EECO
Bring your imagination and join in the fun Saturday mornings for ‘Eco-Art at the EECO’.
Each Saturday morning at 11, you’ll create works of art with recycled and natural materials.
There’s no need to pre-register for this free program, just drop into the EECO a few minutes early. All ages are welcome to take part!
The Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is located in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.
For more information please visit www.regionaldistrict.com/parksevents, drop-in or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.
Explore Your Parks
Our Regional Parks are meant to be enjoyed all year round, so dress for the season, bring along some anti-slip/traction devices and ‘Explore Your Parks’.
Join an interpreter as we get a winter perspective on a different Regional Parks each month. These free outings require pre-registration and take place between 10:00 am and 11:30 am on the following date and location:
- Saturday, February 7th learn about ‘Disaster, Slides, Fires and Bugs’ at Hardy Falls Regional Park. Meet in the parking area off Hardy Street off Highway 97 and the south end of Peachland. Are ‘natural disasters’ really always disasters? During this outing you’ll find out about the importance of disturbance to our ecosystem.
To register your family for this free event, or other ‘Explore Your Parks’ events, please drop in to the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 250-469-6139.
For more information about this or other Regional Park programs please visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parks or contact the EECO at 250-469-6140.
Story Time at the EECO
Little ones will love ‘Story Time at the EECO’. It’s a free weekly one-hour drop-in program for children aged three to five and their caregivers.
It features nature-themed stories and songs followed by an art or craft project. The program is an excellent way for younger children to interact with others while learning more about the natural world.
‘Story Time’ runs each Tuesday morning at 10:00 to March 10th.
The EECO or Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan is located in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads. For more information please visit www.regionaldistrict.com/parks, drop-in or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.
Trail Expansions Planned for Two Regional Park
A well utilized recreational corridor is in for some future expansion as a result of two announcements from the Regional District of Central Okanagan. View Announcement Video
With funding from the Friends of Mission Creek Society work will begin soon on extending the Mission Creek Greenway Regional Park trail upstream beyond the present end in Scenic Canyon Regional Park. The Society is providing $223,000 for a small pedestrian bridge over KLO Creek, sections of crib steps and over two kilometers of new and upgraded trails on the east side of KLO Creek. Work on the trail that will lead to a destination site (picnic/rest/swimming) along Mission Creek is scheduled to begin this fall. View Map
The second announcement is that a five year sub-lease agreement has been reached between the Regional District and a private landowner for access to lands along KLO Creek for future connection to the Mission Creek Greenway. The access will connect the existing trail from McCulloch Road, upstream to Myra-Bellevue Provincial Park. View Map
View News Release
Glen Canyon Regional Park Expansion and Enhancements
A new property purchase and two key partnerships will enhance the trail network in Glen Canyon Regional Park. View Announcement Video
A 1.59-hectare (3.9-acre) property at 2240 Scharf Road in West Kelowna was purchased for $132,000 and will allow completion of trail through the upper section of Glen Canyon Regional Park. When complete, the continuous trail will run along the west side of Powers Creek, upstream from Highway 97 to Smith Creek Road. View Map
Funding for the property acquisition comes from the Regional Parks Legacy and Park Land Reserve funds.
As well, work is underway on upgrading upstream trails, installation of staircases and improvements to the trailhead and parking area located just off Gellatly Road south. This work, with a cost of $167,000 is being funded through the BC Community Recreation Initiative Trails to Health Program and is possible with the recent approval of a Joint Management and Regulation Agreement between the Regional District and District of West Kelowna. This partnership has the Regional District upgrading trails and managing parkland that was donated by the Canyon Ridge development to the District of West Kelowna, as a part of Glen Canyon Regional Park.
The Regional District also celebrates the long-standing partnership it has had with the Gellatly Bay Trails and Parks Society. Over the past number of years, it’s worked with the Society volunteers to support ongoing trail enhancements in various areas of West Kelowna and more recently saw the Society assist with the installation of a pedestrian bridge over Powers Creek. This links the trails on both sides of the creek with a property on Brown Road that was purchased by the Regional District and added last year to Glen Canyon Regional Park. View Map
View Full News Release / View complete Park Map
Largest Ever Regional Park Announced
It’s an ecological gem; a unique, geological landmark that towers over Kelowna’s eastern boundary. Now it is protected.
Black Mountain/Sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park has officially been announced at a ceremony with Regional District Chair Robert Hobson, Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie and the Honourable Steve Thomson, BC Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The creation of the 510-hectare (1,260-acres) Regional Park comes with $7-million in funding from the Regional Parks Legacy and Park Land Reserve funds, a $2.3-million donation through the Federal Government Ecological Gift Program and a co-tenure/management agreement between the Regional District and Westbank First Nation for a License of Occupation on 121.5-hectares (300-acres) of Crown Land, with a sponsorship value of $1,024,350.
