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Local residents and visitors from around the world come here looking for natural areas, trails, heritage features, beaches and other outdoor experiences. Luckily, we've got all that and more in the Regional Parks of the Central Okanagan.

Regional Parks can be found from Peachland in the south to Lake Country in the north. These parks provide experiences through an environmental education centre, heritage museums, beaches, pristine hiking trails, 2 campgrounds and park programs like nature photography.  There really is something for everyone.

Quick facts about the Regional Parks system:

  • There are 29 Regional Parks with more than 1,100 hectares in the Central Okanagan. ( Pick A Park Map)

  • Regional Parks are generally larger parks with natural areas that demonstrate important landscapes from our region. Link to Wheelchair Accessible Parks listing

  • They provide opportunities for outdoor activities that will attract people from throughout the Central Okanagan.

  • There are free interpretive programs for schools and community groups offered in most Regional Parks.  View the Parks Newsletter for information!

  • Several parks have heritage buildings or artifacts.

 

Popular Parks Information Links:

Living Greener in the Central Okanagan
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Regional Parks Services News:

Fire Hazard Debris Burning

The Regional District of Central Okanagan advises that controlled burning is underway today (Wednesday, April 16th) in a nine hectare section of Coldham Regional Park.

With good air quality and venting conditions open burning is allowed today for those eligible Central Okanagan property owners with permits from their local fire authority. 

All local fire departments and local media have been advised of today’s activity and will be notified when further burning takes place.

Additional controlled burns may be required to dispose of the fire hazard debris that’s been collected in this fuel modification project and another that is also reducing the fire hazard in a 20-hectare area of Scenic Canyon Regional Park.

Springfield-Durnin Access Closed

Starting Monday, April 14th for approximately three weeks, there won't be any access to Mission Creek Regional Park from the Springfield and Durnin Road intersection.   Park visitors are asked to enter and exit the park via the Leckie and Springfield Road access.

The City of Kelowna advises that the Springfield Road intersection at Durnin Road will be undergoing safety and operational improvements which include:

  • new concrete islands to prohibit unsafe left turn exit and through movements from the park access directly opposite Durnin Road
  • New sidewalk, curb/gutter and corner ramps on both sides of the park access opposite Durnin Rd.
  • Median work on Springfield Rd near Benvoulin Road to increase the storage capacity of westbound left turn lane.
  • Three catch basins will be installed along Springfield, this work will be performed at night to minimize traffic impacts

Lane closures will be in effect for east and westbound traffic with pattern changes throughout construction. Detour routes will be posted.

Motorists can expect delays and are encouraged to plan their commute.  For the purpose of public safety and quality control, traffic control personnel will be directing motorists and pedestrians through the construction site. The public’s cooperation and patience will be appreciated.

For more information about road closures and work, visit kelowna.ca/roadreport.

go! Okanagan Features the EECO

Host Doug Brown was joined by Regional Parks Risti Lesperance as the Okanagan program recently featured the 'Healthy by Nature' exhibit at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan and other programs in our Regional Parks this spring!

Check out the video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_2_MutKU1Kc&list=UUHfQ233uYya-6mXexXA5TtA

 

Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park Open House

You’re invited to join the Regional District of Central Okanagan as it begins creating a management plan for the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.  This Regional Park is over 400 hectares and is located on the doorstep of the Kettle Valley Highlands within the South Slopes of the Regional District of the Central Okanagan.   

Learn about Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park and the Management Plan project.  Stop by to hear about some of the unique opportunities and challenges that planners expect through the process and share your thoughts about what the plan will need to consider.  

Information about the Park Management Plan process for Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park can be found on the Regional District website:

www.regionaldistrict.com/parksmanagementplans

Story Time at the EECO

Here’s a weekly activity that will get three to five year old children moving, learning and playing.

Starting April 1st ‘Story Time at the EECO’ takes place each Tuesday morning at 10:00 in the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan located in Mission Creek Regional Park, Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The program wraps up on June 24th.

It’s a free one-hour drop-in program for children aged three to five and their caregivers and features nature-themed stories and songs followed by an art or craft project. The program is an excellent way for younger children to play while learning more about the natural world. 

For more information about this or other Regional Parks programs or events please visit regionaldistrict.com/parks, drop-in or call the EECO at 250-469-6140.

Register for 'Tracks'

It’s time to sign up for the free ‘Tracks Walking Club’ that gets you outside and active this spring. View Poster

The beginner walking program starts April 7th and runs Monday and Wednesday mornings at 9:00 (no walk Victoria Day May 19th).  Club members and our walking leader will start with a 15-minute walk along the Mission Creek Greenway and in Mission Creek Regional Park gradually increasing the duration of their walks to 90 minutes by the end of the 12 week program.

Members also receive a walking journal, walking tips, seminars and motivational tips to keep them moving.

‘Tracks’ is a registered Hearts in Motion Walking Club with the BC Heart and Stroke Foundation

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.

Breakwater Construction in Regional Park

Demolition and construction of a large portion of the north breakwater is expected to begin next week in Okanagan Centre Safe Harbour Regional Park.  View Project Map

To prepare, the contractor (Burton Marine Pile Driving Inc.) will begin moving a barge and other equipment into place early next week.

It’s anticipated the breakwater construction will be substantially complete by April 20th and some minor clean-up of the park will take place during the following week.  The park and its main boat launch are located on Okanagan Centre Road West in Lake Country.