This 31st Regional Park includes the purchase of 259-hectares (640-acres) of private land; the donation of 129.5-hectares (320-acres) of land through the Ecological Gifts Program and the joint Crown Land tenure with Westbank First Nation. The new park will be co-managed by the Regional District and Westbank First Nation.
Regional Board Chair Robert Hobson says, “The unique geological formation of Black Mountain is often the first thing many people see when they arrive by road or by air. It offers spectacular views but more importantly, preserves and protects a critically valuable dry grassland ecosystem, that’s under-represented and increasingly threatened and disappearing from the Okanagan valley landscape. This area supports a rich and diverse wildlife population, of which many species are endangered or threatened.”
He adds, “I’m extremely pleased that the Westbank First Nation is partnering with the Regional District in the tenure and management of important Crown Land parcels that are a key part of the new regional park. As well, on behalf of the Regional Board I thank the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for approving our tenure agreement and seeing the value in the creation of Black Mountain/ Sntsk‘il’ntən Regional Park.”
The inclusion of the syilx/Okanagan word Sntsk‘il’ntən (sinch-KEEL-en-tin) in the Black Mountain park name is fitting as it translates to “the place where arrowheads/flint rock is found”. The property has additional First Nations cultural significance as there is quite an array of plants and medicines found in the area.
“Anytime an area within our traditional territory is protected, we are pleased,” says WFN Chief Robert Louie. “Lythics found in the area demonstrate it was a significant gathering place for our ancestors to make the necessary survival tools and, we can assume, it was a vantage point from which the valley below could be scoped out for wildlife and intruders."
“The provision of the Crown land grant to this new regional park is just one example of how Crown land can be used for the greater good of the community. It is also wonderful that the regional district and Westbank First Nation are able to partner on managing this park for the benefit of residents and tourists,” says Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The new park will remain closed to the public while a management plan is created and trails and signage are developed that will ensure education and awareness and the protection of the sensitive grassland environment.
In 2008, the Regional Board unanimously agreed to establish a special tax requisition over five years to build the Parks Legacy Fund in order to leverage the purchase and protection of important properties for the Regional Park system. Since that time, along with funding from the Park Land Reserve Fund, $22.1-million in property purchases have been made. Along with land donations and Crown tenure agreements valued at $11.3-million, almost 900 additional hectares (2,200-acres) of land has been added to the Regional Park system worth over $33.4-million. Parkland Acquisitions
2014 is the 40th anniversary of the Central Okanagan Regional Park system. Since it began in the fall of 1974 and with the purchase of the almost four-hectare Kaloya Regional Park in Lake Country in early 1975, it’s grown to protect more than 1,900-hectares of land in 31 Regional Parks.
New Goat's Peak Regional Park
The protection of a sizable portion of environmentally important Okanagan Lake waterfront is ensured with creation of Goat’s Peak Regional Park.
The Regional District of Central Okanagan purchased a 52-hectare (128-acre) property along the West Kelowna shoreline to establish the new regional Park. The property includes almost 900-meters (2,955-feet) of waterfront, which has extremely high spawning habitat value for Okanagan Lake kokanee salmon.
The $5-million purchase comes from contributions of local governments to the Regional Parks Legacy and Park Land Reserve Funds.
Regional Board Chair Robert Hobson says, “For many years, residents and various community groups have called on local governments to protect the important waterfront and upland ecosystem of the Goat’s Peak area. Today through the two Regional Park funds, on behalf of all Central Okanagan residents, I’m pleased to announce that we’re delivering with the creation of Goat’s Peak Regional Park saving this land for the enjoyment of future generations.” View RDCO Youtube Channel Video
Hobson adds, “The purchase of this property for the new regional park fills a significant gap in the Okanagan Trail 2000 vision for a continuous recreational trail between the Bennett Bridge and Peachland. It, along with the existing Kalamoir and Gellatly Nut Farm Regional Parks remain in their natural state which helps to preserve accessible areas along the Okanagan Lake shoreline for the enjoyment of all Central Okanagan residents.”
He says, “The new Goat’s Peak Regional Park is close to existing and potential residential areas and is critical to preserving the long term sustainability and character of the Okanagan Valley. It has high ecological conservation value and supports a low-impact recreational/interpretive potential in order to protect the natural landscape.”
The new park will remain closed until at least next summer as the Regional District prepares a management plan and develops trails and signage.
In 2008, the Regional Board unanimously agreed to establish a special tax requisition over five years to build the Parks Legacy Fund in order to leverage the purchase and protection of important properties for the Regional Park system. Hobson adds, “With today’s announcement, $14.2-million in property purchases have been funded, adding more than 91-hectares (225-acres) to the Regional Park system.
2014 is the 40th anniversary of the Central Okanagan Regional Park system. Since it began in the fall of 1974 and with the purchase of the almost four-hectare Kaloya Regional Park in Lake Country in early 1975, it’s grown to protect more than 1,400-hectares of land in 30 Regional Parks.
Parks for All Seasons
Here's a new short video that shows some of our regional parks at every time of year!