Communications Officer Bruce Smith says, “We don’t anticipate any lengthy closure of the park and its main boat launch during the construction.  However, a portion of the parking area south of the main launch will be cordoned off during construction for storage of equipment and materials and staging.”

He adds, “At this time of year there isn’t a huge demand for the facility’s boat launch.  However, there are boaters that still do use the launch and may find some temporary, intermittent closures during construction while equipment is being repositioned or adjusted and while construction materials are being delivered or off-loaded.  We expect any closures will be minimal and we ask for the patience and cooperation of park users, boaters and other visitors to ensure their safety and that of construction workers.  Boaters should also be aware there may be floating materials stored temporarily inside the harbour area during construction.”

The new steel pile supported concrete waffle panel breakwater will replace about 40-meters (131 feet or 70 per cent) of the aging 56-meter un-treated wood pile structure that has been in place since it was replaced in the mid-90’s by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans before transferring the assets to the Regional District.  The Federal Government Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund is providing $150,000 toward this project.  In addition, last fall the Regional Board approved reallocating slightly more than $123,000 for the north breakwater demolition and reconstruction as another previously approved project was not able to be completed during 2013 due to circumstances beyond the Regional District’s control.  The Regional Board will be asked to consider approving funds to complete the remaining 16-meters of the breakwater in this year’s Financial Plan.

During the early summer of 2012, Burton Marine successfully replaced the south breakwater with steel pilings and concrete waffle panels.

Fuel Modification Projects Underway

From now until the end of April, some large fuel modification projects will be completed in several different Regional Parks.

Crews are removing dead and hazard trees, ladder fuels and brushing just over 21-hectares in Scenic Canyon Regional Park.

Please be aware that trails through these various work areas may be temporarily closed.  For their safety park users are asked to watch for signs advising that trails are closed and that they stay out of any closed areas of the park.  Where it is accessible for equipment, collected fire hazard wood debris will be chipped.  

However, in areas where equipment is not able to reach, debris pile burning will be conducted in accordance with Air Quality and Open Burning regulations when either open burning is allowed in the region or venting and air quality are favourable with a custom site venting forecast from the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

Once a decision is made to proceed with burning on a particular day, local fire authorities, media and neighbourhood organizations will be advised.  

When open burning is allowed in the Regional District, Parks Services staff also plans to burn small piles of pine beetle infested and trail cleanup wood debris in Glen Canyon Regional Park.

Fuel modification projects are now complete on 20.1-hectares in Stephens Coyote Ridge Regional Park and almost nine hectares in Coldham Regional Park.

For more information visit the Regional District Parks Services webpage regionaldistrict.com/parks, email parks@cord.bc.ca or call 250-469-6232.

Treatment Area Maps

Spring Break Nature Detectives Camps

Registration is now underway for this year’s Nature Detectives Spring Break Camps at the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan in Mission Creek Regional Park (Springfield and Durnin Roads). 

Youngsters taking part are encouraged to unpack their sleuthing skills and hunt out who’s been in the park during these camp sessions. 

Activities for children aged five to seven run from 9:00 am to 12noon, March 18th to 20th and again March 25th and 27th.  View Poster  

All camp participants will enjoy a variety of fun indoor and outdoor activities that are designed to encourage and spark their interest in the natural environment.

Please register in advance at the EECO.  The cost is $60 per youngster for each three-day camp session.  

For more information visit the Regional District website regionaldistrict.com/parks or contact the EECO at 250-469-6139, email eeco@cord.bc.ca or drop into the centre at 2363A Springfield Road in Mission Creek Regional Park. 

Regional Parks Celebrates 2014! 

There will be plenty of special events and activities this year as 2014 marks two milestones for Regional Parks in the Central Okanagan.

This is the 40th anniversary of the Regional Parks service and 20 years since the Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan opened its doors.

Regional District Chair Robert Hobson says, “Our Regional Parks system began back in the fall of 1974 and the following January we acquired Kaloya Regional Park in Lake Country.  This 3.7-hectare waterfront property with beaches and swim areas, playground and covered picnic shelter was our first official Regional Park.  In the years since, we’ve grown and protected over 13 hundred hectares of significant lands, encompassing 29 Regional Parks.   Last year alone, we acquired four additional properties, including the 700 plus hectare donation and creation of the Johns Family Nature Conservancy Regional Park.”

Hobson adds, “Our Regional Board had the foresight to create our Parks Legacy and Acquisition funds several years ago.  As a result, we’ve been able to proactively save significant tracts of land as Regional Parks for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future residents.   These more natural, protected environments are significant features in providing a good quality of life right across the Central Okanagan.   With the ongoing support of the Board, we hope to continue the growth of our regional parks system in the years ahead.” 

2014 also marks the 20th anniversary of the EECO or Environmental Education Centre for the Okanagan, a log building located at the entrance to Mission Creek Regional Park, just off Springfield and Durnin Roads.  The facility has hosted dozens of exhibits designed to raise awareness of and appreciation for our Regional Parks and natural environment.  It remains an extremely popular destination.   Last year more than 25,000 people passed through the EECO, taking in its exhibits and participating in numerous parks programs.

Throughout 2014, special anniversary programs and activities will be held to celebrate our Regional Parks and the EECO.   Information will be available by visiting regionaldistrict.com/parks or in the 2014 Summer-Fall edition of ‘Your Guide to Regional Parks’. 

For more information visit the Regional District Parks Services webpage regionaldistrict.com/parks, email parks@cord.bc.ca or call 250-469-6232. 

 

 

























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